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Norlys helps Danish startups develop new green and digital solutions

@Redaktionen

Every year, Norlys Vækstpulje awards DKK 50 million to new initiatives that move society in a more sustainable direction. And startups can apply today.

Every year, Norlys Vækstpulje awards DKK 50 million to new initiatives that move society in a more sustainable direction. And startups can apply today.

This post is also available in: Danish

Green innovation. New technology. Digitalization. Research. Community.

These are some of the keywords when Norlys Vækstpulje annually awards around DKK 50 million to innovative startups that contribute to green and digital societal development.

Vækstpuljen is established by Norlys, Denmark’s largest energy and telecommunications group, which with 3,500 employees delivers energy, charging stations, internet and TV to more than 1.7 million households and businesses every day.

The group is owned by 800,000 cooperative members. And it is with this large community in mind that Norlys Vækstpulje three times a year awards new funds for exciting projects.

“Vækstpuljen is a recognition of the challenge we all face in transforming the world we know into a more sustainable one. We ourselves are a big part of that transition when we invest in the electricity grid and deliver green energy every day, but we also want to invest in solutions that can make a difference in the longer term,” says Niels Rousing Vendelboe, responsible for Norlys Vækstpulje.

Although Norlys Vækstpulje is primarily set up to support projects within Norlys’ owner geography, the fund also supports projects outside the owner geography with a special focus on green transition and digitalization. And the people behind the pool would like to see more startups and entrepreneurs bidding in these areas, Niels Rousing Vendelboe explains.

“One of our core values is that we are innovative and curious. Danish startups and entrepreneurs are some of the best in the world when it comes to creating new technology, growth and jobs. That’s why we really want to support those who need help with projects that move society in the right direction.”

Wind Turbines in a Rape Field

Wind turbine blades and artificial intelligence

In 2023, Norlys Vækstpulje supported several startup projects – seven of which were outside the shareholder’s geography.

One of them was Reblade from Djursland, which has developed a drone equipped with repair tools and cameras controlled by artificial intelligence. This allows the drones to land on the wind turbine blades and perform a fully automated repair of the damage.

The repair takes just a few hours instead of days, which means that the time the wind turbines are idle can be significantly reduced and their lifespan increased.

It was a project that Norlys could see their values in. And the funding was a welcome boost to the Danish startup ecosystem.

“It’s a welcome breath of fresh air where you can dream big and where it’s affordable to apply for funding to give sub-projects an important push forward. The public funds can be more of a challenge to dedicate time and resources to apply for. So it makes a big difference that Norlys Vækstpulje steps in with an affordable application procedure,” says Frank Kjerstein, founder and CEO of Reblade, about the support.

Not all soft funding opportunities make sense for small startups, who are often already running fast with the scarce resources at their disposal. That is why Norlys Vækstpulje is an important initiative, according to Frank Kjerstein.

“It supports startups directly and helps them complete important, smaller projects that can otherwise be difficult to find time for because other public funds often don’t fit in with a busy entrepreneurial life.”

Present in all parts of the value chain

Since the Norlys Vækstpulje was established in 2016, the group has distributed a total of DKK 179 million in funding for new, innovative projects.

And although the group already supports the green transition through ownership of approximately 40 percent of the Danish electricity grid, which sends green electricity to Danes every day, the group would like to reach more parts of society with Vækstpuljen, Niels Rousing Vendelboe says.

“As a group, we already invest heavily in the production of green power, solar cell parks and wind farms. But it’s important for us to be present in all parts of this sustainable energy value chain if we are to achieve our goals. And we are determined that we will.”


Norlys Vækstpulje

  • Norlys’ Vækstpulje distributes DKK 50 million each year
  • Applications are open 3 times a year
  • We support innovative projects with a focus on sustainable business development
  • We support innovative projects with a focus on sustainable business development
  • Also projects within electrification, green transition and digitalization – including research and dissemination projects

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