October 6, 2022

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Fotograf Damir Grskovic

28 entrepreneurs forced to leave offices due to high electricity prices – NRK Rogaland – Local News, TV and Radio

The large white building in the eastern district of Stavanger has been a thriving environment for small start-ups and entrepreneurs in recent years.

For NOK 3,000 per month including electricity, they are given their own space and access to common areas. But this won’t work at today’s electricity prices.

Nils Henrik Stokke, the founder and owner of Innovation Dock, had to fire all the tenants in the building. Electricity cost is very high.

Photo: Ole Andreas Bø / NRK

– We lose several thousand kroner every day. If the building starts operating in November, we’re talking several hundred thousand in the red in that month alone, says Nils Henrik Stokke, owner of Innovation Talk.

They have created an environment in Stavanger that offers, among other things, cheap rent to help start-ups get started. 28 small businesses now have space there.

– The building has created hundreds of jobs in recent years. A business that starts with one or two employees grows to ten. Then they leave and become 20 to 30 employees. We have many examples of that.

Looking for a new campus

Photographer Damir Kraskovic is one of those entrepreneurs who don’t know what to do now. He, like the other tenants in the building, must leave by the end of November.

Photographer Damir Graskovic

Photographer Damir Krskovic hopes to find new premises similar to the one he currently has.

Photo: Åse Karin Hansen / NRK

– Hard to find a good place at a good price. If you want a place like this, you have to pay a lot more. It’s not that simple, says Graskovich.

– Can’t afford to pay high rent to cover electricity costs?

– We have been told that the rent will be NOK 20,000 instead of NOK 3,000. We cannot afford it.

On the first floor, the organic bakery Jakobs Brød has established itself. They pay for the electricity for the baking oven and the rest of the electricity consumption is included in the rent.

– I’ve been through many crises, but this one is the hardest, says owner and baker Jacob Philipsen.

Need help paying electricity bills

He already pays 30,000 NOK per month for electricity. Last year he had a turnover of NOK 4 million. Profit is NOK 12,000.

– The bank smiled at me.

Philipsen has already raised prices by 10 percent. He envisions having to raise prices once again and fears that his products will be too expensive for customers.

– I’m trying to find another place. If the electricity bill is 60,000 rupees per month, it is difficult. Then the bread costs NOK 150-200. The question is whether it can be done.

Sissel Knutsen Hechtal

Sissel Hechtal Knudsen is the Conservative Party’s mayoral candidate in Stavanger.

Photo: Stavanger Municipality

Sissel Hegdal Knudsen, opposition politician and Conservative Party mayoral candidate in Stavanger, believes the municipality should intervene and help the entrepreneurial community. He will raise the matter under the Chairmanship.

– We need to look at targeted local measures that target those at the vulnerable initiation stage. We can’t wait for the government to permanently explore solutions and come up with an electricity package for businesses.

She fears that the environment for starting new businesses will disappear from Stavanger.

– We have worked for a long time to create an entrepreneurial environment that Innovation Doc stands for and it has yielded great results. It is serious to get the idea that they have to leave and that the environment is deteriorating. This shows the dramatic nature of the situation in electricity prices.

Students at Jobloop in Stavanger

Jobloop is located in the Innovation Dock building. They provide training in programming along with Nav. First at home, then in a company for six months in practice. Many get jobs later.

Photo: Åse Karin Hansen / NRK

According to Stoke, the company is now moving to Trondheim and investing there, where electricity prices are much lower. Stavanger is in one of the most expensive areas of Norway for electricity.

– During the pandemic, we took action on a conveyor belt. And it worked. Actions don’t affect everyone, but something needs to be done.

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