Jiju Poulose, founder of Poul Consult AS and Green Plants Technologies AS, shares his SWS experience and what he is up to now

I am Jiju Poulose, Founder of Poul Consult AS and Green Plants Technologies AS.  Both are technology based startups located in the beautiful oil capital of Norway, Stavanger. We work with Innovative digital solutions in Aquaculture, Product development and Engineering Services.

It was great to meet energetic and talented people during the Startup Weekend in Stavanger; ranging from youngsters to veterans enriched with innovative ideas, diverse professional and business skill sets. Most of them are motivated with an ambition to become a successful entrepreneur. The Startup Weekend helps people scrutinize their ideas with a business perspective. Most entrepreneurs love their own ideas, but many of them face challenges to review the business viability of the idea. The three day session encourages to carry out the development of the idea in a team. You are forced to develop a clear business case within three days and prepare a market survey within a day. You will also need to evaluate the economic side of the business and develop an overall business strategy. Startup Weekend is a great opportunity to enhance networking and boost your entrepreneurial skills. I have been an active participant in the Startup Weekend. I attended three times and presented three diverse ideas for the competition and secured the winner position for two of my ideas. But winning is not the only key objective or reason for participating in Startup Weekend program.

Currently I am focusing on an innovative digitalization project called ‘Plantdesk’, which is primarily connected with the Oil & Gas industry. I am presenting the solution to the industry and my out of the box solution is getting attention and a positive response from the industry. The innovative solution is a web based application and 3D digital twin stored on a cloud architecture integrated with asset integrity management work flows and processes.

Photo courtesy Mr.Raghu Pillai


The experience from Startup Weekend has definitely helped me in building a clear business case and good strategies to reach out to the customer. Another idea that I presented 2 years ago called “Milkit” was about a decentralized milk processing plant which had won the first place in the Startup Weekend competition conducted at Stavanger. There were ongoing discussions with Randaberg Kommune for implementing a pilot plant, but it didn’t take-off. The Norwegian Milk processing industry has reached a high level of saturation and the profitability is very low. Finally we concluded that it was quite difficult to create a good market to implement such a plant in Norway. We foresee many opportunities for similar projects in Asia, Africa, Far East and Latin American regions. Due to the difficulties in co-ordination, lack of resources and financial constraints, we have kept this project on hold. We will be start working on this project again in the near future.

It is important that a good market survey should be made and also a clear plan for developing minimum viable product (MVP) before making your real product. The team’s collaboration and capabilities plays an important role in the success of a startup. We need to keep up endurance and focus on the plans and implementation. Currently I am busy with activities related to executing a pilot project. Once the pilot project is successful we will then focus on the commercialization of the product and during that phase we will make plans for attracting investors to help in detailed development. I wish all Startup Weekend participants a very good luck to bring their best on those three days and hope they will make a successful business from their idea.

Building a strong community for entrepreneurship in Stavanger

This year again, Startup Weekend Stavanger was one of the melting points in the Stavanger Region to reunite all the actors of the entrepreneurship community and to continue growing this community and developing it.

Our regions faces several challenges, however, it hold amazing talents and competencies with an incredible pool of ideas and opportunities.

We are really excited to help the community transform some of those awesome ideas into startups and to empower everyone to become entrepreneur providing tools and techniques to help them throughout their path. Either experienced entrepreneurs, students, curious and many others, SWS has an impact on the community and we work hard to make this impact as positive to everyone as possible.

Believing is in its realisations, Greater Stavanger is a long time sponsor of Startup Weekend Stavanger. This year, Greater Stavanger is organizing the Impact Week, an innovation festival from 10th to 15th of June 2017, to promote further innovation and entrepreneurship by sharing knowledge and linking disciplines to create new ideas.

SWS May 2017 – And the winners are …

52 hours have passed. A lot of energy, no doubt we are powered by LYSE, and a lot of excitement here at Innovation Dock.

Our amazing Jury, Simen, Jonas, Brage and Sashko have selected the 3 winners after a lot of debating, even if all teams are winners in Startup Weekend.

All teams were excellent and competition was hard. And without further ado, the winners of Startup Weekend Stavanger May 2017 are:

  • First place goes to : Senso Kids
    • Winning 10 hours of counselling with Validé
    • Winning 1 free Month at Innovation Dock
    • Also selected as Crowds favourite: winning 10 Cinema tickets
  • Second place goes to : AI Maths
    • Winning 1 free Month at Creator MakerSpace
    • Also selected as Crowds favourite: winning a lot of cups
  • Third place goes to : Russerådet
    • Winning 1 free Month at Biz&Buzz
    • Winning Half-Day Workshop with Halogen

All our teams are winners.

Teams at Work – SWS May 2017

For our amazing Startup Weekend Stavanger May 2017, Powered by Validé, the teams at work are :

– Farms of Norway

– True Review

– Team Six

– Senso Kids

– Extended Family

– Veggitable

– Hope Social Entreprise

– Claims Hub

– RusseRadet

– Baby & Toddler Indoor Play Center

– AI Math

They are all super excited to work on their idea, clear them out and of course validate them with their customer to apply “Build Measure Learn” loop.

Five Elements of a Perfect Pitch


At our Pre Event Party that we had on September 30th,    2015, Karen Elisabeth Ohm Heskja from DNB, our platinum sponsor, talked about the 5 elements of delivering a perfect 1 minute pitch.

1. Introduction – 10 seconds

Who are you? What is your credibility?

2. The problem – 20 seconds

What is the problem that you want to solve? Is it relevant? Can people relate to it? Is it big problem that is known?

3. The solution – 20 seconds

What are you trying to get across? What are you trying to solve. No need to get technical, just say what the solution is.  Be straight forward and to the point.

4. Who and what do you need? 8 seconds

Who do you need and want on your team.  Be very clear.  Keep in mind the mindset, ambition and most importantly the skill set you are looking for.  Think of the most critical competencies for this.  Think of what you will be building over the weekend and who you think you will work best with.

5. Name of your solution – 2 seconds

It’s important to already have thought of a name. That way your team is able to start working on the other parts of the solution, rather than spend unnecessary time on a name. This can always be changed at a later stage in the development.

There you go! 5 easy, yet critical elements, in delivering a perfect 1 minute pitch.  Remember though, the first one or two seconds on stage will decide whether or not people will listen tIMG_0606-1o you for the rest of the pitch.  Be strong.  Be authentic.  People want to work with people who are passionate and authentic.  Be yourself.

After hearing Karen Elisabeth’s advice, we put it in to practice.  Those who attended the event were handed an item that they then had to pitch, following the 5 elements.  Attendees were given a few minutes to plan out their pitch, and then got up in front of everyone and pitched their ideas.  We had some great ideas of how a teddy bear can make you feel closer to loved ones living far away, or how to use energy from charging a cell phone, and so many other very creative and fun ideas.  We can’t wait to hear even more amazing pitches at our nIMG_0605-1ext Startup Weekend event, October 16th-18th, 2015 at Innovation Dock in Stavanger!


How Startup Weekend Changed One Participant

Sean Paul didn’t even know what a pitch was before he joined his first Startup Weekend event. That day he had no idea of what to expect and never thought before of the concept of creating a business plan in 54 hours.


When asked about the impact Startup weekend had on his life, his reply was;

“It’s much different now that I’ve done it, I think in order to get here, in order to even think about becoming an entrepreneur, I had to go and try something. I had no idea what to expect because I had always worked in the corporate world, but because I met a couple of key people during that weekend to whom I ended up working with, my life has made a complete 180. From there I started to embed myself in the entrepreneur culture in London and Stavanger, and embrace the pay-it-forward attitude that is so prevalent amongst gründers.”

Today Sean Paul is co-founding his own project, Kids United, and he met his partner in this venture at that Startup Weekend event.

By joining Startup Weekend, Sean Paul did something that was completely new for him and from there he ended up getting a job in the innovation arena and finding his passion for entrepreneurship.

Sean Paul was recently at Nutek, listening to a presentation from the founder of smarthotel.no. Nobody was asking any questions in the forum, but Sean raised his hand and said “ Hi I’m Sean, cofounder of Kids United, I know you’re a very busy guy so what’s the best way for us to get 30 minutes?“

Everyone laughed, but by being up front and blunt, he now has a meeting with him. That’s the kind of attitude encouraged by Startup Weekend.

Startup events should make you open up your mind and see we are all humans to whom you can reach out to ask help from and give help to. That is the sort of attitude that creates a startup community – willingness to exchange knowledge and tools to get everyone evolving without asking anything in return. To pay it forward.

As Sean Paul remarks, “we end up seeing the people we connect with at these events all the time and that gives us this sense of community in the Entrepreneur scenario.”

One of the biggest legacies of events like Startup Weekend is empowering us to connect, to leave embarrassment behind and feel that we belong to one open network of people who allows you to feel confortable while being innovative.

If you want to know more about Sean Paul’s project go to http://kidsunited.no where you can confirm your support.

“Using sport with ball play, and a playful state of mind, Kids United fuses physical movement with logical learning to support the growth of our future’s youth.”

Entrepreneurs, Janteloven, foreigners and other tales…

”General surveillance of the population, ‘silent, mysterious, unperceived vigilance… it is the eye of the government ceaselessly open and watching without distinction over all citizens, yet without subjecting them to any measure of coercion whatever… It does not need to be written into the law” (Bonneville, 1847, 397-9)

Panopticon Janteloven (credit. orwells panopticon)
Panopticon Janteloven (credit. orwells panopticon)

If you live in Norway, you have most likely heard about the Janteloven. Many think that Janteloven refers to one unwritten rule that preaches equality. By doing so they minimize the explanation of what Janteloven is to a simple “one should not be a show off” answer, yet there seems to be more complexity underlying that concept. In this brief text we’ll dive a little to try and reflect upon the hidden meanings of this famous and controversial unwritten rule.

Well, almost nobody likes an arrogant show off and most of us would agree that fairness, impartial judgment and equal rights sounds like a pretty good combo – But does Janteloven really means equality and justice? Let ́s think.

If you are Scandinavian and have never read the romance by Aksel Sandemose, En flyktning krysser sitt spor, 1933, you might be surprised to find out that the Janteloven expression refers to a law that contains not one rule, but ten of them, all carrying pretty much the same spirit, as following:

  • You’re not to think you are anything special.
  • You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  • You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  • You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  • You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  • You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  • You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  • You’re not to laugh at us.
  • You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  • You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

In this novel, those who transgress the unwritten Jante ‘law’ are regarded with hostility, as enemies of the town’s communal desire to preserve social stability and uniformity.

After reading these 10 rules do you feel that they carry a spirit of fairness and justice? If so, it seems like an extremely distorted version of it. In that sense, Janteloven more willingly unveils a certain resistance to change and love for homogeneity rather than a flag pro equality. Janteloven is profoundly connected to a sense of uniformity.

And what is uniformity? It is the opposite of diversity. Uniformity is looking alike, thinking alike and acting alike.

If in this Jante world every citizen should ideally look similar, act similar and think similar, if you are not to learn anything from anyone, not to think that anybody has something special to add to the world and that nothing can be as good as life as we know it now. How can there be any progress?

Here lies the complexity. If you think your team is the best you most likely don’t want things to change. You think – how can it get any better than this, right? Ok, this is understandable, but here are 3 things you should consider:

  • As we mentioned in the beginning, no one likes a show off.
  • Even though we all seek complete stability, life is constantly flowing towards change and there is nothing we can do about it. We either accept the ephemerality of things and become active actors of transformation or we resist the inevitable and become trite critics of the unfolding life.
  • Diversity and change can be extremely enriching and positive when one is truly open to it. Every evolution humankind has ever experienced has came through change.

Once you think no one can possibly add anything to your team, people will not want to invite you to their parties – you will be the boring guy in the corner talking about yourself and not listening to anyone else.

If you are a leader that never listens to the voice of difference, you are teaching your team to contain their individualities, their best assets and potential because you are afraid of change.

We are all afraid of something even Amundsen, Heyerdahl, Knut Haukelid and Sverdrup were afraid of something. But these men were not Jante soldiers; they were real actors of change – entrepreneurs.

They were different, they were special. These transgressors of the Janteloven defied what others feared and thought was impossible. They faced death bravely, not because they had no fears, but because they had a purpose bigger than their fears. They would rather face death than a life of settled truths and mediocrity.

That is what entrepreneurs have in common we have a purpose that is bigger than our fears and we embrace change. We won’t let fears limit our vision of the world or ourselves. We think we have something special to share with the world, something different, and something that will change people’s life for the better.

We must face the facts as they are, not as we wish them to be and learn how to deal with them with maturity. We must be bold enough to take decisions and humble enough to take others opinion and well being into consideration.

The entrepreneur who makes his decisions based on fear will not own a successful company for long; neither will a society who evolves based on fear last in freedom, prosperity and peace for long.

Every act inspired by fear is a step towards slavery.



Starting Your Business in Norway? KPMG Advises on Responsible Accounting

In support of the startup community in Norway, Startup Weekend Stavanger (SWS) were invited to do an exclusive interview with KPMG’s legal accounting team. Read on to find out what they advise from the most common accounting mistakes that startups make in year one to the key tax issues to consider when starting a new business.

KPMG offers advice on accounting and tax for startups. [Photo credit: Natalie Hilton]
KPMG offers advice on accounting and tax for startups. [Photo credit: Natalie Hilton]
SWS: What is the most common accounting mistakes that new businesses make in year one of their startup business?

KPMG: The most common mistake is that new businesses underestimate the value of good routines for bookkeeping. If you do not establish routines, and get behind with this, you will have big challenges even though you have the greatest business idea. We often see lack of knowledge and competence connected to accounting and to the legal framework, especially for small enterprises with few employees and lack of people with economic background. However, good order and systems will sometimes even be more important than knowledge and competence. New businesses must also be aware of the liquidity. When expanding, it might take some time until you see the income, however, salary costs and other costs will apply continuously.

SWS: What are the key tax issues to consider when starting a business in Norway?

KPMG: The overall main issue is to act in accordance with reporting requirements and tax reporting deadlines from the first day. If you start failing on this, it might be time consuming and expensive to align afterwards. Of course, it is of importance to investigate which tax rules that will apply for you, based on how your business is organized. For example, there is a beneficial rule named “SkatteFUNN” that might lead to reduced taxes for businesses conducting research and development.

If you sell goods and/or services to other countries, please note that such business activity might lead to tax- and reporting obligation in the other country.

If you hire employees, it is important, among others, to make the required registrations, establish a separate bank account for withholding tax, and establish the required pension scheme (OTP) Incidentally, we recommend that you hire an accountant to handle the above, potentially with assistance from a tax adviser.

SWS: For simplicity and cost savings, many startups begin their business as a sole proprietorship. What advice would you give from an accounting and tax perspective when starting a business under this company form?

KPMG: The advantage of establishing a Sole Proprietorship is that it is easy to establish. However, please note that you are personal responsible. A Private Limited company will in principle limit your risk to the share capital. A private Limited company will also often be perceived as more professional in the market.

SWS: Many startups get confused about VAT, such as knowing when to charge VAT and knowing when to register themselves as a VAT registered business. What is your advice to startups to avoid any tax and accounting issues with VAT?

KPMG: From the time you exceed a turnover of NOK 50 000, you are obliged to register for VAT. However, some business are exempt, for example financial services, health and education. Some advice that could imply a significant benefit is to apply for an advance registration in the VAT register. This is possible if you have had investments exceeding NOK 250 000 including VAT, and it means that you are permitted to deduct VAT even if you have no turnover. It is also important to be aware of the possibility of exception within some industries, for example the petroleum industry.

SWS: In the first year of a business, startups often don’t have the funds to employ a professional accountant or lawyer to assist them with their business activities. What is your advice to startups in this situation?

KPMG: We fully understand that the main focus is to build up the business, and that you do not want to spend much money on compliance. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, it is very important to handle at least the minimum requirements for tax and reporting. There is no doubt that it will save you from concerns and costs if you handle this correctly from the start. We also recommend to contact some advisers that you can contact when you need it.

SWS: Are there specific accounting practices in Norway that differ from other markets that startups need to be aware of? Where can startups learn more about these accounting laws?

KPMG: The rules will in general be the same. However, within some industries there might be separate rules and principles, for example within oil and gas and within some manufacturing enterprises.

If you need more information, please read about KPMG Accounting’s services on the following link here. [In Norwegian].

SWS: With thanks to the following KPMG representatives for their time and advice for this article:

  • Marius Basteviken, Partner, Attorney at law and Business Economist at KPMG Law. Specialist in corporate tax and Transfer Pricing
  • Anne Tengs-Pedersen, Attorney-at-Law at KPMG Law, and specialised in individual taxes and employment law for Norwegian employees as well as for cross border workers.
  • Marit Opstad, Associate Attorney-at-law at KPMG law, specialised in VAT

kpmg_logoSee KPMG‘s website for more information on their services.

Why doesn’t everyone want to start their own business?

Startup Weekend Stavanger’s 2015 event is sponsored by DNB, which is Norway’s largest financial services group. Kristine Moe Sirnes, Marketing Manager DNB corporate, Rogaland and Agder, gives her perspective on partnering with Startup Weekend Stavanger as a Platinum Sponsor.

Kristine Moe Sirnes, Marketing Manager DNB corporate, Rogaland and Agder
Kristine Moe Sirnes, DNB

After having worked hard (and a lot) with getting to know what Startup is all about, I can’t understand why everyone who is still trying to figure out what to do with their life, won’t consider starting their own business!

Okay, so you need a good idea, I get that 😉

All jokes aside, here’s some of what I’ve learned this past year or so.

Working with corporate marketing in DNB is fun, I enjoy almost every single day! We want to engage and encourage more people to start their own businesses. We are cheering for the entrepreneurs, the people who are willing to create not only their own, but new jobs for others as well! We want to share our knowledge and help people build healthy companies by cheering, coaching and giving them economical advice and counselling. No matter the circumstances, we aim at being there for all businesses. Every day. And when it matters the most.

I have learned a lot about entrepreneurship this past year. It’s a never ending learning process, and it thrills me every time I’m in touch with the startup-environment.

Throughout 2014 I was out and about a lot – participating, joining, meeting, presenting, communicating, listening and asking a lot of questions! What gives me a kick is that this is such an incredibly exciting business! We have met all sorts of people and entrepreneurs. So many interesting businesses – and it’s very rewarding when we get to work together with companies like Innovasjon Norge, Skape, Ipark and many more.I love what we have accomplished by working together and towards the same goal – helping and being the best for each other.

If you haven’t yet visited Open Coffee or any of the various co-working spaces in Stavanger east – Mess & Order, Absinthen, Erfjordgt. 8 or Tinnfabrikken yet, be sure to do so! And I am sure you’ll be as amazed as I am when you get to spend time in the exciting facilities hosting Startup Weekend right now – Innovation Dock. I love spending time in Stavanger East!

Anyway – one of the most fun, engaging and amazingly inspiring events we participated at last year when we were out and about, was Startup Weekend Stavanger in October. The concept is great! This is so edutainment! Loads of fun and extremely educational. All kinds of inspiring people, (most of them a lot younger than me though 😉 If I were to contemplate on starting my own business this would so be the event to attend! But, I sincerely think that the Startup Weekend event is a great place for anyone to join, as you get to embrace the positive energy that evolves when people eager to create and innovate get together.

Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
Startup Weekend Stavanger [Photo: Andrea Rocha]
I am very glad we are engaged as a Startup Weekend Stavanger Platinum Sponsor again this year.

I have personally been impatiently waiting for a very interesting report that is soon to be released and published (20th of April). Menon Business Economics has studied a variety of successful Startups from 2003 and up until last year. Menon Business Economics has been digging for information on what successful entrepreneurs have in common. Do they have certain similarities? What do they have in common? What is it about these specific cases that made them successful? I don’t know of any similar study, which makes me very happy that it was DNB who decided to have this type of research done. I’m hoping this is a kind of recipe on how you might succeed as an entrepreneur.

DNB cropped

And I can’t wait for us to be able to share this information with you and with everyone. You are hereby specially invited to spend half an hour with us on Saturday 25th of April, when we are ready to share the headlines with you. We will be celebrating the official opening of our flagship store in Stavanger city center by giving you a little festival with OnklP, Highasakite and Leo Ajkic, among others. Around noon we’ll present the report and show you some cool stuff 😉 (That said, I think you should join us for the entire day of course, check out details about the full program here. It’s free and there will be some great live music, an outdoor scene, entertainment and hopefully some great edutainment as well!

Lots of luck at the Startup Weekend event! I hope to see you all at our event by our Stavanger-flagshipstore on the 25th this month!

Best regards – Kristine

DNB is Norway’s largest financial services group and one of the largest in the Nordic region in terms of market capitalisation. The Group offers a full range of financial services, including loans, savings, advisory services, insurance and pension products for retail and corporate customers. For more information see here.

It all Started with Pitching on Green Grass!

Day One – Friday: The doors opened for Startup Weekend Stavanger at 6:00pm with eager participants waiting to get inside and explore the event space at Innovation Dock. dnb image

Gift bags lined the registration desk waiting to be explored and this year, the participant gift bags were filled with even more cool things thanks to the generosity of the 2015 local sponsors, DNB, KPMG and Innovation Norway! The quirky participant weekend passes were also back with the option to draw yourself as well as write your name on the badge!

With bags and badges distributed, the participants headed straight to the dinner tables to enjoy a range of amazing burgers and spiced potato wedges from the local catering business, House of Fingerfood.

Dinner was followed by a brief welcome from this year’s event Lead Organsers, Natalie Hilton and Nina Meldahl, before passing over the microphone to event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning, to lead the way and get the participants on track for Stavanger’s 2015 Startup Weekend event.

First Guest Speaker Takes the Stage…

The first guest speaker of the night got participants in the right mind set for the weekend by challenging them to think differently about their startup business ideas with a thought provoking presentation. Alain Fassotte, Partner at the Stavanger based change management company, Tribe, inspired participants to move away from habit and automatic thinking and get used to the way that change feels, and just maybe, find a better way to do things. Who would have thought that a simple thumb experiment would make everyone sit up and listen and realise that that when we sometimes do something, we do it out of habit. This showed us all that a little bit of focus and thought is all that is needed to make a small change that could actually make you experience something familiar in a different way. It might feel “weird” but it might also be the solution you were looking for. Thumbs up to our first speaker for presenting a talk that challenged the same old thinking in business and encouraged the entrepreneur mind-set in all of us!

Time to Pitch!

With around 60 guests and participants filling up the venue space with standing room only just before the pitches, it looked set to be a great evening for everyone and the Stavanger event team were there in full force to make sure all participants and guests have a great Startup Weekend experience.

Following the guest speaker presentation, event facilitator Dwight, wasted no time to get the participants ready for the next stage of the evening – the eagerly anticipated pitches!! The audience included some sponsors and all of this year’s event mentors who came along to the pitches to get a glimpse of the ideas and show their enthusiasm for the event concept.

Of the 45 participants that registered to take part in this evening’s pitches, nearly half of them decided to pitch. There were 23 pitches that took place on the rather unusual green grass stage at Innovation Dock tonight, with ideas including a rival concept to Facebook, an online art buying business and an entertainment concept requiring it’s guests to complete challenges to escape specially designed rooms.

With pitches completed, participants and guests excitedly buzzing around the room, casting their votes. After a lively voting session, the votes were counted and 10 teams formed to go forward to the next phase. Groups quickly set up camp around the tables and started to explore the available business tools to structure their ideas, which included printed sheets of the Business Model Canvas.

With the most popular business ideas selected, the newly formed teams used their final hour to get started with exploring the potential of their freshly pitched concepts and test their team dynamics. Before closing the event venue at 11pm, the event team used the bribe of a great breakfast tomorrow sponsored by the new startup business caterer, Food for Thought, in association with Helgø Meny and Alpro, to inspire participants to get up and get started early for their day!

With a good breakfast and two amazing guest speakers to kick of the event tomorrow morning, the participants are in for another exciting day at Startup Weekend Stavanger’s 2015 event. The event team and mentors are also looking forward to seeing where tomorrow leads and what the teams do with their ideas on their startup journey that all started with a green grass stage, some courage and some interesting ideas that may have the potential to win over the judges this Sunday!

Good luck to the newly formed teams for this year’s event. See you tomorrow for breakfast, two great speakers from DNB and Future Home, and another exciting day bursting with your great startup energy and enthusiasm!

AND – If you want to connect with other participants from the Friday pitches and you forgot to exchange details, email stavanger@startupweekend.org and we can try to connect you!