Oslo meets Hackney 2016


Hackney welcomed leaders from the Norwegian capital for the fourth ‘Oslo meets Hackney’ event, celebrating a partnership that supports business and economic growth.

The annual ‘Oslo meets Hackney’ (#OsloxHackney) event, which took place on 2 December, saw a delegation of representatives from the Oslo Business Region attend a working seminar and events alongside their Hackney and London counterparts in Shoreditch, the home of ‘Tech City’.

The London Borough of Hackney and the City of Oslo have been working together on local economic development since signing a Business Friendship Agreement at the Hackney House Austin trade mission to the USA in 2014.

The primary aim of the Agreement is to strengthen the investment and trading links between businesses in the two economies, with a specific focus on the creative tech and creative industries.

Hackney Council collaborated with a range of partners that included local businesses and HM Government departments, to contribute to the panel discussions, presentations and pitches based around two themes. The first, picking up on the latest developments in Smart Cities and civictech and the second, focussed on the future direction of fintech.

The seminar, which took place at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, featured a number of Hackney businesses who presented their ideas alongside business colleagues from Oslo, discussing innovation in the civictech sector looking at: transport, energy and public services, how the use of data can create better lives in our cities, helping to stimulate economic growth and improve services to residents.

The 'Oslo meets Hackney' event followed the unveiling of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, a gift each year from the Norwegian people acknowledging the relationship born out of the Second World War. This year’s tree is the 70th.

The unveiling and the event were led by the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, supported by senior city politicians, civil servants and the Norwegian Ambassador to the UK.

Speaking at the event, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment, Cllr Guy Nicholson, formally welcomed the Mayor of Oslo and commented on the tree now in Trafalgar Square while thanking the people of Norway for this.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment
We all recognise the importance that innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship has in our respective economies and the crucial role they have following the EU referendum and the uncertainty of the UK’s future position in the single market. It was now time to step-up our Hackney Oslo relationship and embrace a wider regional economic geography, redefining the Hackney Oslo Innovation Axis to embrace the London Cambridge corridor.

Our Hackney Oslo relationship must remain intact going forward. It provides our business communities with a sound footing that enables the promotion of trade and supports our entrepreneurs and innovators remain at the heart of a trading network that encompasses our European partners as well as support our collective global trade ambitions.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business and Investment
Fredrik Winther, CEO of Oslo Business Region
This year’s 'Oslo meets Hackney' event investigated the future of fintech and urban innovation. With Oslo gaining position as a financial capital, and with a population of early adapters, we are a lab for startups to test and develop new tech solutions. We look forward to continue working with our experienced partners in Hackney to help the grow and connect the startup communities in Oslo and London. Our two cities are also partners in a creative cities alliance, joined by Austin, Texas.
Fredrik Winther, CEO of Oslo Business Region