Connected with Sóley Heradóttir Hammer, Director of the Hugskõtio Innovation Centre in the University of the Faroe Islands

Since May 2018, Sóley is the new director of the Hugskõtio Innovation Centre in Torshavn and she is full of new ideas about how to encourage and facilitate a greater variety of knowledge and innovation on the islands. The purpose of the Innovation Centre is to support start-ups, to provide affordable co-working space and encourage networking, increase of knowledge and exchange among the companies working from there. The Innovation Centre itself is co-located in the new building of the University at the Torshavn West Port in a former store-house and is financed by the municipality of Torshavn.

(The Tórshavn Havn, the port of Tórshavn, is the largest trading and ferry port of the Faroe Islands. Here, 500,000 tons of goods are handled annually. The Faroe Islands usually call their capital only Havn (“harbor”). So it’s the port of the country. In the building of the University the latest extension has resulted in a fine and contemporary auditorium in a former silo tower, which will be available for meetings. In the ground-floor – below the auditorium, a cafeteria will be opened soon.)

At presence there are 36 entrepreneurs across different industries working in the Hugskõtio Centre. It is important for the University and the municipality of Tórshavn as well as for all the Faroe Islands to expand the variety of knowledge. This will improve opportunities for young people in the islands as well as ensure independency and self-support on the islands.

As the Innovation Centre is still developing and growing, all pitches, opportunities and cases winning competitions are published in Faroese language only, which will change along the way to attract foreign entrepreneurs or investors to the islands.

So, what are the new director’s plans for the near future? Soléy plans a series of “accelerators” – the first one aims at producing ideas for the tourism business. A competition which is open to all new ideas or projects will be the first step in the project, resulting in a selection of the 5-6 most interesting projects and matching them with mentors who can help building and develop the business model. A pitch for local investors will follow.

Another new project will be a “smart-city” event in Torshavn – a “city-hack” as Soléy calls it. What all can be done smarter in the city – in all aspects of public life and its processes. The first event is planned for this September and will include students of both the university as well as from the new Glasir College. It can be a good idea to bring a conference around the topic of “smart-cities” to the islands – a city like Torshavn with only 20.000 inhabitants but with a fully fledged infrastructure can serve as a perfect model for new concepts – application of any new programme can be closely observed and easily amended.

One more concept in Soléy’s strategic plan is to install a new “swop-system” to exchange business entrepreneurs with special knowledge between Iceland and the Faroe Islands (as she is half of both)- to start with. The idea is to then further expand this swop-system and include other countries as well. A key driver for all the planned projects is that “knowledge is more important than money”.

Keeping this “mantra” in mind, another important module will be to organize workshops in the Hugskõtio Innovation Centre in order to inspire the Faroese entrepreneur community and to share knowledge with business leaders. Soléy is presently collecting ideas and examples to find the right approach and to identify best possible options for the transfer of knowledge.

Soléy Seradottir Hammer has a Bachelor of Science (BSc), Political science and government and is presently concluding her master for law.

tmf dialogue marketing – We point out the areas in which the Faroe Islands have excellent business expertise – to connect with similar projects or knowledge clusters around the world. We want the world to come to the Faroe Islands and network on all projects that are introduced here – for more check