Creating Barents IT cluster

Yngve Bergheim from Ramsalt Lab and Morten Brugård with the Norwegian Barents Secretariat want to establish IT-clusters across the borders in the Barents Region.

Tromsø-based IT-entrepreneur Yngve Bergheim says the Barents Region has great network potential for developing east-west businesses. Teaming up with Morten Brugård, the goal is to create a cluster of “silicon valleys” in the region.


Yngve Bergheim was earlier this year awarded as the Barents Entrepreneur of the year, a prize handed over by IKEA-founder Ingvar Kamprad. For the readers of BarentsObserver, Yngve is the man running the company that developed the innovative design of BarentsObserver; Ramsalt Lab.

“”We are planning to connect IT-clusters in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia,” says Yngve Bergheim. He is currently participating at a team-building session in Kirkene together with some 100 other young entrepreneurs from all over the Barents Region. Next week, he travels to Moscow and Arkhangelsk in search for IT-creators. In Murmansk, Yngve already has potential partners. 

“”The IT sector is the business with best presumption for teaming up across the borders here in the high north of Norway and Russia,” says Yngve Bergheim, explaining that most of the work actually can be exchanged and developed via the net. 

“Murmansk is a spring of creative small IT-firms with ideas that are just waiting to be commercialized. We, in Tromsø, can help opening market doors, and they can help us with highly qualified not-to-expensive workforce,” says the Ramsalt Lab entrepreneur. He is convinced that young people would love to travel north to participate in creating a Barents Silicon Valley. “A key to success is to team up with the universities in the region; educating new smart brains for the IT-sector regionally. 

Morten Brugård with the Norwegian Barents Secretariat is heading the project Young Entrepreneurs in the Barents Region. He is now coordinating a start-up project with Yngve Bergheim named “Silicon Island” in cooperation with IT-forum North-Norway. Tromsø is on an island, and could be the new IT-centre in northern Norway.

“By strengthening the IT-sector, other businesses in the north will benefit; it will create more innovation. East-west thinking will replace the traditional north-south way of doing business,” says Morten Brugård.

“We have a two-step strategy; first establishing a network, then attract competent IT-personnel from outside to come to the Barents Region clusters,” says Morten Brugård.