Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, has today been announced as the winner of Nor-Shipping’s coveted Young Entrepreneur Award 2017. The 38 year-old Finn was chosen from a final shortlist that included Joel Spark, Co-Founder of Spire, Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund, and Christine Spiten, Co-Founder of Blueye Robotics.
Nor-Shipping’s Young Entrepreneur Award, a joint initiative with YoungShip, focuses on innovators, all of whom must be under 40, working to address critical industry issues. As such, Riski fits the bill perfectly, leading a company that has developed a spinning wind-powered cylinder (a Flettner rotor) to harness wind energy and propel ships. The solution, suitable for both newbuilds and retrofitting, has the potential to deliver fuel and emissions savings of up to 20% in favourable wind conditions.
“Tuomas and Norsepower encapsulate the very essence of this award,” comments Nor-Shipping Director Birgit Liodden.
“Their technology is a potential game-changer for an industry facing increasing cost and environmental constraints. It ranks as the first proven commercially available auxiliary propulsion system that can harness natural wind power in this way. As such it has the potential to not only drive forward single vessels, but also our entire industry’s sustainability credentials.
“Tuomas is, without doubt, a very worthy winner. We expect to hear a lot more about Norsepower in the years to come.”
Alongside Riski, the YoungShip led jury singled out Spiten for special recognition, effectively making her this year’s runner-up. Blueye had, the jury commented, accomplished “amazing achievements” in the field of underwater robotics, democratising the ocean space with drones capable of operation via smart phone and tablet apps.
Speaking of this year’s competing nominees, and the eventual winner, Richard Hayfield, Secretary General of YoungShip, notes: “Picking a winner from so many strong candidates was an arduous task. This year we had some amazing shortlisted contenders, who I am sure will all go on to achieve great things in our industry.
“After much deliberation we chose a winner that showed a true entrepreneurial spirit, inventiveness and drive to succeed. The jury unanimously agreed Tuomas Riski should take this year’s award.
“Tuomas deserves special praise for utilising the Flettner technology concept, which is not new, but its successful commercialisation certainly is. Norsepower has shown both ingenuity and determination to refine the solution, build confidence and understanding of it in the notoriously tough shipping market, and finally combine both public and private finance to realise its potential.
“We the jury believe Tuomas is a role model for current and future generations within the maritime industry, and a deserving recipient of the Young Entrepreneur Award 2017.”
Hayfield continues: “It was also noted that special recognition should go to Christine Spiten, Co-Founder Blueye Robotics, which has taken underwater drones from prototype to a marketable product with a rapidly growing company behind it. Her work is an inspiration for all young entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries of drone technology within the maritime sector.
“Patrik Berglund, Xeneta and Joel Spark, Spire are also clearly worthy of reaching the final four. These companies have led the way in showing how access to faster information and big data continue to change the maritime industry. They are now established companies with proven success, as well as an inspiration to all young entrepreneurs.”
H.R.H Crown Prince Haakon of the Norwegian Royal Family will present the award in a special presentation at Nor-Shipping’s Opening Conference in Lillestrøm on 30 May. The winners of Nor-Shipping’s Energy Efficiency Award and Next Generation Ship Award will be announced on the same day.
All four of the shortlisted entrepreneurs will be showcasing their innovations in Nor-Shipping’s Disruptive Sustainability hall (Hall A). In a further demonstration of tomorrow’s talent, other young innovators will be competing for a NOK 100,000 first prize in the Problem to Profit initiative. This pits the best young minds against established industry ‘pain points’ in a bid to find exciting new and sustainable maritime solutions.
The leading maritime event week, taking place across a series of venues in Oslo and Lillestrøm from 30 May to 2 June, is expected to attract around 35,000 visitors this year. Alongside its conference and a packed speaker programme, Nor-Shipping will host around 1,000 of the world’s leading maritime companies, showcasing products and services to the industry, future talent and all shipping value chain stakeholders.