On 3 June at the Nor-Shipping Opening Ceremony in Oslo, Agnes Árnadóttir and Espen Larsen-Hakkebo, the CEO and CFO of Brim Explorer, were announced as winners of the 2019 Nor-Shipping Young Entrepreneur Award. Norway’s Minister of Trade, Torbjørn Røed Isaksen, presented the award in front of an audience of industry representatives and invited dignitaries, including King Harald of Norway.
The Young Entrepreneur Award seeks to recognise an individual or a team under the age of 40, who have been involved in bringing to fruition an idea, building a business, strengthening the industry, or in some other way taking a lead role and marking themselves out as the Next Generation of shipping professionals. This year’s winners join Tor Østervold, the founder of ECOsubsea, Boyen Slat, founder of Ocean Cleanup, and Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, as winners of this prestigious award.
Flexible, professional, ambitious
Influencing the jury decision was their admiration for the professional manner by which the two 33-year olds managed to gather investors and clients in order to build two vessels and ready them for operation. The hybrid ship they have helped design is one of the world’s most flexible electric vessels, as it can be charged at any port and operate on batteries for 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots.
Another important factor was that Brim Explorer creates jobs. The firm will employ a crew of 10 persons on board the first vessel and will need the same amount for the second ship. In addition, construction of the ships will provide a significant number of employment possibilities.
Michela Sasdelli, Secretary General of Youngship and Jury Chair for the award, says of the winning team: “Finding the winner of the Young Entrepreneur Award gets harder with every Nor-Shipping. Not just because the number of entrants is increasing year on year, but also because the calibre of the entries is at such a very high level. In addition, there is a great degree of diversity in the projects, organisations, and backgrounds that the entrants are drawn from.
“The decision to give the award to Agnes Árnadóttir and Espen Larsen-Hakkebo followed a long and animated debate by the jury members. Brim represents an opportunity for the maritime industry to take part in sustainable growth in tourism, where pushing the limits of the technology available plays well with the overall aim to create green maritime industries. Operating at the intersection between tourism and the maritime industry puts them in a unique position to reach a global audience and to showcase the innovations of our industry. Sustainable tourism from Brim Explorer will be an inspiration for the tourism industry worldwide.”
Árnadóttir and Larsen-Hakkebo triumphed from a hotly contested shortlist that also included Karoline Sjødal Olsen, CEO, and co-founder of Blue Lice, Inty Grønneberg, CEO and Founder of Ichthion, and Magnus Eikens, Morten A. Christophersen, David M. Knutsen, Miriam E. Wennberg, and Stian T. Magnusson, co-founders of Connect LNG.
Speaking about this year’s award, Nor-Shipping Director Per Martin Tanggaard comments: “It’s been a standout year for young talent and any of the shortlist would have been very worthy winners. They all, in terms of their ambition, innovation and desire to solve industry challenges, embody exactly what maritime is looking for, and what society needs, in the next generation of industry leaders.
“Congratulations to our winners Agnes Árnadóttir and Espen Larsen-Hakkebo. We look forward to seeing what they can achieve going forward with this exciting business concept.”