The future of Iceland Eco Business Park
Think Tank Findings Summary
What does the startups world in Iceland need to take the next step in regards to a new eco business park being developed? This was the question being put forth at the brainstorming session on may fourth 2023.
Here are the results
On the 4th May, more than 40 key actors in the Icelandic and international innovation, industry and research sector came together to contribute their expertise, perspective and vision to the first think tank event of the Iceland Eco Business Park.
The Iceland Eco Business Park is the newest venture launched by the Iceland Ocean Cluster and is building on the successful momentum of bringing an innovation community that pioneering the cluster model in Iceland and continues to drive sustainable growth in the blue economy. The Iceland Ocean Cluster is the co-founder of the Eco-Business Park with Mr. Kjartan Eiríksson who has an extensive experience in running large facility and assisting startups.
The Iceland Eco Business Park is located in a facility formerly destined to be a large aluminum smelter that was never completed and for almost a decade was sitting empty. This building has now been given a new lease of life. Iceland Eco-Business Park | We are a hub, located in Iceland for sustainable businesses. (icelandecobusinesspark.is)
The Park is situated in a highly advantageous location. It is just two minutes from Helguvík harbor, ten minutes from the International Airport in Keflavik and forty-five minutes from Reykjavik city center.
The property consists of 280.000 m2 of land and the existing floorplan of 25.000 m2.
There is an option to double the floor space by installing an additional level, creating a new total functional floor space of up to 50.000m2.
This space is positioned in one of the richest natural resource areas in Iceland called Reykjanes, and in a country already known as a global leader in renewable energy where 100% of electricity and heating needs are met with a combination of hydro and geothermal power. The Park will benefit from a close relationship with The Resource Park in the Reykjanes where companies are striving to make full use of the rich local resources: geothermal hot water, cold water, steam, renewable electricity, and carbon dioxide.
The Park will provide a much-needed platform for diverse industry players that have the ambition to move toward circular business models and the largest co-working space in the country.
One of the central components of the circular economy is that waste is designed out of the system. The long-term vision of The Park is to build bridges between the sectors of water, energy and food and create the opportunity for companies inhouse to re-imagine each other´s waste streams, into new value; a truly circular environment to the benefit of all members of the community and the planet.
A think tank event was planned to bring together a group of leaders to brainstorm and to create a melting pot of ideas on how we might build a community of green companies in Iceland.
We wanted to know how the green startups saw the future of their operation and how our Park could play a part in that. Inviting key actors across the green and innovation sectors an opportunity to have a say in how we would develop our Park would be a great way for us to prepare our future strategy. We feel strongly that a large space like ours can open a multitude of doors to do things differently and combine skills and space in a way not done before in Iceland; large manufacturing facilities, startups space, intro room and reception, food hall, 100% fish space, tech hotel etc.
The Think Tank Event
The day started with a visit to the site of the Iceland Eco Business Park where the group walked through the house and the existing vision for the building was presented and the group had the opportunity to connect with the other participants.
We then travelled to the offices of Kadeco in Asbrú with a clear picture of the large-scale space we were working with.
In order to get the creative juices flowing and get everyone in the mindset of thinking big, Tristan, the Founder and CEO of Flow- Meditation for Modern Life Flow | Meditation in Nature for Virtual Reality, Mobile, and Web led a creative meditation. Everyone was then split into break-out groups and invited in turn to consider 3 key questions which the team felt would really help us capture the needs, wants and creative spark to help us develop the Iceland Eco Business Park to best serve and support the community. For each question, there was 20 mins to talk and then write on giant sticky notes to capture the thoughts of these dynamic groups.
he first question we asked was presented in two parts: “What culture should the park foster?” and “What would make this park a community?” The aim of the question was really to explore the wellbeing, social and community aspects we should consider in design- something that has been key to the success of the Iceland Ocean Cluster, and which will be central to the development of the IEBP. The word cloud below summarises the output into key categories – in these visualisations, the bigger and bolder the word the more often it occurred in the responses. At first glance of these results, it shows how important diversity and vibrant energy to the culture we should aim to create.
The second question we asked had a more practice angle and asked: “What facilities and features would you need?” with the aim of considering both physical infrastructure and activities that should be considered in the development of the park. The outcome here was interesting and shows the real mixture of ways in which people imagine interacting with such as space and provide a balanced view of wellbeing and innovation infrastructure. Restaurants, laboratories and wellness facilities were summarised categories that came up often. We know from out experience in the Iceland Ocean Cluster too and from listening to the group discussions that encompassed in all of these too of course – was coffee! The concept of ideas and discussions evolving around the coffee machine or water cooler was widely agreed to bring immeasurable value.
The final question was perhaps the most central to what the IEBP aims to do, which is to bring a sustainable, value creating, international and cross-sectoral community together in the same space successfully. The final question was: “How can we support collaboration between startups, industry and research?” and of course the mixture of participants invited represented these sectors so were well placed to address this discussion.The output to this question raised the huge importance of collaboration to the impact and success of the work that we all do. The biggest responses here revolved around the development of a wide spread and diverse network, events and activities that support communication ,visibility and more network growth (such as expos, ,conferences and standardized systems for involvement) as well as strong support services that can allow everyone to work effectively.
Our sincere thanks to all those that came to this event and shared their creative energy. These discussions and output will be invaluable in this initial develop of the IEBP and we look forward to continuing to incorporate the voices of the community as the space develops.
Should you wish to follow up and learn more or get more involved. Please contact Thor (email@example.com), Kjartan (firstname.lastname@example.org).