High North Young Entrepreneur Wai Genetics Won Entrepreneurial Award

Kåre Johan Teigen, High North Young Entrepreneur 2022, Wai Genetics
Head of Communications Kåre Johan Teigen received the award on behalf of Wai Genetics, which won the High North Young Entrepreneur Award 2022 and received NOK 50,000. (Photo: Trine Jonassen)

Three widely different projects competed in the final heat for the award. In the end, the Tromsø-based company Wai Genetics could bring home the High North Young Entrepreneur Award 2022 and with that, NOK 50,000 in prize money.

The High North Young Entrepreneur Award 2022 was presented during the High North Dialogue conference in Bodø, Norway on Wednesday night. A digital as well as physical audience had voted for one out of the three shortlisted finalist projects.

And the verdict was clear; Tromsø-based Wai Genetics got to receive a diploma along with NOK 50,000 as winner of the High North Young Entrepreneur Award 2022.

Wai Genetics was established in 2020 and is still in the early stages. The award money are thus most welcome.

“The award money will go towards research into quality assurance of the service”, says the company’s Head of Communications Kåre Johan Teigen.

Wai Genetics currently has a staff of four; a computer scientist, a production bioengineer, an inventor and researcher, and an aqua-technician and marketer.

The committee handing out the award received a series of applications and eventually narrowed it down to three shortlisted candidates from Norway, Alaska and Shanghai, respectively, in as different industries as recycling ocean plastic, technology, and biotechnology.

“Wai Genetics works to develop knowledge that allows the fish farming industry to produce healthier fish. Our technology monitors the bacteria balance in the water and marks out when we see optimal conditions for the fish. Even though fish that is farmed may receive the right kind of feed, that can nevertheless give the wrong bacteria balance”, Teigen explains.

The three shortlisted finalists had presented themselves and their business idea on YouTube beforehand, to a digital as well as the physical audience at the conference.

The award money will go towards research into quality assurance of the service  
Head of Communications Kåre Johan Teigen, Wai Genetics

The shortlisted candidates were:

  • Kartorium: Offers digital twins with relevant information, such as videos, images, documents, and integrated data sources allowing training, troubleshooting, and work planning without visiting the company.
  • Free Arctic Ocean: Aims to protect the Arctic through encouraging people to collecting plastic and metal waste from the Polar Ocean and generate income through the process
  • Wai Genetics: A marine biotechnology service offering high-quality, high-speed bacterial reading of water samples to improve fish health and production capacity.

The award consists of NOK 50,000.

The jury evaluated the projects according to three criteria; relation to the High North, quality of the project application and the business plan presented, as well as the originality and uniqueness of the project idea.

Last year, the award was won by the Alaska-based company Arctic Biotech Oath, which operates in green bio-mining and recycling of rare minerals in the Arctic states.

The award was established in the wake of the High North Dialogue conference in 2017. At that conference, American investor Scott Minerd from Guggenheim Partners won the High North Hero award for his efforts to promote the economic potential of the Arctic through long-term investments in the region.

Minerd placed his award money in a fund to support young entrepreneurs in the Arctic and their business ideas.

The High North Young Entrepreneur Award is handed out by the High North Center for Business and Governance at Nord University, along with Innovation Norway Nordland.

Also read

This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.