In the heart of Norway’s thriving startup scene, a unique collaboration is unfolding. Fifty students from Singapore, including the dynamic Jesslyn Teo, are bringing a fresh wave of talent and diversity to Norwegian startups each year. This cross-cultural exchange not only enriches Norway’s business landscape but also contributes to global efforts in sustainability and technological innovation.
A perfect blend of skills and vision
Jesslyn Teo, a 21-year-old business student from the National University of Singapore (NUS), specializing in marketing, has been a standout figure at Spoor AI, a startup housed within Oslo’s Norselab-collective. With a focus on deploying AI solutions for eco-friendly wind farm projects, Spoor AI exemplifies the innovative spirit that these internships foster.
“I dive into HR functions, enhancing internal and external processes, boosting employer branding, and playing a role in recruitment,” Jesslyn explains. “I help build and nurture company culture, emphasizing diversity, and also lend a hand with content marketing, creating a voice for Spoor on our website and LinkedIn.”
Jesslyn’s multifaceted role at Spoor AI reflects the broader contribution of Singaporean students in Norwegian startups. “We bring diverse skills, a ready-to-contribute mindset, and a knack for fast-paced startup environments,” says Jesslyn.
Nurturing global talents in Norway
Jesslyn’s journey to Norway was facilitated by the National University of Singapore’s global entrepreneurship program, NUS Overseas Colleges Norway (NOC). This initiative places tech talents from various academic backgrounds, including computer science, engineering, business, and social sciences, in high-growth startups for a six-month full-time internship.
“These students come equipped with an internship visa and health insurance, arranged and paid for by the university. Companies pay a monthly internship stipend directly to the intern. ” explains Hilary Pang, the leader of the Norwegian part of the program. “Our goal is to create the next generation of entrepreneurs by immersing them in young, innovative companies at entrepreneurial hubs around the world.”
A win-win for startups and students
Spoor AI’s HR manager, Natalie Kop (pictured with Jesslyn), is enthusiastic about the program’s impact. “Our two interns from Singapore last autumn, Indraneel Paranjape and Jesslyn Teo, have been exemplary contributors,” she says. “Their humility and strong work ethic have enriched our already diverse workplace.”
Companies like Spoor AI gain from this international talent pool, while students like Jesslyn acquire invaluable experience. “Working in a startup in Norway is eye-opening,” Jesslyn shares. “The working culture here, emphasizing direct communication and valuing life outside of work, is quite different.”
Bridging cultures and building futures
Jesslyn, now back in Singapore, looks forward to a future of connecting cultures and ideas on a global scale. Her ambition resonates with many of her peers who have interned in Norway. “The ecosystem in Norway is centered around maritime, biodiversity, and clean energy,” she notes, encouraging young entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in these fields.
A model for global collaboration
Hilary Pang elaborates on the NOC program, which was started in Silicon Valley in 2002 and is now global. “This collaboration between NUS and Norwegian startups is more than an exchange program; it’s a model for building a global talent pipeline. As startups seek competence and students seek experience, the NOC program serves as a crucial bridge, encouraging innovation, cultural exchange, and business growth on a global scale.
These are the Norwegian startups currently hosting Singaporean interns: Aqua Alarm AS, Breyta.io, Celsia, CHOOOSE, DNV, ESG-NRG, Enviro, Evergreen Coliving, Hera Solutions, Infinitwell.ai, Leasi, Mia Health, Mapheim, Novatech AS, Oslo Analytic, Nexro, Ocean Access, ReWind, Soren Hydrogen, Spoor, Conviër, Urban Sharing and Versiro.