UNE NORTH, the Institute for North Atlantic Studies, and Verrill Dana, LLP, recently co-hosted New England’s first Arctic Investment Conference.
The goal of the event was to bring together entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and policy makers to learn from each other and help facilitate the next steps for Maine and New England investment in the region’s emerging economic sectors.
“Given our state’s proximity to that region, we see that developments in the Arctic will play an important role in Maine’s economy, and we want to be on top of it,” said conference co-organizer Benjamin Ford of Verrill Dana.
The daylong session explored how technologies, developed to solve problems and promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in the North Atlantic and Arctic, are creating potential investment opportunities here in New England.
“One of the things that our Nordic friends are really good at is spending a lot of money on research and development, and coming up with really innovative technologies,” Ford explained.
“One of the things that Americans are really good at is bringing technologies and new ideas to market. I want this event to be the spark that connects the two.”
The event featured presentations by five companies working in the North Atlantic and Arctic, three from New England and two from Norway.
Experts provided attendees with an overview of the North Atlantic and Arctic investment landscape and the proper scale on which a local investor can engage with the region. They also explained who the key actors are and how they work across sectors and industries to collaborate and meet challenges.
“Our future in the Nordic region is about embedding ourselves in trusted partnerships throughout the North,” Barry Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., Henry L. & Grace Doherty Professor of Marine Sciences and executive director of UNE NORTH: Institute for North Atlantic Studies, told the gathering.
Holly Parker, Ph.D., UNE assistant provost of strategic initiatives, believes that universities and colleges such as UNE have a key role to play as conveners of just these kinds of conversations. “As Maine establishes and defines its role as the gateway to the region, bringing together cross sector teams to share our knowledge and experience and chart a course forward is a key step and one for which UNE NORTH was designed and established a year ago,” she stated.