For a woman approaching 60 one might believe it would be a difficult task to go into manufacturing for the first time. Nevertheless I have taken that step. After having run a small IT-company from 1994 till 2007, I was ready to explore other avenues and landed in the field of manufacturing and industrial development.
The Flexiramp is my entrepreneur product. As the name indicates, it’s a flexible and very versatile lightweight ramp that can be rolled up when not in use. It is made of aluminum and glasfibre reinforced polyester (GRP). It has been tested by the Norwegian Technological Institute and approved for loads up to 400 kilograms. It comes in various widths and since it consists of 2.5 inch joints that are linked together, its length can also be adjusted according to the users’ requirements. Originally meant for wheelchair users, the ramp is equally useful for anyone who need to move, load or unload e.g. motor bikes, lawn mowers, trolleys, rotary snowploughs, trailers for small boats etc. Its field of use is almost without limit.
My company FlexiRampe AS (Ltd) has applied for and been granted patent for this ramp and I therefore have a unique product for some further development before it will be ready for the marketplace.
I have chosen to develop my ramp in Norway which means a need for, but also good possibilities for partial public funding as well as skilled co-operation partners within the business community. It has in fact not been very difficult to find good helpers as long as one is open to advice and ideas from people with skills and knowledge that one does not possess oneself; provided of course that one has a good and viable project in the first place.
Innovasjon Norge (Innovation Norway) has been a major contributor with regards to funds as well as competence. SINTEF Technology and Society, Global Praxis has also rendered valuable assistance.
There are other sources for funding and technical/financial expertise too. And to my surprise I have found that it is certainly not an disadvantage to be a (rather mature) female entrepreneur in Norway; - again provided that you have a promising product and a sound business idea.