Dr. Burton Lee has extensive experience in both Europe and not least in the entrepreneurial community in Silicon Valley in the United States. This week he visited several businesses and government agencies in Rogaland, and on Wednesday it was time for a collection of forces from the region's public, private and academic sectors in the Chamber of Commerce.
Rather culture than technology
− I met Burton Lee the first time when the Lyse board was on a study trip to the United States in April. It was inspiring, and I thought that dr. Lee had come to Stavanger to inspire even more, says CEO of Lyse Eimund Nygaard.
As a professor at the large and reputable university Stanford, Burton Lee is concerned with the role of the academic features in a region.
− If I should mention the most important lesson from Silicon Valley, it must be that the university is the engine and driver of economic growth in a region. Students are entrepreneurs, and the university must cooperate closely with the industry, he notes.
The doctor thinks it is more about culture than technology.
− At Stanford, seven to eight percent of the students are in start up activities and entrepreneurship. In Europe, the average is one per cent. Known companies such as Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Hewlett Packard all come from Stanford, says Lee.
Knowledge is the new oil
Wednesday's seminar focused on how the region can seize new opportunities, and the day was opened by the industry association leader Harald Minge, Lyse CEO Eimund Nygaard, and university principal Marit Boyesen.
Among the speakers, in addition to Burton Lee, was professor at the University of Stavanger, Ragnar Tveterås. He calls for a shared upgrading of both the region and the university.
− The Prime Minister has said that knowledge is the new oil. Then we need a strong university environment, but Stavanger is lagging behind other Norwegian universities in both awarded state support, number of employees and production value per capita, he points out.