The Iceland Ocean Cluster’s mission is to create value and discover new opportunities by connecting entrepreneurs, businesses and knowledge in the marine industries.

Second cluster established in US, now in New Bedford Massachusetts

Mayor Jon Mitchell, Port Director Edward Anthes-Washburn, and ImpactLABS Managing Director Chris Rezendes signed a memorandum of understanding with Thor Sigfusson, Founder and Chairman of the Iceland Ocean Cluster and the Ocean Cluster Network, creating an official partnership with the marine incubator.
This partnership will officially make New Bedford part of a global network of Ocean Clusters, each committed to sharing knowledge and developing business opportunities for their member organizations. The New Bedford Ocean Cluster will focus on the area’s natural strengths in the commercial fishing industry, fish processing, offshore renewable energy and the developing opportunities for traditional marine businesses in the burgeoning tech segments known as Blue Tech and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Iceland Ocean Cluster is a marine incubator located in Reykjavik, Iceland, that builds and supports a network of entrepreneurs and businesses in the marine science industries to facilitate the creation of new business, ideas, and research that will ultimately add value to the industry. Over ten startups have been created in the incubator in Reykjavik over the last five years. These startups are creating valuable products for the health care, skin care and nutraceutical markets.
“Cultivating a network of commercial fishing interests and new technology companies can spur innovation in New Bedford, and support the port and fishing industry,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “As the center of commercial fishing on the east coast, New Bedford is seizing an opportunity to help create new small businesses and jobs for our residents.”
“We are very excited to connect New Bedford to the Ocean Cluster Network,” said Thor Sigfusson, founder of the Iceland Ocean Cluster. “The Iceland Ocean Cluster has successfully connected startups, research and design, universities, investors and fisheries. With the establishment of the NBOC, as a sister cluster, we believe same dynamism can be created in New Bedford.”
ImpactLABS works with a number of local businesses and organizations to develop sensors and other technologies to collect data and information that supports their growth and efficiency. They work with commercial fishermen to improve on-board monitoring and on-board ocean floor sonar/bathymetry, as well as maximizing efficiency on their vessels. This agreement formalizes the existing relationship between the Port of New Bedford and ImpactLABS; the Port has piloted many new technologies through its own facilities and by connecting ImpactLABS entrepreneurs with existing port users and businesses.
“Sustainable fisheries, oceans health and coastal resilience are three of the greatest challenges confronting the planet, and three of the biggest opportunities to prove the power of digital technology,” said Chris Rezendes, Managing Director of ImpactLABS. “But that proof can only happen with leadership from the people who know these opportunities and challenges best – the fleet, the local scientific community, and the people who live on and near the ocean. New Bedford and Reykjavik are two of the best places in the world to find the talent and experience to teach the tech community what we need to do to help. We are honored to do our part.”
“The New Bedford Ocean Cluster allows our marine industries to formally connect and learn from Iceland’s industries, and vice versa,” said Port Director Edward Anthes-Washburn who has been cultivating the relationship with the Iceland Ocean Cluster and its founder for the past several months. “Our fishermen, researchers, tech entrepreneurs, and other shoreside industries will only benefit from the ideas and information produced at the Iceland Ocean Cluster.”
Locally, the New Bedford Ocean Cluster will also be part of a growing entrepreneurship cluster developing in Greater New Bedford. Many businesses and organizations in New Bedford focus on the development of marine science technologies to further the goals of the commercial fishing industry and other marine-related business, including the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST and UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the New Bedford Economic Development Council, and the New Bedford Wind Energy Center.
About the Port of New Bedford
The Port of New Bedford generates $9.8 billion in total economic value on an annual basis, directly supporting 6,200 jobs. Managed by the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission, the Port aims to implement best management practices over port resources and develop economic growth strategies. To this end, it is the goal of the Harbor Development Commission to keep New Bedford on top as the top U.S. fishing port, expand existing businesses and capitalize on new opportunities that will maximize the Port’s potential as an economic engine to create jobs and strengthen the New Bedford economy.
About ImpactLABS
Located in New Bedford, MA, ImpactLABS pilots early stage Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with small and mid-sized businesses in Southeastern New England and a number of regional markets globally through a sponsor and partner network. ImpactLABS is helping the most innovative small and mid-sized enterprises to build more profitable and sustainable businesses.

Iceland Ocean Cluster and Washington State University pledge cooperation

Monday September 11th, Thor Sigfusson, Founder and Chairman of the Iceland Ocean Cluster, and Barbara Rasco, Professor and Director of Washington State University’s Food Science Department, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of developing coordinated efforts to provide support to the diversified sectors of the seafood value chain that share the common vision to develop sustainable products and technology for the ocean industry.

Increased cooperation with Washington State University’s dynamic Food Science Department will without doubt be of value for members of the Iceland Ocean Cluster. Likewise, sharing the knowledge and experience of the Icelandic fisheries industry regarding full utilization of fisheries products is of much benefit to the University’s Food Science Department. The establishment of a Seattle Ocean Cluster, based on the Iceland Ocean Cluster model, is being prepared and this cooperation agreement between the Iceland Ocean Cluster and WSU is a valuable input into that effort.

Attached is a picture from the signing of the MOU. In addition to Thor Sigfusson and Barbara Rasco, Ms. Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir, Senior Partner with the Iceland Ocean Cluster leading the the establishment of the Seattle Ocean Cluster, witnessed the signing.

Building Bridges with Ocean Clusters

On 28. July an article by Thor Sigfusson Founder and Chairman of The Iceland Ocean Cluster, about building bridges with ocean clusters was published on World Ocean Forum.

In this article he is challenging the startup community and the media to get excited about new ocean industry companies, new partnerships, and the benefits of weak ties.

The full article can be accessed here

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