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About Us

Welcome Hub Agder (WHA) was founded in 2021 by Impact Hub Agder, Arendal Chamber of Commerce and Arendal Municipality to support new internationals who have relocated to the area to settle in comfortably and to overcome the challenges that come with integrating with a new community.

WHA works with local municipalities, businesses and organisations in Agder county to arrange courses, events and networking opportunities to connect newcomers with what they need to know to find their way! By focusing on the whole family, we not only ensure that the Agder community continues to grow but that long-term settlement is achieved.

Agder county is comprised of several municipalities including Arendal, Grimstad, Lillesand and Kristiansand.

What We Do

WHA provides a number of services including -

  • individual consultation and advice to expats on a variety of daily living issues, including finding initial housing, healthcare registration, and school and childcare information amongst other things 
  • supporting organisations in their recruiting efforts of international talent 
  • arranging courses, events and networking opportunities, including seminars and leisure activities
  • job support for accompanying spouses
  • helping to understand cultural differences for a smoother integration into Norwegian life 
  • connecting new individuals/families with others that are well established as part of our “ambassador network”
  • connecting new comers with interest organisations

Our Team and Board

WHA Founding Organisations

Impact Hub Agder
Arendal Municipality
Arendal Chamber of Commerce
Megan Elizabeth Strand
WHA Programme Manager
COO, Impact Hub Agder
Elisabeth Wollebæk
CEO, Impact Hub Agder
Morten Haakstad
General Manager, Arendal Chamber of Commerce
Brit Maria Marcussen
Business Development Adviser, Arendal Municipality

Advisory Committee

Nishi Asdal
Arendal Municipality
Joanna Derdowska
Career Agder County
Amina Bitar
NAV
Morten Haakestad
Arendal Chamber of Commerce
Megan Strand
Impact Hub Agder
Lisbeth Iversen
MHFA With a Heart For Arendal
Anne Simonsen
NHO Agder
Clare Jortveit
University of Agder
Eugene Guribye
NORCE
Brit Maria Marcussen
Arendal Municipality
Matthieu Aemisegger
Grimstad Municipality

Our Story

Welcome Hub Agder (WHA) was created following the establishment of a groundbreaking battery factory in Arendal municipality in 2021. 

Arendal municipality is located in the county of Agder, which is growing rapidly due to the development of The Battery Coast, bringing challenges in terms of attracting expertise from all over the world. The international talent relocating to the area often also come with a partner and children. They have left behind a comfortable life and have chosen to start a new one in a foreign country and now need to cope with a different language, culture, traditions and laws.

This often creates challenges and a stressful time for new families. It also puts pressure on international recruitment companies and businesses hiring international talent as they work to address these challenges and help alleviate common stress factors facing their new employees. Failure to do so often leads to talent leaving, which in turn results in economic consequences and challenges for both the companies and the region.

Impact Hub Agder, together with Arendal Chamber of Commerce and Arendal Municipality hope that by creating a hub, both international talent and their families can receive the support they need and will ultimately choose to stay in the region.  

As a hub, WHA supports not only newcomers, but also companies and the municipalities in the region. It plays a vital part in facilitating access to information, networks and support in navigating “the system” in Agder.

We know that getting the most out of a new place means getting involved. Our network of over 100+ organisations will help everyone get involved with something that interests them - building a vital social network and an opportunity to be a part of the great Agder community.

In 2022, WHA established Job Start Agder, Ambassador Network Agder, Living and Working in Norway (and with Norwegians) and City Walk Arendal (pilot). WHA also offers an easy “drop-in” support which allows one to meet a friendly face in a warm and inclusive environment.

We welcome you to Agder and look forward to meeting you – we think you will be here for a while!

Welcome Hub Agder was founded by Impact Hub, Arendal Municipality and Arendal Chamber of Commerce as an integrated part of the community to welcome international talent and their families to Arendal and Agder.
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