INTRODUCING NORDIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP HUBS
Nordic Entrepreneurship Hubs (NEH) is a collaborative project - between Lund University, DTU - Technical University of Denmark, Cphbusiness – Inkubatoren and KEA - Copenhagen School of Design and Technology - supporting student entrepreneurship across Sweden and Denmark by forming a network of hubs that combines entrepreneurial facilities and resources.
The institutions of higher educations in the Øresund Region hold a large number of students who intend to launch their own businesses. In addition, companies launched by those with a higher education have proven to create more jobs than other businesses.
Both Denmark and Sweden have well-developed business promotion systems, public and private incubation environments and offers for start-ups that support this development. Despite these good conditions and innovative forces, the region does not produce enough successful entrepreneurs when benchmarking against other countries.
For the region to really profit from the growth potential students with entrepreneurial mindsets represent, structural challenges must be met by creating a better dynamic between the agencies supporting upcoming businesses and the needs of student entrepreneurs.
Our goal is therefore to create a higher number of student entrepreneurs in and across higher education institutions in Greater Copenhagen and strengthen the student entrepreneurs’ businesses to ensure that they can survive and grow, thus contributing to increased employment in the region.
The project will achieve this goal by:
Providing easy access to facilities, network and support
Developing flexible startup and growth packages aimed at the needs of Swedish and Danish student entrepreneurs
The project was realised by funds from the EU regional development fund Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak under the program priority Employment. Read more about Interreg here.
”[…] the programme will facilitate employment and cross-border cooperation in micro enterprises, own businesses and new enterprises. It will also increase cross-border mobility through activities aiming at overcoming legal and other border obstacles and supporting qualifications assessment.”
Throughout this website, you will find further information about how the project was formed, how it was run and what we did to achieve our goals. Furthermore you can information about the student start-ups that participated in the programme, and see there ideas and experiences.
Feel free to contact the project team if you need further information.
The project was formed by KEA, Lund and DTU. Below is a short introduction to each of the partners, and how they contributed to the project:
Copenhagen School of Design and Business (KEA) provides a number of educational programmes on academy and professional bachelor level. Across the programmes at KEA there is a strong focus on entrepreneurship and practical experience for the students. Since 2012 KEA increased their effort to support student entrepreneurs, and developed specific activities to increase the success rate of these. Here “Inkubator”, a course that targeted students who started their own business while being enrolled at KEA, can be highlighted. By participating in NEH, KEA was able to expand the availability and offers they could offer, not only to there own students, but also students from partner institutions. Led from the Applied Research and Innovation department, KEA was lead partner on the project, and was largely responsible for organising and ensuring progress during the project.
Lund University located in Lund southern Sweden, is ranked within the 100 universities in the world, and offers a broad range of programmes and courses. Lund University have an international profile, and have partners across 67 universities around the world. Through VentureLab, Lund University offers support for student start-ups. Here is an incubator, and they offer a wide range of programmes for the participant. Throughout the project Lund University will offer support, facilities, transfer knowledge and provide follow-up research. Lund University is coordinating partner in Sweden.
Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is one of the most foremost technical universities in Europe. Through their innovation facilities SkyLab, DTU have experience in guiding student start-ups and innovators. SkyLab focuses on student innovation, company collaboration and academia. Besides academic support, SkyLab offers a range of facilities, from office spaces, manufacturing machines and a test kitchen. By participating in NEH, SkyLab achieved a more diverse pallet of facilities it could offer to its users. Furthermore, the development of start-up programmes and flexible packages for student start-ups were a advancement for their approach to supporting student start-ups.
Besides the main partners, Copenhagen Business Academy, Sweden's Agricultural University and Malmö University joined NEH later in the project.
The project was realised by funds from the EU regional development fund Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak (Interreg) under the program priority Employment
To achieve the goals of the project. NEH was organized within five main activities. Each activity had a subset of activities. Read more about the activities, and their purpose below.
This activity involves everything related to managing the project, gathering the project team and constituting a control-group and advisory board. Here is all-so, Budgeting and financial accounting. In addition areas of responsibilities is allotted. Another sub-activity was to evaluate the project and measure its effect.
Here all communication, both internal and external were handled. The purpose of this activity was to spread knowledge of the project through PR and marketing and in the end all publications gathering knowledge and experiences from the project.
This activity managed all matters in order to establish and expanding a network of hubs, including strategy and network, facilitation and expertise. Additionally Innovation Hub tours and sparing events were used to establish the network.
Development and implementation
A number of sub activities were necessary in order to complete this activity. Including mapping previous efforts and evaluating them. Developing the packages, preparing and planing the packages, and in the end pilot testing and implementation.
In order to ensure to quality of the project, process support for the project were provided. Furthermore analysis of data collected compared to project activation and research activities. When the project is ended communication of results.
NEH spanned from the 5th of September 2016 to the 4th of September 2019. The timeline is divided into six (6) smaller time frames which each represent a phases of the project. Below is an overview of the phases.
Forming the project
Phase 1: 5 sep 2016 – 28 feb 2017
The first phase, were reserved to plan and organize the span of the project. Here, a control-group was established with management representatives from each of the partner institutions. The purpose of the control-group was to ensure strategic focus, progress and conditions involving new partners.
Furthermore an advisory board was formed. This had the purpose of contributing with knowledge and sparring to evolve and back the project team.
Ending the project, for now
Phase 6: 28 feb – 4 sep 2019
After a successful project, the partner institution will continue to share knowledge and experiences about student start-ups. Between the partners there is a vision to extend the project, as research shows that student start-ups still needs support to succeed.
New business get support:
Use of incubation, entrepreneurship packages / programs and workshops of more than one day duration. CVR registration. no. / organization no.
Student entrepreneurs have used facilities,
expertise or the like in the NEH network:
Participation from business partners - one or more times eg at seminars, workshops, conferences, etc.
Student entrepreneurs have used the start-up and growth packages of both a Danish and a
Student entrepreneurs have developed or further developed their business ideas in collaboration with student entrepreneurs from across the strait or from another partner institution:
The goal is met when student entrepreneurs have once used facilities, expertise or the like in the NEH network of one of the partners in the network.
Student start-ups have participated in pitch events with the participation of investors / have been given investor capital for their company:
At least 5 new partners have joined the NEH network:
Investor capital agreements usually do not land at the first meeting between the start-up company and the investor. The goal is therefore met when student entrepreneurs have participated in pitch events with the participation of potential investors.
Copenhagen Business Academy, Sweden's Agricultural University and Malmö University
The project team reached out to all who had participated in ignite, and a small number answered. With the data available we can se some tendencies.
Around 50% of start-ups had either 3 or 4 co-founders. 20% was alone and 20% had their start-up with one partner. The last group were more than 5 co-founders.
60% of start-up or ideas is still under development.
66% is officially registered as a company either in Denmark or Sweden. If they are not registred, 60% want to be registred in the future.
When entering the marked, around 25% of start-ups had sales and positive revenue. There can be many explanations for this. One, the start-ups are still new and need time to grow and find their costumers. Two, the nature of the product or service they sell or provide may require more development and funding before being ready for sales.
Looking at employment we see that between the start-ups (of which answered). There are 5 full time employees. They are either paid or unpaid (for now). Same goes for part-time employees, here the number is 20 hired. In addition the start-ups have hired 5 interns and 7+ volunteers between them. The numbers might be higher given more time and support for the start-ups to grow and enter the marked properly.
Lastly, looking at funding, we see that 86% of start-ups received funding from own resources. 6,7% Received seed capital, 13,3% venture capital and 13,3% public markets.