Tue David Bak, director of Innovation and Growth for Region Zealand in Denmark, is back for a final interview with Promoting Enterprise. Today the subject is the future, what does it hold for innovation and enterprise? What can we expect? What are the trends telling us? Read on to find out…
In Denmark specifically, the public sector is embracing innovation, which I see as a positive thing. Overall, user driven innovation is increasing, as consumers and users begin to play larger roles in development, and there is a shift from only research based innovation. The current trend is disruption of society as there is a need for innovation for us to advance.
What measures/steps are you taking to encourage digital innovation in Region Zealand?
In Region Zealand we currently don’t do enough and as such we are not a front runner in the digital space. In Denmark however there have been some steps towards pushing companies to work digitally and make that digital transformation. The Danish Business Authority (which takes care of company registrations and working in the Danish public sector) took the controversial decision to make it mandatory for all companies to digitally invoice if they wanted to work in the public sector. Initially there was a lot of resistance but overall it helped – and is still helping companies – to transition to the digital sphere. As such, Denmark has no physical paper trails for monetary transactions and the public sector is going fully digital. That is truly innovative.
As director for innovation and growth, what do you see as the future of enterprise?
The same situation can be seen across all the EU countries, the public sector is under enormous strain which has and will continue to be a catalyst and driver for innovation. This in turn will result in increased cooperation and further blurring of public and private divisions. This blurring of divisions also relates to how the idea of employment is changing and evolving, which is not to say it is negative, but simply means that new working models are beginning to emerge. I see the future of enterprise as no longer including the ‘employee’ concept, I think this will be phased out. It is not uncommon now and nor will it be in future to have multiple jobs or hybrid employment models, alongside an overall merging of individuals and companies.
What does the future of enterprise look like in Denmark? Do you think it is different to global trends or where the future of enterprise will go globally?
Denmark has always had a strong focus on creating a business environment conducive to startups and entrepreneurs. So far we have been successful, but we also need to change in order to stay competitive and innovative. The new focus now needs to be on helping startups to scale up. So the big question for us now is how do we scale up in Denmark? Perhaps a larger and certainly important question is, how do we scale up in the EU?
If you enjoyed this insightful interview with Tue David Bak, be sure to read his other interviews right here on the Promoting Enterprise Portal.
First interview: Innovation – What is it and how can it be fostered?
Second interview: Startup Culture – Tue David Bak shares his insights and predictions
Promoting Enterprise is proud to welcome back Tue David Bak, director of Innovation and Growth for Region Zealand in Denmark. In his second interview with us, Tue sheds some light on startups, accelerators and incubators in Region Zealand and Denmark, current trends and the regional influences on startup culture.
In Denmark we have actually worked to avoid having too many regional accelerators and incubators, we prefer to have these bodies on a national level so as to keep them open to all Danish and even global companies. Global companies are not excluded from accessing our incubators and accelerators. As long as they have a Danish license and a physical presence in Denmark they can access all the resources. Through this openness we hope to facilitate a link between the Danish and global markets, thus making Denmark just as attractive as the Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs.
What trends are you seeing on the startup scene?
There is an increasing acknowledgement from startups that they do need help. The old idea of two guys in a garage doing everything on their own and not needing any support is starting to be replaced by the realisation that getting a startup to take off is difficult and that there a multitude of resources to draw from and that they are there for a reason. This links to another trend which is an overall change in mindset regarding partnerships. Similar to the collective realisation that they need help, startup founders are specifically beginning to value the need for partnerships with mentors, larger companies etc.
What trends are you seeing in startup culture? For example, does geography play a role?
Absolutely, just looking at the differences between Northern and Southern Europe is an illustration of the role of geography. I have more experience and expertise in Northern Europe, and overall I have seen that there is a strong entrepreneurial culture in Northern Europe, including acceptance of changes of career as a ‘normal’ part of professional life.
Even within countries geography is a big influence, a startup or company located in a rural area will not behave in the same way as an urban counterpart. Rural startups are more traditional working on the idea of being your own boss and are often less aggressive in their approach to scaling up. They are also more in line with the traditional Danish culture which means not standing out or drawing attention to yourself. In contrast urban areas are experiencing an aggressive growth of entrepreneurs.
Tue David Bak will be back next week on Promoting Enterprise for his final interview on the future of innovation and enterprise and what Denmark and the EU need to focus on to stay competitive.
Read his first interview: Innovation – What is it and how can it be fostered?
The preparations for the 2017 European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) are underway and National Coordinators across the participating countries have been working hard to promote the awards and find innovative and interesting entries to compete on European level for the 2017 titles!
Today Swedish EEPA National Coordinator Maria Evertsson gives us a glimpse into the Swedish campaign and her advice for promoting EEPA 2017.
How have you been promoting EEPA 2017 so far?
I have been promoting EEPA online with information and a simplified on-line-tool for applicants to fill in, which is supported with tweets about our EEPA web page. On the basis of the applications we receive our national jury will pick two national winners. Those two winners will then fill in the full application.
I have also reached out to actors involved in European Structural and Investments Funds and asked them to spread the word about EEPA 2017.
What are your top 3 pieces of advice for reaching out to potential applicants?
- Address actors with good local and regional knowledge who can help spread the word.
- Focus on the benefits for applicants in terms of visibility, European networking and international recognition.
- Make it easy and attractive for applicants to participate.
What are the main aspects of your EEPA 2017 campaign?
- An attractive web page combined with social media.
- A simplified submission procedure.
- Link to last years’ EEPA to help potential candidates understand what it is all about.
What is the most important thing you have learnt during your experience as National Coordinator?
There are a lot of things happening which means that you may not reach your target audiences despite great efforts. You need to repeat information and find ambassadors with good knowledge about what is going on who can help you spread the word about EEPA. People do not necessarily understand that they could be EEPA material. It can help to give examples from previous years.
Thinking about applying? Need more advice or information? Find your national coordinator’s contact details here and ask them everything you want to know about EEPA!
The European Conference for Junior Entrepreneurs (The JADE Spring Conference) takes place on 02‐05 March 2017, in Brussels, and is the main international Junior Enterprise event in Europe, bringing together over 300 Junior Entrepreneurs from over 14 countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, the United States and Tunisia. This year, 2017, marks the 25th anniversary of JADE and the 50th of the Junior Enterprise concept. The conference theme is “Co-create the future. Celebrate the past, act today, shape our tomorrow”, and will focus on the power of youth assuming a leadership role in shaping the society of the future.
Andrey Novakov, youngest Member of the European Parliament, will launch the conference, followed by high level panels and keynote speaker Dr. Georg Tacke, CEO of Simon Kucher & Partners. During the conference, the Junior Entrepreneurs will have the chance to foster their skills development with dedicated workshops delivered by the event’s partners, experienced professionals and chosen multipliers of the JADE network. The Gala Dinner will close the event, during which the best Junior Enterprises in the network will be awarded with JADE Excellence Awards.
Each week, one of six European Enterprise Promotion Award (EEPA) categories is presented on the Promoting Enterprise blog. The EEPA awards reward annually, those who promote entrepreneurship and small business at the national, regional and local level.
You can have a look at last week’s featured projects shortlisted for EEPA Category 1: Promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. This week, it is the turn of the shortlisted projects in Category 2: Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills. Three projects, from Italy, Latvia and the UK, support the inclusion of the unemployed and young jobseekers into the workforce through skills development and mentorship. Two of the shortlisted projects have a focus on the crafts industry, while the third includes the creative arts as an area targeted for support.
The Bottega Scuola project in Italy supports the young unemployed by encouraging craft skills and business development ideas in artistic and traditional industries through six months’ work experience. The project acts as an artisan teaching workshop intended to increase job opportunities and stimulate new local entrepreneurial initiatives. Watch their video!
The project for the Development of innovative entrepreneurship in Jelgava City and Zemgale Region in Latvia is a platform through which the local government supports innovative entrepreneurship and facilitates networking, local good practice and mentor support. One example is the successful Competence and Contact Exchange initiative for the cottage arts and crafts industry, which develops entrepreneurial skills and creates innovative new products. So far, 10 000 people have taken part in various activities for developing innovative entrepreneurship and on average 63 new entrepreneurs sign up every year! Watch their video!
The Enterprise Educators Academe in the UK has created the world’s first internal, accredited, enterprise educator training programme. The training and support of over 600 staff of all disciplines to embed enterprise skills across the university curriculum has been at the heart of the programme. In the first two years alone 21 000 students were reached and over 2 000 freelance businesses created. Business and public sector projects projects benefited from student support resulting in an economic impact valued at over EUR 4.4 million (GBP £4 million). Check out their YouTube channel!
By investing in entrepreneurial skills, these projects continue to support ongoing regional initiatives to integrate young people and the unemployed in the workforce. All 6 EEPA category winners will be revealed at the EEPA Awards Ceremony during the SME Assembly on 24 November in Bratislava, Slovakia, when the Grand Jury prize-winner will also be announced.
Digital technologies are the single most important driver of innovation and growth today. They re-shape entire industries and open doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. The Secret of Success 2014-15 brochure features 35 of Europe’s finest digital icons.
This very interesting video from Euronews about digital entrepreneurs in France is worth a look. It features Secret of Success entrepreneur, Benjamin Suchar who created Yoopies, (Europe’s leading social platform for child-minding services) after seeing his how two sisters had limited choices for their childcare.
Europe’s digital economy has huge potential -as the success of French start-ups like Yoopies illustrates. It helps users to find a babysitter based on 50 criteria including, location, profile, and rating. Launched in 2012, Yoopies went from 3 to 15 people, from 10 babysitters to 400,000. The platform is now available in 7 languages in 9 countries. It now has a 300% year-on-year turnover increase and is moving into other services including shopping delivery and housekeeping.
‘42’ is another example of the digital’s sector’s potential. Created by top French digital entrepreneur Xavier Niel, ‘42’ is a unique school which trains 900 young people in digital skills each year, free of charge and regardless of qualifications.
Gilles Babinet is one of the EU’s Digital Champions, whose mission is to promote the benefits of an inclusive digital society.
I started Datamolino because I wanted small businesses to have the same access to technology as large ones. Datamolino is a platform for accountants, that processes invoices and receipts sent in any format and exports the extracted data into any accounting software thereby saving time and money. The growth potential for our platform is huge with some 16 billion ‘unstructured’ invoices in Europe alone. We benefited hugely from being part of Telefonica’s Wayra acceleration programme that helped us get to market quickly and gave us access to a large customer base.
That ecosystem of entrepreneurs, a skilled workforce and investors are essential to the growth of the economy and government needs to ensure that all the conditions are in place for such ecosystems to thrive.
“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we drive innovation, creating products that add value through material benefits, savings or unique experiences.”
Hero(es): Nelson Mandela
Start up capital: Investors and acceleration programme (Wayra)
Can you code? No
Education / Training: Lawyer
Product / Service: Accountancy software
Since 2006, the European Enterprise Promotion Awards have rewarded excellence in promoting entrepreneurship and small business throughout the European Union and in Competitive and Innovation Programme (CIP) countries. Participants are national, regional or local authorities or public-private partnerships.
Projects and job creation
Over 2,800 projects have entered since the awards were launched and in total they have supported the creation of well over 10,000 new companies.
The objectives of the European Enterprise Promotion Awards are to:
- Identify and recognise successful activities and initiatives that promote enterprise and entrepreneurship
- Showcase and share examples of best entrepreneurship policies and practices
- Create a greater awareness of the role that entrepreneurs play in European society
- Encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs
Find out more
For more information on the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, visit the EEPA website, follow the Awards on Twitter in English, French, Spanish, Italian or German or visit the official Awards Facebook page.
Watch a video of last year’s winner, Think Small First