These are the 10 rules that the Geist group proposed to the danish government. They are translated, rather quickly, and will get a better overhaul later.
The danish word ‘erhvervsfremmesystemet’ was translated as ‘innovation system’, and refers to government run initiatives and offices with the aim to help companies grow and being established in Denmark.
#1 Remove the Brand
The brand of public offices does not appeal to the entrepreneurial environment and is a barrier to the most ambitious digital start-ups to make use of the services the Danish government and ‘innovation system’ offers.
GEIST recommends that the public brand should be more in the background. In the foreground instead there should be serial entrepreneurs and the “hot” start-ups. They should act as senders and visibly promote offers, events and programs. The government should play an active role as facilitator and coordinator, but the Danish innovation system must accept to let the serial entrepreneurs take the spotlight. It is these serial entrepreneurs other start-ups are listening to. A less visible publicly brand will make public services more attractive to the target group of digital entrepreneurs they are aimed at.
#2 Tap the potentials
Serial Entrepreneurs are passionate about entrepreneurship and to help new start-ups in the community. There are a large untapped potential in working with digital serial entrepreneurs.
GEIST recommend that the innovation system closely involves serial entrepreneurs in concept development and implementation of programs, products and services. Serial entrepreneurs know where the needs and limitations are when Danish start-ups focus on international markets. The innovation system must create a framework in which serial entrepreneurs can contribute with knowledge, experience and network for the benefit of new start-ups.
#3 Spoil the elite
The Danish innovation system meets entrepreneurship at all levels – from the local hairdresse to “born global” start-ups to the manufacturing company with 25 employees.
GEIST recommends that the Danish innovation system focuses on entrepreneurs and companies that have ambitions and international potential to create extraordinary growth. To develop elite programs, products and services targeted at the few with great potential. In exchange for access to these services, these elite start-ups in turn repay a number of specific requirements. Serial Entrepreneurs should be involved in the screening process.
#4 Be my assistant, please
Entrepreneurs are driven by their idea and desire to develop it. Practicalities should not waste time from the creative concept development and building a large business.
GEIST recommend that the innovation system provides digital start-ups support in the basics. By removing red-tape and bureaucratic processes for entrepreneurs more time is freed to focus on growth and realisation of business plans. Practical assistance will make it possible for digital start-ups to get faster and more effectively abroad. For example: knowledge and assistance with registering the company and an overview of the legal requirements that may apply.
#5 Join us!
Many digital start-ups are not seeking up the Danish innovation system, as they have a perception that the government will not help them grow their companies.
GEIST recommends that innovation system officials are proactive in seeking out start-ups, and events they are at, to draw attention to what services the government can offer. The innovation systems officials should be present at established business centers and at events in the environment. This should make officials readily available to entrepreneurs and ensure that they can contribute knowledge in a dialogue when the star-ups have need for it.
#6 Make my date
A challenge for digital start-ups growth is lack of knowledge about where to get advice, whom to corporate with, employees and getting funding.
GEIST recommends that the Danish innovation system facilitates knowledge sharing and networking between digital entrepreneurs. It can kick-start the growth of start-ups, whose businesses easily enter into dialogue with experienced entrepreneurs in the same field and can easily search advice relevant to them personally at the stage they are in right now. For example: through establishing forums and networks that link entrepreneurs closer together. It is proposed that speed dating events between start-ups and potential investors or skilled developers are to be set up.
#7 A helping hand on foreign land
Start-ups often hit their head against a brick wall when trying to establish themselves abroad. Unknown regulations and opaque procedures delaying their deployment and growth.
GEIST recommend the establishment of flexible and convenient offers where start-ups with international ambitions can receive practical assistance in their expansions. Elite start-ups will have it easier to internationalise their businesses if they have the possibility of being guided by officials who are familiar with the foreign rules and conditions. Entrepreneurs will be able to focus on their company’s entry into a new foreign market if practical details come quickly and painlessly into place. The Foreign Ministry’s current offerings are too expensive and comprehensive to be of interest for start-ups.
#8 What’s keeping the talent away?
Digital start-ups are experiencing difficulty in finding suitably qualified (international) employees. The entrepreneurs also feel that the time between the entrepreneurs are talking to a foreign employee to the employee’s actual joining the company, is too long.
GEIST recommend that access to foreign labor becomes easier and faster. The innovation system could facilitate access to foreign workers with targeted matchmaking between Danish companies and potential foreign employees. For example: events and trips to relevant international destinations. Businesses have no problem paying, as long as it will be arranged.
Special working permits for new employees may make access to foreign skills faster for Danish start-ups. A process which provide foreign employees the right to work for the company immediately, while papers fall into place subsequently, is sought after.
#9 Put a roof above my head
As a serial entrepreneur uses much time to travel the world and visit the worlds digital start-up capitals: London, Berlin, Silicon Valley. Here information is gathered and connections established, that will help the company grow.
GEIST recommends that the Danish innovation system offers office spaces in selected global start-up hubs, so that time spent there can be spent more efficient. It should be just as quick to travel to Berlin as travel to Aarhus. Global office spaces will make it possible for entrepreneurs to focus on their growth-generating activities, and that they get a direct entry into foreign entrepreneurial communities and contacts.
#10 CPH as the place to be
Copenhagen must be a digital entrepreneurial metropolis, attracting foreign talent and investors. To help meet the growth potential among Danish digital businesses, Denmark needs to build up an ecosystem with a continuous flow of talent, ideas and capital.
GEIST recommend that the innovation system systematically promotes Copenhagen as a hub for digital entrepreneurship. Hosting ambitious international events and considerable media attention can be used to position Copenhagen internationally. The government should be the initiator of events and activities, but the entrepreneurial environment and Danish serial entrepreneurs will help to make and push events. This ensures that events will have a brand that can reach out to the interesting people and start-ups.