Launching this month, Nordic Scalers is a new growth program that connects the most talented entrepreneurs across the Nordics. The initiative is made to bring well-established startups closer to a global market. “It is about time that we collaborate step-by-step on this effort,” says the Program Director, Bjarne Schøn.

For the entrepreneur that is just getting started, an array of options exists within public funding and accelerator programs. But for the startups already doing well – the scale-ups – there are fewer resources available to increase and solidify their growth. The Nordic Scalers program wants to fix that. This autumn 10 young companies from the Nordic countries will be chosen for the project, which is initiated by Nordic Innovation. The participating entrepreneurs must have a track record of growth and 2 million euro in revenue or venture capital. Over the course of six months they will each create an execution plan for entering a foreign market. The first edition will focus the US, where the selected scale-ups will test their product during the program.

During the past few years, the Nordics have fostered several companies that have grown exponentially and gained massive success internationally. We know that the talent pool for the next generation of scale-ups is here, but in order to try to help ensure that more of the Nordic scale-ups become successful internationally, we want to see, if we take the learnings from past successes and “put this into a formula” that we can apply across the scale-ups in the program“, says Program Director at Nordic Scalers, Bjarne Schøn, and continues.

We therefore need to join forces across the Nordics and bring together the best learnings from the most experienced entrepreneurs into a program that drive the scale-ups to success.”

“Best practice” within scaling

To ensure that the right entrepreneurs are selected, the partners behind Nordic Scalers include startup communities such as Epicenter Stockholm, Maria 01, Angel Challenge, Icelandic Startups, and The Hub. Lead partner is the entrepreneurial collective Rainmaking, which runs the project’s main office in Copenhagen. The funding for the program’s first two years comes from Nordic Innovation, the cross-border trade organization of the Nordics. For Nordic Innovation the new program is a way towards identifying a “best practice” when it comes to scaling innovative business models. Nordic Scalers will keep an emphasis on products and services based on emerging technologies.

The high Nordic startup rates are not turned into equally high firm growth rates. The lack of acceleration support for scale-ups and mature SMEs with high growth ambitions represent the most obvious gap in the Nordic entrepreneurship support system. While the number of acceleration programmes has increased, the large majority are targeted at startups. Furthermore, the support measures in the Nordics are mostly national or even regional” says Senior Innovation Advisor at Nordic Innovation, Anna-Maija Sunnanmark.

Aside from the knowledge sharing between the entrepreneurs, Nordic Scalers matches them with mentors that have succeeded on a global market. In August and September, the program will be presented in the Nordic Capitals at “Meet The Scalers” events. Here it will be possible for scale-ups to meet mentors and make the case for why they are ready for an American expansion.