“The internationalisation of startups provides great added value for the Nordic countries”
This is most certainly true, yet helping startups has not traditionally been the focus of the Nordic countries’ respective export agencies. Nordic entrepreneurs and startups have not had easy access to international markets and capital, something which is vital for a company to grow.
However, Nordic Innovation is attempting to tackle this and has attracted interest in its international initiatives where the aim is to help the region’s startups through Nordic cooperation.
Strong examples of international Nordic cooperation
Good examples of projects backed by Nordic Innovation that help Nordic startups looking outside of their domestic market include the Nordic Innovation House in Silicon Valley and the Nordic Innovation Incubator in Masdar City, United Arab Emirates.
The Nordic Innovation House is based in Silicon Valley, co-funded by Nordic Innovation and run by national agencies and is proof of a new type of Nordic cooperation on an International level, and one that has attracted interest from U.S investors and companies, as well as domestically.
And although the Nordic Innovation Incubator in Masdar City is just getting started, there’s a clear demand from Nordic companies requiring help and knowledge in accessing the market in the Middle East, a market that can be complex, but ultimately profitable.
These examples of Nordic cooperation are novel in the sense that they are operational, very visible and add a great deal of value that’s easy to quantify for the most important stakeholders.
Managing director of Nordic Innovation, Roger Bjørgan is buoyed by these international successes, and hints at further locations for an organised Nordic presence:
“Nordic Innovation regularly gets contacted about the possibility of launching a Nordic presence to help startups and SMEs in more locations. With limited resources, however, it’s clear that not all of these ideas can materialise and there will not be a ‘Nordic Innovation House’ in every hotspot, but it’s also clear that organised Nordic assistance is in demand in these places and that internationalisation of startups provides great added value for the Nordic countries”.
A case in point are the recent activities in New York, where a Nordic delegation had the honour of closing the Nasdaq Stock Market by ringing the bell:
Inspired by the interest this has generated and the promising progress of Nordic Innovation House in Silicon Valley, different national institutions with feet on the ground in New York City are currently working on plans to form a closer working relationship. The lighthouse projects run by Nordic Innovation could also provide some content to these activities, whether this ultimately results in a physical presence or not.
Director of communication at Nordic Innovation, Bárdur Örn Gunnarsson comments:
“Our international activities provide new and better opportunities for communicating the added value of Nordic cooperation by building on local strongholds that attract the companies to these locations in the first place.”
Judging by Roger’s and Bárdur’s comments it appears that it will only be a matter of time before we see the next location added to Silicon Valley, Masdar City and New York.