This post is also available in: Danish

Internationalisation is hard – especially as a startup with limited resources. Innovation Centre Denmark helps through its seven centres across the globe in collaboration with the Danish clusters.

This article is published in collaboration with Innovation Centre Denmark

Danish startups often have to be “born global” to succeed and many dreams of a breakthrough in the giant markets of the US, India or China. But internationalisation is complex when you’re in Denmark with a limited budget for expansion.

Innovation Centre Denmark (ICDK) helps ambitious startups get started. The centre supports startups in Danish areas of strength and ensures matches with players around the world through its seven selected hotspots in Munich, Boston, Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Bengaluru and Seoul.

Camilla Sofani Bartholdy, Executive Innovation Manager at Innovation Centre Denmark.

“In Denmark, we understand ‘Born Global’ as being present in Europe. But the market opportunities are quite different if you dare to move outside Europe. It is a big and difficult step, and it may be wise to start with a pilot project in Seoul, Bangalore or Tel Aviv before taking the full leap. And we can help with that,” says Camilla Sofani Bartholdy, Executive Innovation Manager at Innovation Centre Denmark.

From its centres around the world, ICDK connects startups with strong local partners – access that can be hard to get on your own without a public body like ICDK behind you.

An extension of the clusters

ICDK typically takes delegations of several startups to different parts of the world in collaboration with Danish cluster organisations such as Odense Robotic, Danish Life Science Cluster, CLEAN and DigitalLead. The clusters identify the ambitious entrepreneurs, while ICDK finds the right international partners to help test and demonstrate projects in a new, international context.

“We are a strategic offer for the startups in the clusters that think internationally. We are the ecosystem’s extended arm out into the world, creating sector-focused joint initiatives with clusters and accelerator programmes,” says Camilla Sofani Bartholdy and continues:

“Startups have to have wild ambitions and think internationally early on. We like to take projects that are already happening in partnerships at home in Denmark – with the clusters, the GTSs or the incubation environments at universities, so you have a group of Danish players who get some knowledge and experience and get matched out in the world – and then come home and use each other from there.”

ICDK’s 7 hotspots:

  • Munich: Proptech, Quantum Technology, Robotics & Automation.
  • Boston: Bioconvergence, Biosolutions, Human-AI Collaboration in health care.
  • Tel Aviv: Hospital innovation, cyber security, quantum technology, food technology.
  • Silicon Valley: CCUS, quantum technology, entrepreneurship, space technology.
  • Shanghai: E-commerce and social shopping, electrification of transport, industrial IoT.
  • Bengaluru: CCUS/green hydrogen, circular economy/food and agriculture, new technologies.
  • Seoul: Metaverse for Real (K-Tech), Towards 6G, Quantum Technology
    ICDK is established in cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The article is part of the magazine “The Guide – A comprehensive overview of the Danish startup ecosystem”, published by Heyfunding and

Read the full magazine here: