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Open Entrepreneurship invites experienced entrepreneurs to collaborate across all Danish universities. It creates new startups based on research and new technology.

Sponsored: This article is published in collaboration with Open Entrepreneurship.

Experienced entrepreneurs should enter universities to unlock the potential for the commercialisation of research and the development of entrepreneurship in research. This is the idea behind Open Entrepreneurship (OE), which also aims to foster collaboration across research fields and universities.

OE has therefore established business units at all Danish universities, where staff have both an entrepreneurial background and academic insight into the research fields on which the initiative focuses.

Helle Nielsen Elgaard Open Entrepreneurship
Helle Nielsen Elgaard, Head of innovation at Open Entrepreneurship.

These business unit managers act as catalysts and links between researchers, university culture and the business community. For example, by putting together the right teams to mature research into commercial business – teams with representatives from both industry and academia.

“With OE, Danish universities have created a unique ecosystem of budding research-based startups, entrepreneurs and researchers. An initiative that has developed into one of the most important strategic collaborations across Danish universities and that promises the commercialisation of university research,” says Helle Nielsen Elgaard, Head of Innovation at Open Entrepreneurship.

“Technology is not the solution in itself”

OE was established as a pilot project in 2017 with the help of the Danish Industry Foundation, which has provided ongoing support of DKK 50 million. To continue in the current national setup, the project needs an annual grant of 20 million DKK.

“A fixed grant is important as experience shows that projects like OE otherwise might fizzle. That would be a shame, as OE is an effective engine for succeeding with societal challenges like the green transition. New technology is not the solution in itself, but needs to be produced and brought to market to make a difference,” says Helle Nielsen-Elgaard.

With more than 100 research-based companies and 75 cases with commercial potential per year, OE has already proven to be a catalyst for growth, prosperity and jobs in Denmark.

About: Open Entrepreneurship

OE was established as a pilot project in 2017 with the help of the Danish Industry Foundation, which has continuously supported it with approximately DKK 50 million. The grant from Industriens Fond runs until summer 2023. Since its inception and at an accelerating pace, the programme has created:

  • +100 research-based companies
  • 75 cases with commercial potential annually
  • Raised +175 million DKK for new companies.
  • Established +150 collaborative relationships between research environments and industry.
  • Implemented +60 learning and capacity-building programmes in universities.
  • Involved +650 researchers in various Open Entrepreneurship events.
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Contact: Helle Nielsen-Elgaard, Head of Innovation / / +45 22 12 88 92

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: