A startup program for entrepreneurs that mixes Danes and expats has been shown to give the participants a greater focus on internationalization from the start.

Large companies like The LEGO Group and Siemens are experts at luring talented foreigners to the Triangle Area. In fact, figures from Danmarks Statistik show that around 1,500 expats live within the Municipality of Vejle alone.

As a result of this development, demand for an English version of the startup program for entrepreneurs, Power Up, has grown in recent years.

“Typically, it’s either because the spouse of an expat wants to start their own project in Denmark, or the expat wants to turn their hobby into a business after working for a while in Denmark,” explains Majbritt Chambers, project manager for the Power Up program.

In 2016, Spinderihallerne hosted its first international entrepreneurship camp, where no less than 18 nationalities were represented. The organizers behind the Power Up program therefore decided to start offering it in English the following year. This proved to be an instant success, and showed that mixing Danish and expat entrepreneurs creates new opportunities.

“Having participants from many different backgrounds gives a very special dynamic. They soon think beyond their normal boundaries and also build an exceptional international network,” adds Majbritt.

The match between Danes and expats creates exports

The idea of mixing expats and Danes on the entrepreneurship program is to create an environment where they can teach each other to think internationally from the outset.
Natalka Hansen, who teaches on the program, has proven that such a mindset can help open up new markets:

Though her designer handbag company, Naledi Copenhagen, is located in Bindeballe outside Vejle, Natalka attracts customers from around the world. Thanks to her international mindset, Natalka has managed to reach an affluent international audience far from Denmark – especially in China and the United States.

Seasoned entrepreneurs pass on their experience to new talent

At a time when the Danish startup ecosystem talks about the need for super-entrepreneurs who have “made it” to give back – especially in the form of investment in new entrepreneurs – the people behind the Power Up program have chosen a more down-to-earth approach. The result is a program taught almost exclusively by teachers who have already been through the entrepreneurial mill.

“There are lots of skilled consultants out there who can help the entrepreneurs, but those with the best and most realistic understanding of the challenges startups will face are those who have experienced it first hand,” adds Majbritt.

The next program for Danes and expats starts on March 13th. Each module will be held in the evening, so participants will be able to test out their entrepreneurial dream after normal working hours. The next Power Up program in Danish, held in the morning, will start on March 8th.