Expert Panel: How Do We Hatch More Succesful Startups From Universities?

Expert Panel: How Do We Hatch More Succesful Startups From Universities?

@Redaktionen

This article is made in collaboration with ‘Stibo Accelerator’ and ‘Fonden for Entreprenørskab’ – some of the amazing partners making the magazine ‘From University to Unicorn 2021’ possible. You can read the full magazine here.


Everybody wants more successful, fast-growing startups to be built on top of the wealth of knowledge universities continuously generate.

But how do we do that? And what will it mean to the established business community?

We’ve asked four experts – including some of the partners making “From University to Unicorn” possible.


Karsten Dehler – Director, Stibo Accelerator

How do we transform research from universities into new, successful companies at an accelerated pace?

In the first place, we need to invite students into established companies and let them work on cases from “the real world”. This allows them to use their theoretical knowledge and forces them to come up with innovative solutions. Solutions that can survive on market terms and not just in theory.

What will that mean to established businesses?

By consciously giving young talents the framework to challenge the status quo, companies force themselves to accelerate their innovation and not always do, what they usually do.

It’s a unique opportunity for established enterprises to look into the horizon and discover blind spots in their current operations. This allows them to ask themselves – in the most positive way – if they are certain their direction is the right one, or if there are new opportunities on the horizon that should make them reconsider their path.

What is your role?

Our role is to establish a continuous influx of young talents to established businesses by working alongside partners across the industries and sectors, we are working with. By collaborating with Danish universities we create an innovative ecosystem that functions as a launchpad where we believe, the best learnings are obtained through experimenting.


Emilie Normann, Head of Research, Analysis and Higher Education, Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship.

How do we transform research from universities into new, successful companies at an accelerated pace?

We do that by working more coherently and holistically. We have some great and highly relevant educations that prepare students to work with entrepreneurship, and those educations need to be strengthened. Entrepreneurship hubs with mentors and access to established businesses are important. And the universities need to involve students-entrepreneurs in the innovation projects, they are already doing with established enterprises.

Universities are the obvious place to teach students about strategic thinking and entrepreneurship toward societal challenges like sustainability. Actually, I don’t think we can teach that better anywhere else.

What will that mean to established businesses?

Established corporations are very interested in working even closer with universities toward innovation, and I think entrepreneurship is a great focal point for this collaboration. The better students get at thinking like entrepreneurs and translating innovation to business opportunities and solutions, the greater value for companies.

What is your role?

In Denmark, we have a shared goal of exposing even more young people to entrepreneurship through their education.

As a national research centre for entrepreneurship, we support the universities in working more entrepreneurial – especially by strengthening entrepreneurship in their educations. We are continuously getting into more and new settings which might not be aware of the relevance of entrepreneurship to them – e.g. in social sciences and faculties of humanities, which also have a huge potential.


Jasmina Pless, Chief Consultant for Entrepreneurship Policy at the Danish Chamber of Commerce

How do we transform research from universities into new, successful companies at an accelerated pace?

In Denmark, the state spends 20 billion DKK on research annually. First and foremost, we need to bridge the gap between research environments and businesses to ensure, that research spendings also end up as commercial solutions.

At the same time, we need to make it easier to extract patents from the universities in order to make them a part of commercial business plans. Danish universities are a breeding ground for numerous entrepreneurial ideas and startups. It just takes a long time. For that reason, the Danish Chamber of Commerce suggests a fast track solution for intellectual properties, which will change the current cumbersome and bureaucratic procedures in spinning out a company from a university.

What will that mean to established businesses?

It’s important to make it attractive for Danish growth companies to invest in research. This is the foundation for new solutions which contributes to making established companies more efficient and reducing their CO2 emission in a commercially sustainable way.

Established companies from Denmark is constantly in an arms race with foreign companies which makes them reliant on innovation from research-heavy spinouts from the universities if they want to stay competitive. If we succeed in breeding innovative startups from Danish universities, this will automatically benefit the existing companies in Denmark.

What is your role?

The Danish Chamber of Commerce works toward making Denmark the best place to start a company in the world. In the spring, we published 28 recommendations to ensure the right conditions for Danish entrepreneurs. Several recommendations have been integrated into actual proposals from political parties.


Rikke Lynge Storgaard, Programme manager, Spin-outs Denmark

How do we transform research from universities into new, successful companies at an accelerated pace?

Danish universities produce new knowledge, new technologies and assist young researchers, who have the courage to solve some of the challenges we face in business and society at large. Recently, the eight Danish universities have co-initiated the “Spin-outs Danmark” programme aimed at establishing even more research-based spin-out companies and researchers with commercial interests. Researchers who are supported on their journey from research to startup with education, access to relevant networks, investors, mentoring and financial support.

What will that mean to established businesses?

Investment in research and new technologies is crucial for Danish companies’ competitiveness and growth. In that regard, the universities play an essential part in presenting the pipeline of research, technology and the talents businesses depend on in the future.

Even a temporary interruption of these investments will eventually mean a significant weakening of Danish companies’ international competitiveness and ability to find solutions for challenges like sustainability.

What is your role?

Through the Spin-outs Denmark programme, the Danish universities strengthen their collaboration with businesses as well as other significant stakeholders in the ecosystem with an ambition to create more, strong and viable spin-outs from Danish universities. At the same time, the programme repræsents the Danish universities’ contribution to strengthening the community of smaller growth startups, which has the potential to solve the challenges of the future.


 

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