Several green tech companies are working on their business ideas these days in Copenhagen. They are participating in Green Tech Challenge, an initiative to make green business good business, and that is a very good idea, according to PwC and Horten.
In beautiful Copenhagen, cyclists commute to work alongside buses with lower carbon emissions, trash bins pronounce their love for a clean city in bold writing on a green background, and new innovation is made at the many co-working spaces to help build a better future for all. One initiative that has set itself apart as truly sustainable is Green Tech Challenge.
That is one thing the companies PwC and Horten agree upon this Friday afternoon where they have joined forces to counsel green startups at the Green Tech Challenge program currently being organized in Copenhagen. Another thing is the importance of building innovative, green companies in Denmark to secure future growth.
“Green technology is an important part of Danish industry. We want to support the burgeoning startups and scale-ups to support green tech being a big part of the future development too,” says Niels Henrik B. Mikkelsen, state-authorized accountant, and partner at the global consultancy and accountancy firm PwC during a short break between sessions.
Lise Lotte Hjerrild, an attorney and partner at Horten, one of Denmark’s largest full-service law firms:
“It is a clear strategy for us to support green tech companies because if we look to the future, we will only see an even stronger focus on technology and the environment. If Denmark is to survive as a trading nation, we have to stay a frontrunner when it comes to developing green solutions. Traditionally we’re pretty good at it, but if established large corporates like us don’t support the up-and-coming’s, we’ll risk falling behind in the race.”
Getting help with those fiscal and legal questions
During one week, the startups in Green Tech Challenge Copenhagen will be taught hands-on how to pitch to investors, how to navigate the legal jungle and what to keep an eye on when it comes to investors, employees, rights, taxes, and accounts.
Lise Lotte Hjerrild and Niels Henrik B. Mikkelsen have sessions of one and a half hour each during the day teaching the companies about law and accounting. They found that many of the challenges they experience from their own clients are similar; troubles with financial statements, fiscal problems, contractual and rights issues and issues when a founder leaves one company to start another. All of these questions, the startups can ask and get an answer to for free during the session with the two experts.
“When your company reaches a certain level, you have to be able to meet certain expectations from the established business life. Investors expect you have more than just a good idea as to how to save the world. You have to secure your rights, know your customer target group, how to reach them, how much you’ll be able to sell, what your budget looks like and what consequences the different, possible scenarios might entail. By that, I don’t mean you have to have the definitive answers, but you have to have a qualified opinion about it,” says Lise Lotte Hjerrild.
Before the short break lies three very different and very interesting sessions.
One of them had an existing company but wanted to make deals in a new, non-establised company, as if it was already established. Such deals are invalid – or at best entered into with the founder. Another wanted to calculate the value proposition of the product in relation to whether the target group was private or business-to-business. And yet another needed to reorganize his entire presentation because he was talking about his existing business but the selling point was something entirely different.
“We play the Devil’s advocate in relation to their ideas and the foundation of the company; if they have thought out the strategy, and if they have a clear picture of their future customers. Some of these are companies, that down the road on a worldwide scale could be able to change the world,” says Niels Henrik B. Mikkelsen.