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Nordic strongholds in Silicon Valley, New York City, Masdar City – others?

Bardur Örn Gunnarsson, Frederik Waitz and Roger Bjørgan from Nordic Innovation promoting #NordicMade in front of the Nasdaq tower in New York. Photo: Jenny Jungell
  • Published 30/09/2015
Internationalisation of startups gives great added value for the Nordic countries, says managing director of Nordic Innovation.


The entrepreneurs and startups of the Nordic countries need access to larger markets and capital to grow. Helping startups has not traditionally been the focus of the national export agencies of the Nordic countries, with some exceptions.


Nordic Innovation (NI) is now attracting great interest to the international initiatives where the aim is to help Nordic startups better through Nordic cooperation. Some examples:


  • In Silicon Valley, the project Nordic Innovation House. The project is co-funded by NI and run by the national agencies, and has provided an example of a new type of Nordic cooperation. The Nordic story is clearly in demand from US investors and companies.
  • United Arab Emirates, the project Nordic Innovation Incubator in Masdar City. While just getting started, there is a clear business interest from Nordic companies to get help and build knowledge in navigating this complex, but profitable, market environment and to address the whole region.


These examples of Nordic cooperation are novel in the sense that they are operational, very visible and has a great added value that is easy to grasp by the most important stakeholders, including Nordic businesses.


– Nordic Innovation now gets contacted about the possibility of launching some kind of Nordic cooperation, to help startups and SMEs, in more locations. With limited resources, it is clear that not all ideas can materialise and there will not be a “Nordic innovation house” in every hotspot. But it is also clear that the Nordic cooperation is in demand in these places and that internationalisation of startups gives great added value for the Nordic countries, says managing director of Nordic Innovation, Roger Bjørgan.


A case in point are the activities in New York, where the closing of the Nasdaq Stock Market was one of them:




Inspired by the interest this has spurred and the progress in Silicon Valley, different national institutions with feet on the ground in New York City are working to form a closer working relationship. The lighthouse projects run by Nordic Innovation could also provide some content to these activities, whatever form this cooperation takes – like physical presence or not.


– Our international activities provides new and better opportunities for communicating the added value of the Nordic cooperation, by building on the local strongholds that attracts the companies to these places in the first place, says the director of communication at Nordic Innovation, Bárdur Örn Gunnarsson.