The Skåne Innovation Support System's Maze

    The 2013 review by Sydsvenskan of the Skåne innovation support system lead to disappointing conclusions. Two articles (Innovationsgalaxen har fler svarta hål än stjärnor and Rörigt system möter skånska innovatörer ) as well as a longer in print only article, have been published in December. Both come to the following results: There is too little cooperation, too many organizations, and too little support in the long term for startup businesses.

    Last year SEK 730 Million of taxes were spent on support organizations that have the aim to help start-ups to get funds or the necessary resources. But instead of the promised cooperation; there is still a large number of startup support organizations. Here is a small list with a selected few of them, both government run, regional projects as well as private initiatives:

    • LUIS (Lund University Innovation System): was already created in 1994, helps to find funding, but also provides coaching and encourages startups business development.
    • LUSIC (Lund University Social Innovation Center): in charge of startups with a focus in social entrepreneurship.
    • LU Open: was founded in 2013 and supports student innovations with contacts in society, businesses and universities.
    • Innovationsbron + Almi: has now joined forces and provides start-ups with assistance in all phases, early concepts to growing companies.
    • SME-Tillväxtfasgruppen: a Skåne agency that combines innovation support organizations to assist startups.
    • Vinnova+Tillväxtverket: government funding agencies for startups, mostly interested in startups in their early stages.
    • Connect Skåne: network that help startups with private investors.
    • Media Evolution: a regional network for collaboration and promoting media companies

    A problem that is highlighted is that there are so many organizations that are specialised on certain parts, that is is hard for new, or even established, entrepreneurs to find the right one.

    Also mentioned are important co-working places and incubators, some of them being:

    • Mindpark: innovation center in Helsingborg, offers co-working spaces and network opportunities. The incubator Think which was started in 2012 is also located here.
    • Media Evolution City: situated in Malmö, similar to Mindpark it offers co-working spaces. It is run by Media Evolution organisation, and also hosts the famous Foo Café.
    • Djäkne Kaffebar: is a private innovation support initiative, the entrepreneurs’ coffee bar which offers lectures and networking for startups.

    Here there are also a lot more, some of them we have listed on our co-working page as well.

    This is only a list of a few agencies and organizations that are around on the Swedish side of the Øresundregion. However, there is very limited cooperation between the different agencies and support organizations, or at least too few. Moreover, the public innovation support system expects entrepreneurs to do a lot of paperwork, distracting them from the actual start-up business. The goal for 2014 for politicians should be: to create a a better infrastructure, that combine the work of incubators, research parks, and funding/network organizations in order to provide ambitious start-ups with the support they need.

    “Despite all the promises of increased coordination after the last audit in 2010, it is amazing the results of the 2013 audit that the number of players increased by 50 percent. The combined resources that go into the system have in round figures doubled.” says Thomas Frostberg in an column

    Sydsvenskans journalists put a lot of effort in researching the articles and they have impressed us with what they found. The innovation system can and has to clearly be improved, and hopes are up that collaboration will be closer in the future.

    This article is in collaboration with Øresund Startups, originally by Laura Wohlfart. Øresund Startups is a news site focusing on startups in Copenhagen and the other cities around the Øresund strait; Malmö, Helsingborg and Lund. It was initiated by Karsten Deppert and covers news about startups and events from the startup scene. You can follow them at @Oresundstartups.