Ella – January 8, 2017
Like many Americans, furniture design (think IKEA) and architecture come to mind when I think of industry in Denmark. While it isn’t entirely a misconception, I realize it’s like saying pizza is the dish of Chicago, when everyone knows we have some world-renowned cuisine. So, I was intrigued to read an recently claiming that Copenhagen is angling to become the startup company capital of the world.
In America, we typically think of the Silicon Valley in California as the apex of technological innovation, and while that is still the case, apparently startups are going global. The U.S. is home to the top six metros with the highest levels of venture capital investment worldwide.
However, Copenhagen is working on staking a claim on that map for becoming a city of startups. Copenhagen For the Win, or Øresund Region one of the best places in the world to grow a business as a tech startup. According to the organization, there are almost 400 tech startups in Copenhagen to date. This is quite a bit of growth in 10 years since 2008, when the movement was believed to have begun.is a grass-roots, non-profit with an ambition to make Denmark and the
I found that Copenhagen already has a history of successful tech companies, including the Internet software for video conversations (Skype), business solution tools (Zendesk), and the security analytics company LogPoint.
Interestingly, Lindsay (a young woman I met at The Danish Home who is the granddaughter of a resident there) works with the Water Technology Alliance in Chicago, which is a cooperation between a number of top Danish water technology manufacturers, Aarhus Vand and the Danish Trade Council. Lindsay is very smart, which doesn’t surprise me, as her “Farfar” knows more about seemingly everything than anyone I’ve ever met!
Lindsay said that one reason for the growth of startups in Copenhagen may be that the Danish government has begun to strongly back and push digital innovation. My online research corroborates her assessment. Creating a hub for like-minded business professionals has been a move that has proven successful in other cities too, drawing them to a center of creativity and innovative thinking. Denmark has also been continually chosen as one of the most livable countries in the world, and several Nordic cities rank top in the world economically, notably Stockholm and Helsinki.
I continue to be intrigued by the work-life balance in Denmark. Apparently, there is quite a bit of flexibility in work hours and working from home as well a minimum five weeks of paid holidays. All the more reason I’d like to live in the birth country of my great-great-grandmother, Anna Mikkelsen, one of the founders of The Danish Home!
It sounds like Copenhagen is on the rise in 2018 and will continue to be a draw for those who have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy the idea of collaborative work spaces and meet-ups. It will be interesting to see what new tech companies will grow out of Copenhagen and become a household name!