We established an incubation environment for cleantech startups in order to help entrepreneurs develop products and services with a “green” touch. We wanted to provide the best possible conditions for this target group as they are operating within a challenging industry.

Author: Steen Donner, CEO, Scion DTU

We launched our cleantech incubator (Det Grønne Iværksætterhus) in 2013. It was with the clear ambition of being the leading development environment for cleanttech entrepreneurs in Denmark. Together with a dedicated partner group we were ready help as many entrepreneurs as possible to make it to the market at succeed with their products.

From the very beginning the incubator has been buzzing with energy, enthusiasm, disappointments and insights. The results of the ambitious effort can now be seen. On a general level, we now know much more about which services are needed and make a difference for such entrepreneurs. On a specific level, we have all the results from the startups and small companies that benefitted from the incubation services.

A tailored process
With qualified input from numerous stakeholders, the partner group organizing the incubator, successfully designed and implemented the tailored framework that were to assist the entrepreneurs in working systematically with all the challenges associated with building a solid business – both in relation to product development and business development.

Hard work and diverse challenges
Entrepreneurship can feel like a slow and lonely journey which demands a lot of hard work and patience. Daily challenges are many ranging from product designs, prototypes, business plans to raising capital and testing. We have compensated for this lonesome yet diverse reality by offering the entrepreneurs a work environment with a network of peers and access to a large group of competent sparring partners. Because we have followed each entrepreneur closely we have been able to accelerate the learning and development needed in each case.

A supportive ecosystem
The startup ecosystem throughout the country has supported the cleantech incubator and contributed to the value creation for the entrepreneurs. We have been met with collaborative mindsets and a general willingness to give entrepreneurs a helpful push in a sustainable direction – both in terms of business and environment.

Network and researchers as a resource
The entrepreneurs, who were enrolled on the incubator all highlight the professional network and access to technical researchers as being the most valuable part of the experience. Being able to discuss with peers on a daily basis and being offered access to some of the brightest minds within a specific technical field is invaluable. For many relations have been build that would not otherwise have been possible.

Scion DTU has reached an important goal by running one of Denmark’s most attractive incubation environments for cleantech entrepreneurs with good results. The cleantech incubator has developed services closely aligned with the needs of entrepreneurs and have defined what seems to be a good cocktail of services to support this entrepreneurial segment. New valuable relations have been build and they will continue for much longer than the lifespan of the incubator.

The cleantech incubator closes down by the end of 2016. It seems that the initiative has found a niche with a range of services, which entrepreneurs are in need of. A combination of sparring, work space, prototype facilities and workshops and proximity to peers helps solve most of the challenges that most entrepreneurs are faced with.