what I learned from visiting the startup ecosystem in Denmark

I took part in a delegation to Denmark last September, notably to attend the TechBBQ event. This delegation, organized by LOJIQ (thank you!), included a dozen people representing entrepreneurial support organizations and four startup founders.

During this experience, I forged relationships, but I also discovered that my initial perception of the country was a little different from reality, especially in terms of the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

discovering a complex and inspiring country

Denmark turned out to be a more complex and nuanced place than we had imagined. The "we" were Guillaume Campeau and Théo Corboliou from La base entrepreneuriale HEC Montréal, Olivier Rivas, then in charge at Montréal International, Anabelle Dagenais from the Jeune chambre de commercer de Montréal (JCCM), Claire Bardin, also a member of the JCCM and founder of Boréalie, as well as three entrepreneurs.Charles Couture, founder of Off The Grid, Cindy Vaucher, co-founder of Retournzy, and Dahlia Jiwan, co-founder ofÉlance.

one of Denmark's defining characteristics is its education system. following numerous discussions on site, we were impressed by the way this system encourages the learning of values relevant to an entrepreneurial adventure from an early age, with particular emphasis on self-confidence and the culture of failure. young Danes are encouraged to take risks, and even encouraged to pursue the path they feel is right for themselves. this encouragement enables them to better learn from their mistakes, which in turn fosters the development of essential skills.

Denmark also stands out for its supportive rather than imposing approach. Unlike some cultures, the country does not seek to dictate career choices to children, but to accompany them in their decisions. this philosophy creates an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation.

despite its status as one of the happiest countries in the world, we found that this notion of happiness doesn't necessarily translate into a happier experience for entrepreneurs. the structures and challenges they face, such as working time management and mental health, are often similar to those in other regions.

a visit packed with encounters in the startup ecosystem

Denmark's entrepreneurial ecosystem has specific strengths in design and sustainable development. Instead of trying to create startups in every field, Denmark relies on these strengths to stand out from the crowd.

one notable trend we've noticed is that the country is putting a lot of emphasis on highlighting key data about its economy. they've managed to clearly see the number of startups in their ecosystem, which they've divided into clear verticals, all orchestrated by Digital Hub DenmarkThis digitization of data opens up new opportunities for startups and innovative companies.

It can be difficult to achieve true diversity within the Danish ecosystem, and foreign companies can also encounter obstacles when seeking to integrate.

During our stay, we met with various players in the ecosystem, including the Franco-Danish Chamber of Commerce and the Danish Startup Groupwhich is an organization of volunteers building a strong entrepreneurial community.

We were also on hand to attend the TechBBQNot only did I finally find a real BBQ on site, but I also came away with some very interesting conferences and numerous networking activities. In particular, I attended a panel discussion on networking between universities to facilitate the valorization of intellectual property.

Another highlight was the pitch competition, where we witnessed a pitch that had rhythm from start to finish, and the victory of a young Ukrainian entrepreneur who presented his solution for locating landmines. It reminded us that war, in Europe, is not far away!

the value of being in a group to discover

What was particularly rewarding as a member of this delegation was the cohort effect. Sharing the same hotel, meals and lunches strengthened our understanding of the motivations of each organization present. This enabled us to develop strong links with local players, facilitating our conversations with organizations and startups, particularly those accompanying us. the three founders of the delegation had distinct objectives ranging from prospecting for customers to comparing diversity and equity initiatives, via the angle of sustainable development.

In short, our experience in Denmark enabled us to question our preconceived ideas, explore the particularities of the Danish entrepreneurial ecosystem and create valuable links with local players. This experience enriched my understanding of various aspects necessary for the development of a startup ecosystem and opened up new perspectives for our own initiatives in Quebec.

- Nicolas Delisle-Jubinville, Designer @ MAIN