16 August 2023
Food & Bio Cluster Denmark has been part of the world's largest business support network, Enterprise Europe Network, since its very beginning back in 2008. What has this meant for Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, and how does it benefit the cluster's members and other Danish companies?
The Enterprise Europe Network is present in more than 50 countries and helps small and mediumsized businesses innovate and grow on an international scale (Photo: EISMEA / European Commission)
In 2020, four Danish food and bioresource organisations merged to form Food & Bio Cluster Denmark - Denmark's cluster organisation for companies working with food and bioresources.
With a vision to make the Danish food and bioresource cluster world-leading in innovation that contributes to a globally competitive and sustainable development of the entire value chain, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark not only focuses on helping Danish companies with innovation and development, but also helps them take the next step and fulfil their international ambitions.
Into the merger, the former Agro Business Park brought its long-standing membership of the Enterprise Europe Network - a global network established by the European Commission in 2008 to help small and medium-sized enterprises with innovation and international growth.
Through the Enterprise Europe Network, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark can draw on a range of tools that make it much more effective for the cluster to help with the advancement of innovation and internationalisation.
- The Enterprise Europe Network is a strategically important instrument for innovation in the cluster. Through this, we not only have access to a huge network of relevant contacts in other countries, but also knowledge, programmes and tools that can benefit Danish companies in their process of raising the level of innovation and becoming internationally competitive, says Lars Visbech Sørensen, CEO, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, and continues:
- Over the years, the Danish consortium has also played a leading role in the overall development of Enterprise Europe Network and has been among the countries that have produced the best results and thereby created great value for the cluster's companies and knowledge institutions.
Although the name suggests that the network is only active in Europe, it has grown so large that it has long since expanded beyond Europe's borders and now serves businesses globally. Over 50 countries and more than 450 organisations with expertise in business promotion, such as chambers of commerce, regional development organisations and cluster organisations, are part of the network.
In Denmark, the Danish consortium, Enterprise Europe Network Denmark, consists of six business promotion organisations across the country, with Food & Bio Cluster Denmark being among the few current partners that has been involved since the start in 2008.
Despite being global, the strength of the network is the close collaboration between member countries and organisations.
- The biggest asset in the network is the personal relationship - knowing who is the right network colleague to reach out to. This makes it easy for us, for example, to establish contact with potential new business partners abroad or to make Danish companies or knowledge institutions attractive as partners in new EU projects, says Anders Skeem, International Manager and one of the seven employees at Food & Bio Cluster Denmark involved in the work with Enterprise Europe Network:
- We strive to get to know each other across the entire network, where we work in different professional sector groups and thematic groups - and meet in geographically defined subgroups where it makes sense. This allows us to constantly exchange experiences on professional topics, acquire more knowledge, spot opportunities for our companies and, not least, match our customer profiles.
The Danish consortium actively participates in various internal network groups to continuously strengthen the relationship with network colleagues in other countries - for the benefit of the companies (Photo: Enterprise Europe Network Finland)
From initially being a network solely focused on providing partnership and guidance services, the network has continuously undergone a transformation and adaptation of both its offerings and approach to focus on providing customised support that matches individual business needs and creates tangible and measurable value for companies.
For example, back in 2014, the network introduced new services for innovation support and has since added targeted scale-up services and, by 2021, customised programmes where companies can receive support in the transition to more sustainable and digital business models through the network's various services.
- In addition to digitalisation and green transition, the global crises of recent years have shown us that companies need external help to get through crisis situations. That is why we also offer to analyse the company's resilience together with the individual company, where we can suggest various measures to reduce any vulnerabilities, explains Anders Skeem and elaborates:
- This can be anything from a diversification of your supply chains to innovation and change management strategies, and from renewable energy solutions to reduce your dependency on imported fossil fuels to finding suitable business partners.
- Another advantage of the network is that we as partner organisations have local roots and know the local business environment. When we combine this with the opportunities we have through the Enterprise Europe Network, we can give our companies a very valuable add-on with an international dimension, says Anders Skeem.
Services through Enterprise Europe Network are at no cost to the organisation - all that is required is the company's dedication to the collaboration.
Through matchmaking events, companies can easily and efficiently engage in dialogue with potential new partners (Photo: Nordic Innovation Fair)
Here are examples of how three of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark's members and two other Danish companies have benefited from the help of Enterprise Europe Network Denmark.
(The examples contain links to case stories in Danish only - you can activate Google Translate for English versions.)
Lyras A/S is a member of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark and has received help to attract investors.
"If I had to pass on one piece of advice to other entrepreneurs, it would be: use the counselling, guidance and professional sparring that is available - it makes a difference."
- Rasmus Mortensen, CEO
tracezilla is a member of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark and has received help to enter new markets.
"I would really recommend people who are considering expanding to other countries to contact Enterprise Europe Network. It has been very helpful for our company."
- Katrine Søndergaard, CEO and co-founder of tracezilla
The University of Copenhagen is a member of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark and has received help in finding foreign SMEs for its own EU project consortium.
"I am very pleased with the knowledge and help from Enterprise Europe Network. I am sure that we can develop the co-operation, among other things, as Protein2Food rolls out."
- Sven-Erik Jacobsen, former Associate Professor at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences under SCIENCE at the University of Copenhagen
Through the Network, Magasin du Nord has found a new Swedish supplier of innovative food products for their product range.
"We like to have a wide network – it is always nice to have new contacts, so we are very happy that Enterprise Europe Network reached out to us four years ago with these innovative Swedish products.”
- Jacob Nielsen, Head of Food, Magasin du Nord
Nortech Solutions has received help to find a new business partner abroad.
"In addition to the fact that we expect to hire a few extra employees as a result of the new business case, we expect an explosive revenue growth of 75% over the next few years. This is partly due to the fact that we are in very promising dialogue with several large food companies. We are very pleased that we were served this business opportunity by Enterprise Europe Network."
- Jeppe Mølvadgaard, CEO, Nortech Solutions
The partner organisations in Denmark are:
Despite the fact that Denmark is a small country and therefore only has one national network consortium, the Danish consortium has always played a major role in developing and shaping the network.
Thus, Enterprise Europe Network Denmark has always been represented and actively participated in the steering group behind the network and in several internal think tanks and has played a significant role in focusing on the clusters in the work of the Network. At the same time, it has always been Enterprise Europe Network Denmark's ambition to actively participate in the network's internal sector and thematic groups.
For more than 10 years, the Danish consortium has been one of the best performing consortia in the entire network, measured by the value the consortium has created for Danish companies. For the same reason, Enterprise Europe Network Denmark has organised many internal workshops and staff exchanges, where network colleagues from other countries have come to Denmark to learn the "Danish way" of working with companies. At the same time, representatives from the Danish consortium have been used diligently as mentors for non-EU countries and as trainers or speakers at networking events and workshops.
Enterprise Europe Network Denmark is co-financed by the European Commission, the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science and the Danish Business Promotion Agency.
At Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, we are a team of seven employees working with Enterprise Europe Network. Give us a ring or send us an email and we will find a solution for your company:
Susanne Baden Jørgensen
M +45 25210812
M +45 40309637
Helle Vedel Friis
M +45 27736040
Rubin Dollerup Nielsen
T +45 41100112
T +45 61421596
Mette Toft Christensen
T +45 2128 8603
15 years as a member of the world's largest business support network