- The Nordic brand is an important tool the further you go away from Europe, and the Nordic Innovation Houses truly demonstrates and validates the value of Nordic cooperation, says Anna-Maija Sunnanmark. She is head of program and Senior Innovation Adviser at Nordic Innovation.
Sparks Nordic Growth
The Nordic Innovation Houses bring together startups and scaleups and connects them to relevant competencies, experts, and investors in the global hotspot in question.
- Thus, Nordic Innovation Houses can help accelerating, marketing, and scaling many of the new and innovative Nordic sustainable solutions, says Sunnanmark.
Offers knowledge and networks
It can be challenging to establish a company in a totally different market in a totally different part of the world. What rules apply when a Nordic company wants to start up in, for example, in Silicon Valley? And how to meet the right people when you do not have a network of contacts there before?
- An important resource the houses possess is knowledge of the local settings, framework conditions, and regulations that apply in the region in question. And perhaps more importantly: Those who work at the houses have a good local network of contacts. Nordic companies get help finding the right people and expertise, says Sunnanmark.
The target groups of all the five houses are startups, scaleups, corporates’ innovation arms, investors as well as Nordic incubators and academia.
Nordic tech in Silicon Valley
The Nordic house in Silicon Valley was the first to be established. It started in 2014, after Norway had had a Norwegian house there since 2011. Realizing the value of transforming the house into a Nordic one it evolved into the Nordic House it is today. At the moment the house in Silicon Valley has around 140 members, including companies such as Controlant, Einride and Kahoot.
- There is great interest from the business community to take advantage of the services the houses can offer, such as networking events, promotional activities and access to meeting rooms and networking facilities, says Sunnanmark.
The prerequisite for companies to be members here is that they are a Nordic company, and that they work in the tech sector. The latter is of course natural given the location in the Silicon Valley.
All the Nordic Innovation Houses have an industrial focus that naturally belongs to the region where the houses are located.
- The house in Singapore has a sustainable ocean economy and smart connectivity focus among others. New York has programs on design, cleantech as well as PropTech. In Tokyo: HealthTech and e-commerce.
The start-up of the houses is covered with funding from, among others, Nordic Innovation and national trade promotion organizations. But in the long run the houses will be financially self-sustainable.
Physical and virtual houses
- Tokyo is our newest Nordic Innovation House founded in 2020. This is a virtual house that provides access to local community and networks, give advice to companies, arranges events and more recently, Nordic Talks around different themes, says Sunnanmark.
Today, only the house in Silicon Valley is a physical house. The reason why most houses are virtual is that the most important features of the houses do not depend on the physical house.
Strong Nordic cooperation
The houses do not work in a vacuum, they also strengthen the cooperation between Nordic exports and trade promotion organizations.
- Behind the establishment of the five houses is a real commitment from all the Nordic countries. The Nordic Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) have all been involved in the establishments and contributed funding. This close Nordic co-operation is very valuable, says Sunnanmark.
Nordic embassies and consulates are also partners for the houses.
- The Nordic Innovation House is a unique collaboration between the Nordic countries with a mission to support Nordic entrepreneurship, Nordic values, and Nordic way of doing business. I think the need for these kinds of houses is growing, and it is possible that we even will see a couple of new houses established in strategically selected hot spots in the world, says Sunnanmark.
Focus areas for the Nordic Innovation Houses
- Singapore: Sustainable Ocean Economy, Green Energy & Mobility, Circular Business Models, Smart Connectivity, Life Science & Health Tech
- New York: Nordic Design & Innovation, Clean Energy, Cleantech, PropTech
- Silicon Valley: Nordic IndTech, Tech Research Frontiers, Future Mobility, Corporate Innovation, Sustainable Energy
- Hong Kong: Health & MedTech, Internet of things, Creative industries
- Tokyo: Digital Health, E-Commerce.