Svein holder præsentation

Segmentation is the key for European Scaleups

The European Scaleup Workshop was organized in collaboration with Vlerick Business School and Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The participants discussed key developments, needs and opportunities for scaleup data and research as well as lessons learnt from selected scaleup programs and how to design effective scaleup policy measures.

“Despite the importance of scaleups, there still remain significant knowledge gaps and it is therefore important to share knowledge and develop good policies for scaleups. This has been one of the key priorities for Nordic Innovation and one of the main reasons for organizing this workshop.”

Svein Berg, Managing Director, Nordic Innovation
Nina Egeli, Anna-Maija Sunnanmark, Prof. dr. Dimo Ringov, Prof. dr. Justin Jansen, Prof. dr. Rudy Aernoudt, Prof. dr. Veroniek Collewaert, Leonardo Fuligni,

Need for more integrated research agenda

In the first session, leading academics discussed what we need to know in the field of scaleups and high-growth firms. Prof. dr. Justin Jansen from Erasmus University, Rotterdam highlighted the importance of working towards an integrated research agenda, recognizing high growth as a multifaceted process in terms of pace, rhythm, and persistence.

“Scaling up is not a challenge of individual country or region. Effective policy and programs start with knowledge and insights about the dynamics and difference within and between countries and regions to better understand how to support HGFs at a European level."

Prof. dr. Justin Jansen, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

Prof. dr. Veroniek Collewaert, Director of Vlerick Business School’s Scaleup Centre, concluded that more attention is needed towards the diverse needs scaleups may have, moving beyond funding to also include access to talent, markets and overall business models that support scaleability.

Scaleups matter - segmentation is the key

The second session presented the most recent scaleup insights and discussed needs regarding scaleup data and statistics. Today, several scaleup definitions are used in parallel, and the discussion emphasized the need for more elaborated definitions and segmentation to better understand scaleups, their characteristics and needed policy measures. Existing data is often found to be too general for policy purposes and thus, microdata is seen as indispensable to fill the existing data gaps.

The UK Scaleup Institute has gathered scaleup data for the past 9 years. Irene Graham, Co-founder and CEO, the UK Scaleup Institute, emphasized the importance of segmentation as not all businesses are treated the same; scaleups have very special demands and needs so segmentation remains important. 

“We have identified five key challenges: talent, market access, leadership capacity, growth capital and infrastructure. These challenges are very core for all scaleups."

Irene Graham, Co-founder and CEO, The UK Scaleup Institute
Irene Graham, CEO and Co-founder, The UK Scaleup Institute

The discussion concluded that, despite of a common interest in supporting scaleups, there is still too much focus on startups in Europe. To tackle the challenges, we should not reinvent the wheel but use the data and knowledge we already have. The need to increase European collaboration and creation of global initiatives were regarded important.

Learnings from Scaleup programs

In the third session, current European scaleup programs were presented.  The session served as a hands-on inspiration on how to support and work with scaleups. The discussion covered topics like eligibility criteria, selection process, program structure, measurement of results and lessons learnt including the main challenges and best practices. There was a common understanding that tailor-made programs, entailing mentoring and peer-to-peer networking are key elements of a successful scaleup program.      

Read more about the Scaleup programs
Scaleup Masterclass
Up! Rotterdam
Nordic Scalers

“Even though the programs are targeted at slightly different scaleup segments depending on the maturity of the scaleup ecosystems in question, I was struck by the commonalities between the programs. Increasing emphasis on peer-to-peer learning and networking as well as providing visibility and recognition for scaleups resonate well with our experience in the Nordics.”

Anna-Maija Sunnanmark, Head of Nordic Scalers program, Nordic Innovation  

A European Scaleup Ecosystem

The final session was looking into the current policies within the European Union. Philippe Huberdeau, Secretary General for Scale-Up Europe, outlined four areas of action with the purpose to build a European scaleup ecosystem: finance, talent, deep-tech and interaction between corporates and scaleups.  

Marta Testi, ELITE, Prof. dr. Veroniek Collewaert, Vlerick Business School, Lars Crama, Up!Rotterdam, David Golding, Innovative UK

Working together is success

There was a general agreement, that the workshop is an important tool in the development of future scaleup initiatives and policies and that increased European collaboration is the key to success.

Managing Director from Nordic Innovation, Svein Berg closed the workshop with a quote from Henry Ford: “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

You can read more about the European Scaleup Workshop in the “Scaleup Workshop Proceedings (PDF)


Portrait Anna-Maija Sunnanmark

Anna-Maija Sunnanmark

Senior Innovation Adviser
Anna-Maija is a finance and business development professional with 20 years’ of experience in identifying innovations and scalable business models in various industries in international context with execution capability, a can-do-attitude, holistic perspective and passion to build on Nordic strongholds.

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Nina Egeli - Senior Innovation Adviser

Nina Egeli

Senior Innovation Adviser
Internationalization, innovation and business development support, in combination with a strong background in strategy and policy development are main pillars in Nina’s professional life. Through project design and management, she aims to fit market needs with relevant services and opportunities that allows new business partnerships and business projects to prosper.

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Olivia Rekman - Innovation Adviser

Olivia Rekman

Innovation Adviser
Prior to joining Nordic Innovation in 2022, Olivia has worked for several years as an innovation consultant. In her role, she helped international consortiums of SMEs, start-ups and large companies as well as universities, to secure soft funding for green & deep-tech innovation projects. Olivia holds an MSc in International Business & Politics, and founded a CSR consultancy in 2010. Besides her experience in navigating innovation ecosystems and international business development & public policy analysis, Olivia has lived and worked in all Scandinavian countries.

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