Nordic Scaleup Institute

Invitation to Tender: Nordic Scalers 2.0: Pre-Study On Nordic Scaleup Institute

Tender Instrument Deadline 23.08.2022
Deadline23 August 2022 at 15:00 CET
BudgetUp to NOK 500.000 (excl. VAT)

About Nordic Innovation

Nordic Innovation is an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers working to promote cross-border trade and innovation, located in Oslo. The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official inter-governmental body for cooperation in the Nordic region.

Nordic Innovation is implementing the Nordic Prime Ministers’ 2030 vision for the Nordic cooperation. Its mandate is to contribute to making the Nordics a leading region for sustainable growth and to increase entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness in the Nordic region. Nordic Innovation supports projects and programs to stimulate innovation and works to improve the framework conditions for Nordic markets and exports.


In the last years, there has been a focus on how to help and nurture startups in the Nordics. This has made the Nordic region one of the best in the world when it comes to starting and developing new companies. Even though the Nordic countries are above OECD average as regards to starting new companies, many of the growth opportunities are not realised.

Scaleups are rapidly expanding companies which account for an above-average proportion of the economic growth. Export orientation and innovation capabilities are significant distinguishing characteristics of scaleups, and scaleups are more productive than their peers.

Despite many individual success stories, the scaleup density is still low in the Nordic region. Scaleups constituted 0.4% of all enterprises in the Nordics in 2017 (in the non-financial business economy). With more support, scaleups can become significant agents of change and solve societal challenges and function as instruments for recovering and boosting our economies. 

It is important to bear in mind that scaleups are not startups. According to UK Scale-up Institute scaleups are companies growing rapidly from 10 to 5000 employees and beyond, having specific requirements for talent and skills, management and leadership, access to markets, customers and finance.

Through this Invitation to Tender, Nordic Innovation is looking for a service provider to carry out a pre-study to explore the potential of establishing ‘Nordic Scaleup Institute’ in the Nordics, inspired and following an example of the UK Scaleup Institute.


Nordic Scalers 2.0 (2021 - 2023)

This tender is part of Nordic Scalers program, which was first launched in 2017. The current phase, Nordic Scalers 2.0 (2021 – 2023) is implemented in cooperation with Nordic Innovation and national innovation agencies, based on the learnings from Nordic Scalers pilot (2017 – 2019) and recommendations from an external evaluation of the pilot.

Nordic Scalers program use the following definition of scaleups:  

  • annual revenue at minimum of 2M€  
  • personnel of at least 10 people
  • annual growth figures of at least 20% in the past 3 years

The vision is to make the Nordics the leading region in the world not only for starting up, but also for scaling up businesses. The goals of the Nordic Scalers 2.0 program are to:

  1. provide support at Nordic level to help scaleups accelerate and manage their next stages of growth through access to competences, connections, customers, and capital
  2. enhance Nordic scaleup community building
  3. brand the Nordics globally as a leading scaleup hub  
  4. raise awareness and increase the knowledge base around scaleups  
  5. increase collaboration and shared learning among key stakeholders, both public and private

Nordic Innovation, with the support of Nordic Scalers Steering group, has taken the main responsibility for goals 2 – 5 while the first goal is chiefly pursued by three scaleup programs running independently under a common Nordic Scalers umbrella. The purpose of the pre-study in hand is to guarantee a continued support for the goals 2 – 5. Combined, the Nordic region can produce enough critical mass with potential for exponential growth, and through cooperation the challenges can be better addressed. Nordic Innovation’s longer-term objective is to pave the way for community driven activities after the two-year program period has ended.     

Nordic Scalers 2.0 focus on ecosystem building and ecosystem learning with enhanced networking and collaboration as key elements consisting of the following activities:

  1. Nordic Scalers programs
  2. Nordic Scalers Steering group
  3. Scaleup community building in the Nordic region (e.g., alumni network, visibility for Nordic scaleups, branding the Nordics, data, studies, events)

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The Purpose

The main purpose of this Invitation to Tender is to carry out a pre-study if there is a potentiality to establish ‘Nordic Scaleup Institute’ in the Nordics, inspired by an example of the UK Scaleup Institute or other scaleup research entities like for instance Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in connection of Erasmus University Rotterdam.  

The goal is to conduct a pre-study covering the following questions:

  • Potential scope and main focus of ‘Nordic Scaleup Institute’
  • Relationship with national initiatives / organizations and databases in the Nordics
  • Organizational and ownership structure
  • Financing – short term/long term
  • Recommendation for a go / no-go to establish ‘Nordic Scaleup Institute’, including reasoning and motivation behind the recommendation

The preliminary purpose of the ‘Nordic Scaleup Institute’ could be to produce relevant scaleup research and data as well as analysis, insights, and reviews on the Nordic scaleup ecosystem which support the Nordic Scalers program vision to make the Nordics the leading region in the world not only for starting up but also for scaling up businesses. The Institute could also contribute with advisory services and visibility (data and knowledge). The Institute could collaborate with relevant policy makers, business partners and research institutions in order to make a real and identifiable impact on the Nordic scaleup ecosystem. Efficient policy making require data, and efficient ecosystem development and storytelling requires benchmarking and sharing of best practices.

It is important to bear in mind that scaleups are not startups which should also be reflected in the potential scope and main focus of the ‘Nordic Scaleup Institute’ and the pre-study in hand.


It will be up to the consultant to suggest how to conduct the study. However, Nordic Innovation recommends a mix of methods and data sources including, for instance:

  • Desk research and literature study
  • Benchmarking globally scaleup institutes with a similar function
  • Interviews
  • Workshop(s) with relevant actors in the Nordic entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem 


The Suppler shall work closely and effectively with Nordic Innovation and relevant stakeholders in the Nordics and is expected to share progress and draft reports with the Buyer during the process.

The deliverables shall include at least (but not restricted to) the following in a ‘ready-to-use’ format:

  • Inception report, with a detailed methodological proposal for the study, including the proposed timetable
  • A final report in English, including conclusions and an executive summary where the most relevant findings are summarised. The exact format shall be decided in agreement with the Byer. The report shall follow the requirements of the Nordic Design Manual and be in printable format
  • A presentation of the final report (in both pdf and ppt)
  • At least two oral presentations of the final report 

The tender documents

Tenders shall be structured in the following way:

  • A tender document up to 10 pages (excl. HES Self Declaration as well as potential CVs and references). The tender document should be in English and structured to address the evaluation criteria. The Tender Document should be in pdf-format and signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of the Supplier
  • A signed HES Self Declaration shall be included in the offer (see Appendix B which may be used for this purpose)
  • The selected supplier shall deliver/provide Nordic Innovation with a tax certificate from the country of registration

Team profile

Nordic Innovation is looking for a consultant(s) with previous experience in conducting analysis in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation policy. The Supplier can be a single entity, or a consortium represented by a lead partner.

Selection of supplier

Nordic Innovation will select the supplier Nordic Innovation deems best suited for the assignment and offers the most economically advantageous tender based on the evaluation criteria listed below.

Evaluation criteria

The awarding criteria are given in the following order of weight:

Award criteria DocumentationWeight
Expected quality of the delivery
The Supplier’s understanding of the task and subject matter (entrepreneurship and innovation policy), including proposed approach, hereunder:
-          The project plan (max. 10 pages).
-          Suggested methodology.
-          Ease of communication/ understandability.
-          How it is ensured that the whole Nordic region will be covered.
Please also describe the way the work will be organized (distribution of roles).
To be included in the Tender:
-          A plan how the Supplier intends to solve the assignment, including approach/model of the analysis and method of gathering data and information.
-          Proposed time and activity schedule.
The competence of the designated person/team (in entrepreneurship, innovation policy) and experience of conducting similar type of assignments
The Supplier’s experience, the relevance of that experience and track record with similar assignments.  
To be included in the tender:
-          A short description of relevant references and track record of similar assignments (max 2 pages).
-          Description of responsibilities and complementing competences of each team member (a short description of CVs of max. 0,5 page per person may be attached).
-          Relevant experience in a Nordic and/or international context.

Total cost
Value for money

To be included in the tender:
Financial proposal itemizing estimated costs for services rendered (daily consultancy fees), travel costs and any other costs related to supplies or services required for the assignment.

Contract money

Total price must be lower than 500 000 (excl. VAT). That includes all working hours, travel, meetings, potential workshop(s) and all related expenses as well as potential external services/subcontracting.

Important dates

The application deadline is at 15.00 CET, 23 August 2022.

The tender deadline is absolute. Tender received after the Tender deadline will be rejected. The Supplier carries the risk of errors or delays in the submission/sending of the Tender.

The tender must be submitted electronically to Nordic Innovation at: and labelled “Tender – Pre-study on Nordic Scaleup Institute”.

A list of important dates is as follows:

Publishing of Tender16 May 2022
Deadline for asking questions15 June 2022 at 15:00 CET
Online publication of answers22 June 2022
Deadline for delivering application23 August 2022 at 15:00 CET
Selection of supplier16 September 2022
Signing of contract30 September 2022
Deadline for validity of Tender90 days from submission deadline
Deadline for submission/completion of assignment1 March 2023

Please note that the dates can be subject to change.

The top-3 bidders may be invited to present their tenders online and/or to provide answers to potential questions from Nordic Innovation. 

Participation in a kick-off meeting and a planning workshop shall be part of the offer. The contract involves a tight cooperation with Nordic Innovation. This will be agreed to in more detail in the beginning of the contract period.   

Tender requirements

The supplier must be an entity registered in the EEA, the EU, Greenland or the Faroe Islands. The registration must be documented in the tender. The selected supplier must provide Nordic Innovation with a tax certificate from the country of registration.

The tender must be valid for minimum 90 days from the Tender deadline and it has to be in English and submitted in a single PDF-file. All written and oral communication with regards to this competition and during the contract implementation must also be in English.

The Supplier should use the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Design Manual in all communication and deliverables.

A signed HES Self Declaration shall be included in the suppliers offer.

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Administrative requirements

A prospective supplier requiring any clarification of the tender should submit their questions in writing to and labeled with “Questions about tender – Pre-study on Nordic Scaleup Institute” no later than 15 June 2022.

All questions and answers will be published on the webpage no later than 30 June 2022.

The procurement process will follow the principles of the Norwegian Act for public procurement of 17 June 2016 (LOA) and the Regulations for public procurement (FOA) of 2016-08.12-974 part I.

The supplier is responsible for ensuring that all questions, requirements and clarification points are answered / highlighted and documented in the tender.

Nordic Innovation may refuse all tenders if the result of the tender procedure gives a reasonable ground for doing so. If all the tenders are refused, Nordic Innovation will notify those who have sub- mitted tenders of the refusal.

The decision about to whom the contract is awarded, will be published on Nordic Innovation’s web- site.

Please note that Nordic Innovation’s General Conditions for Purchase of Services (see Appendix II) will be a part of the contract with the supplier. By delivering a tender, it is assumed that the General Conditions for Purchase of Service are accepted.

Further information and relevant documents

  1. Details about the supplier
  2. General Conditions for Purchase of Service
  3. HES Self Declaration

Go to full Tender description


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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Portrait Nina Egeli

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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