Ecosystems, Toolbox

White paper: Connecting Start-up Ecosystems in Nordic Cities, 2017

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How can medium sized cities interact across borders to boost an integrated digital labor market? How can cities improve the growth potential of their startup scenes by structured cross-border collaboration? What is the interest and potential for sharing resources, benchmark outcomes and promote joint networks?

Together with Baltic Development Forum and Turku Science Park we explored the current state, needs and possibilities of how Nordic non-capital cities can improve their connections, share start-ups and talent – and together make their individual and the Nordic ecosystem stronger and more attractive.

This would benefit the companies and players in the region as well as the Nordic branding effort, embodying Nordic co-values and help to strengthen the internationally leading high-tech profile of the Nordics.


Three non-capital Nordic cities were invited to provide cases for the project: Aarhus, Gothenburg and Turku. Representatives for city administration, business development agencies, start-up communities and other experts from the three cities were gathered 4 April 2017 at a workshop lead by the project partners and hosted by Turku Science Park. They exchanged best practice and explored the interest of connecting and mutual learning.

The project was carried out January-April 2017 as part of the Nordic Council of Minister’s “Branding the Nordic Region” project funding scheme.

Key messages from the workshop:

  • There is little cross-border knowledge about the region’s (or the neighboring countries’) start- up ecosystem and what is going on there.
  • Digitalisation can be an important driver in this co-operation, as the Nordic infrastructure is ready to support it; the majority of the growth-oriented and born global start-ups have great readiness to utilise it. Innovation organisations and startup support organisations need to continue to develop their readiness and willingness to utilise and promote digitalisation and to develop common methods and tools.
  • There is an interest in learning from each other as the potential benefits are recognised. Knowledge sharing projects will be welcomed.

See also Top of Digital EuropeTurku Science Park and State of the Digital Region

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Marcus Andersson

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