Collaborations between startups and large companies can lead to a better world. That was the theme of the third edition of Ignite Sweden Day.
Ignite Sweden has become a success in the Swedish startup ecosystem. Since its start in 2017, the program has initiated over 100 collaborations and contributed to 2,400 meetings between large companies and innovative startups. 410 startups, 132 large companies and public organizations have participated in this national initiative that aims to strengthen innovation in Sweden.
One of the main topics of this last edition of the event, that was held last Wednesday in Stockholm, was impact, a concept that has become crucial in business and among startups since the UN defined the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for a better world.
Towards a more sustainable world
One of the startups in the spotlight working towards the Sustainable Development Goals is Vkna, the company from Umeå that helps companies and organizations create more equal workplaces.
– Many companies and organizations want to work on these issues. We provide digital tools that make it easier to get started with the process, says Emma Möller, co-founder of Vkna.
Addressya, Bright Day Graphene, Gleechi, Grafren, Mimbly, Parlametric, PlasticFri and RenBloc were the other 8 startups tackling different sustainable goals that pitched on stage during the afternoon.
Successful collaboration cases
101 collaborations between startups and large companies initiated from a meeting at one of the 39 matchmaking events that Ignite Sweden has held during the last three years.
During the event, the 250+ attendees listened to four successful journeys. These companies shared with the audience their recipe for successful partnerships. They were: SAAB-Attractive Entertainment, E.ON-OurGreenCar, FLIR Systems-Gemit Solutions, and Alfa Laval-Ekkono Solutions.
Some of the key components for successful collaborations that were highlighted during the presentations were trust and the capacity of innovating at speed without forgetting to have fun on the journey.
– Don’t go alone: use cases and engage a cross-functional team. Work towards roll out. Domain knowledge is king and the technical side can be solved. Last but not least, find startups that have the speed you’d like to have at your company and use Ignite Sweden’s platform to meet them, advises Jan Ackalin from Alfa Laval.
The Swedish ecosystem for innovation
Ignite Sweden Day confirms how the collaboration within the Swedish ecosystem around startup companies and new innovations has become a strong factor to count on. This is something that Peter Löfgren, CEO of ABB’s innovation growth hub SynerLeap, emphasizes.
– You can be good, but together we become fantastic. There is only one way forward: focus on how you can contribute. That’s how you become relevant in the ecosystem, explains Peter Löfgren.
Jeanette Andersson, CEO of Minc -one of the incubators that leads the program-, stresses how relevant Ignite Sweden is in their work with startups.
– Ignite Sweden helps us to get customers for our startups, which makes us more attractive as an incubator, says Jeanette.
Marie Wall, responsible for startups within the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, highlights the important role that Ignite Sweden has played for the startup ecosystem in just a few years.
– Ignite is building a platform so that startups can have real collaborations with industry, says Maria.
The startup collaboration heroes
The event concluded with the Ignite Awards, which awards companies and public organizations for their outstanding efforts in startup-corporate collaborations.
Alfa Laval, Coor, E.ON, FLIR, IBM, SAAB, Synerleap by ABB and Trygg-Hansa are the corporates that won awards in four different categories; Startup Engagement, Best Startup Hack, Master of Startups and Best Startup Collaborator.
New to this edition of Ignite Sweden Day is Ignite Public, a project that aims to initiate collaborations between startups and the public sector, municipalities and public-owned companies were awarded for their collaboration efforts.
The municipalities of Uppsala, Järfälla and Södertälje, as well as the company Jämtkraft, were the winners of the Ignite Public awards. Kerstin Svensson from Järfälla municipality also won the Ignite Public Procurement Hero 2019.
– This award shows that our work in promoting an innovation-driven culture, both internally within the municipality but also with the startups, gives results, says Johan Rosén, Business Strategist at Uppsala municipality.
About Ignite Sweden Day
Ignite Sweden Day is the annual meet-up that celebrates startup and corporate collaboration. The conference was created by LEAD, Minc, SISP, Sting, THINGS and Uminova Innovation. Ignite Sweden is a program aimed at catalysing commercial partnerships between innovative startups and large companies. The national initiative is led by THINGS, STING, LEAD, MINC and Uminova in collaboration with SISP. Ignite is co-funded by Vinnova, Energimyndigheten and Tillväxtverket. Learn more about the program at www.ignitesweden.org