Startup collaboration for a better world

Ignite Sweden gives thumb up to collaborations between startups and large companies. From left to right: Stina Lantz, Maria Olofsson, Darja Isaksson and Amira El-Bidawi.

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 gives thumb up to collaborations between startups and large companies. From left to right: Stina Lantz, Maria Olofsson, Darja Isaksson and Amira El-Bidawi.

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 2,400 meetings between large companies and innovative startups. 410 startups and 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 that put on the spotlight the extraordinary work that the startups are doing towards the Sustainable Development Goals is Vkna, the company from Umeå that helps companies and organizations create more equal workplaces.

Johanna Engström and Emma Möller from Vkna pitched at the Ignite Sweden’s scene together with the startups PlasticFri and Parlametric. The segment was moderated by Amira El-Bidawi from Vattenfall.

– 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 within a meeting at one of the 39 matchmaking events that Ignite Sweden has held during the last 3 years.

During the event, the 250+ attendees listened to 4 successful journeys, who shared with the audience their recipe to make successful partnerships happen. These were: SAAB-Attractive Entertainment, E.ON-OurGreenCar, FLIR Systems-Gemit Solutions, and Alfa Laval-Ekkono Solutions.

Maria Olofsson interviews Fredrik Kroll (SAAB) and Pontus Björkberg (Attractive Entertainment). They met at one of our matchmaking events in May and started their first pilot project within a month.

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 in the journey. 

– Don’t go alone: use cases and engage a cross-functional team. Work towards roll out. To 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.

Vinnova’s Director General, Darja Isaksson, celebrates the achievement of 101 collaborations initiated at Ignite Sweden.

Jeanette Andersson, CEO of Minc -one of the incubators that lead 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 the industry, says Maria.

The startup collaboration heroes

The event concluded with the Ignite Awards, which prizes companies and public organizations for their outstanding efforts in startup-corporate collaborations.

The winners of Ignite Awards 2019 celebrating on stage.

Alfa Laval, Coor, E.ON, FLIR, IBM, SAAB, Synerleap by ABB and Trygg-Hansa are the corporate that won awards in 4 different categories: Startup Engagement, Best Startup Hack, Master of Startups and Best Startup Collaborator. 

New to this edition of Ignite Sweden Day is that Ignite Public, our project that aims to initiate collaborations between startups and the public sector, also awarded municipalities and public-owned companies 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 as 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.

Article written in collaboration with Uminova Innovation.

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