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Win 500,000 kroner if your hardware has what it takes

Twenty Danish hardware start-ups are participating in this year’s Danish Tech Challenge, where the winner will receive DKK 500,000. The competition is a four-month accelerator course that hones inventors’ ability to become viable businesses. Previous winners Nordic Power Converters won in 2014.
Danish Tech Challenge kicks off in August. In the following four months, twenty inventors and entrepreneurs will compete to come up with the best idea for a new product or technology. Photo: Scion DTU

Publiceret: 03.08.2017
Af Karen Witt Olsen mail

From August until December, twenty hardware inventors and entrepreneurs will compete to see who has the best idea - and who is best at realising it.

Ideas range from welding robots to bacteria sensors to respiratory training, and the winner will walk away with the prize of DKK 500,000.

“Our ambition level is high, and we will be setting big demands for the participants,” says Steen Donner, CEO of Scion DTU, which is a partner in the competition and will host the twenty participants at the science park during the course of the competition.

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Everyone will be under pressure

The aim of Danish Tech Challenge is to create more viable companies that produce physical products. But all participants will go through an intensive four-month incubator course that includes professional counselling, business plan development and contact with investors.

The Danish Industry Foundation has been one of the partners behind Danish Tech Challenge (DTC) since 2014. And the participants will be put to the test, the CEO guarantees.

“The course puts pressure on all participants. But at the same time, it is a unique opportunity to develop and move forward as a growth company - or perhaps to discover that you don’t actually have any potential,” says Mads Lebech.

See also: Many more young people become entrepreneurs

The necessary questions

It is precisely the opportunity to develop and to ask and be asked the tough questions that makes the competition valuable, says the team behind Nordic Power Converters, which won the first Danish Tech Challenge back in 2014.

“DTC is a safe ‘cradle’ where you are asked questions, have your assumptions tested and get your idea carved out. You focus in on the most important challenges, develop plans for further development and establish relationships with stakeholders,” explains co-founder of Nordic Power Converters Regnar Paaske, who is today the company’s CCO.
 
In 2012, co-founder and CEO Mickey Madsen made a breakthrough in the design of power converters that convert power from e.g. alternating current in wall sockets for apparatuses requiring direct current.

Power converters are used in lots of electronics such as chargers for computers, gadgets ad electric toothbrushes, and as power converters for household appliances and LED lighting. It is a multi-billion dollar market that very few people consider.
 
The advantages of the technology are clear, with power converters that are several times lighter and smaller and which even have a longer lifetime, all of which is very relevant for the growing market for LED lights, both for streetlamps and new solutions for lighting in homes and offices.
 
Nordic Power Converters was started by six founders in 2014, and today, the company has ten full-time employees, has won several awards and received financing from investors as well as public programmes from the Innovation Foundation and EU’s Horizon 2020.

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We must utilise potential

If you ask the Confederation of Danish Industry’s Director of SME & Entrepreneurship Dorte Gram Nybroe, Danish Tech Challenge is precisely the kind of initiative that is necessary to create more new companies with high growth.

She notes that it is crucial that more high-tech entrepreneurs take advantage of their full potential. And that in this process, it is important that universities take part in creating the right framework so that the newest research can get out and be utilised within a commercial context.

“DTC is a really good example of a collaboration between a private foundation and a university, where the focus of the joint project is to create new companies that can contribute with growth and prosperity in the future,” says Dorte Gram Nybroe.

Good advice

And putting the young companies under pressure works, says Steen Donner, CEO at Scion DTU.

“Our evaluations and statements show that many more of the companies that participate in Danish Tech Challenge survive, grow and create jobs than is the case for entrepreneurs in general,” he says.

Nordic Power Converters has some good advice for the twenty participants in DTC 2017.
 
“They must develop in four essential areas: their technology or product, their customers or market, their team and their financing. They must advance within all four parameters, but particularly the first three, and the financing will follow. Financing is a means - not a goal in itself,” says CCO at Nordic Power Converters Regnar Paaske.

Danish Tech Challenge runs from August until the end of December. The winner of the competition and DKK 500,000 prize will be announced in January 2018.

The course puts pressure on all participants. But at the same time, it is a unique opportunity to develop and move forward as a growth company - or perhaps to discover that you don’t actually have any potential.
CEO MADS LEBECH, INDUSTIENS FOND
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PUBLISHED: 8/3/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 8/3/2017