Can Growth Entrepreneurship Take Root in Denmark’s Central Region?

Case Solution

Daniel J. Isenberg
Babson College ()

Bent Mikkelsen is Executive Director of Economic Development for Denmark’s second largest region, Midjutland (Region of Central Denmark). At the beginning of the case, he reflects on comments he has read that suggest that one of the key programs in his corporate responsibility, the Growth House program, may not be working as well as he and others had hoped. This is the core program of his responsibility for the development of entrepreneurship and a flagship program developed by the Danish Federal Economic Authority for the regions. The case describes Denmark’s entrepreneurship and innovation policy and its achievements, at least in terms of the top ranks in the entrepreneurship policy of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union. While more high-growth risk activities have been developed in Copenhagen, no one in Denmark claims that this is enough, and there are serious doubts that this success can be replicated in the other four regions, including Central Jutland. Should each region be a place of high business growth when talented entrepreneurs move to Copenhagen due to the concentration of resources? Despite the fact that numerous global companies have sprung up from the Central Denmark region in the past, it seems that these older generation entrepreneurs are not very involved in promoting the entrepreneurship of the current generation. Mikkelsen must decide whether and how to leverage the experience of successful global Danish companies in business development in the region, increase the rate and effectiveness of angel investments in startups, and better position the growth house program to attract investment from the private sector to accelerate. He also wonders whether current economic and social development programs are discouraging risk-taking and whether it is time for regional authorities to stop playing such an active role.

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