The Nordic SPARK programmes have successfully collaborated over several years to increase the emergence of new innovative solutions in the health tech and life science field. With SPARK Denmark starting last year, the Nordic collaboration is brought to a new level. Bringing the Nordic SPARKees to industry events like Nordic Innovation Fair is an important part of building a strong SPARK Nordic. Participating in industry events gives the SPARKees an opportunity to expose themselves to the commercial world and also to build their own networks and market understanding.
Prior to the conference networking dinner, the Nordic SPARK projects met at Panum in the Maersk tower at Copenhagen university. With a full view of the city below, the 25 participating SPARKees gave a 2 minutes pitch of their projects for the other participants. This was a very nice way for all the SPARKees to get to know the other projects and understand that they are part of a community of likeminded. BioInnovation Institute also presented their programmes. For many of the SPARKees this can prove to be a very attractive alternative to develop their projects further in a startup setting after their SPARK period ends.
Networking dinner and conference
The networking dinner was very well organized and gave the SPARKees a great opportunity to start expanding their networks. The SPARKees did an excellent job and took advantage of this opportunity to talk to industry experts, venture capitals (VCs), startups and others, and this gave them a head start for the conference the next day.
The Nordic Innovation Fair conference is a rather small event with around 450 participants. Even if it covers a variety of technologies in different areas, the majority is within life sciences. There were a good mix of VCs, industry representatives, startup and academics. The partnering system gave possibility to pre-book 1:1 meetings and the networking opportunities outside these meetings were also great. In additions there were excellent pitching sessions for startup throughout the whole day. The general feedback from our SPARKees was very positive. This was an eye-opener for them in terms of how important it is to talk to experts outside academia to collect feedback on their projects and start to build their market understanding based on this. This was also a very steep learning curve for the SPARKees, as this was the first time on an event like this for most of them.
Keep on advancing together
The feedback from the participating SPARK projects shows everyone benefited greatly from both the SPARK Nordic pre-event and the conference. We will keep on building on the strong Nordic cooperation in SPARK. Therefore, we plan to have a joint event, a Fireside chat, during the Nordic Life Science Days in Copenhagen in November.From left: Lene Nørby Nielsen, Director SPARK Denmark, Morten Egeberg, Director SPARK Norway and Pasi Sorvisto, Director SPARK Finland.