Water, and especially water scarcity, is an increasing problem which attracts more and more attention worldwide. More and more countries see the direct consequences of water-related problems, in the shape of flooding, drought, and heavy rain to name a few recent examples.
But the water sector has great potential of doing business in helping solve some of these multifarious problems. Some of the leading water technology companies are based in Denmark, and the Danish water industry has great ambitions to develop even further.
"By connecting small and medium-sized enterprises, larger companies, utilities, research institutions, and the public sector, it has been possible to facilitate projects and innovation possibilities to strengthen Denmark’s innovation ecosystem and accelerate the development within environmental technology and especially water," says Michael Johansen, Head of Development at CLEAN.
Through partnerships and network, CLEAN helps innovation-driven companies to scale rapidly and establish new contacts and innovation partners all over the world. Among our Danish partnerships, CLEAN works closely together with Water Valley Denmark. The ambition is to create close relationships and collaborative alliances that strengthen the Danish water sector. In practice, this means involving a single ecosystem that builds on existing initiatives and at the same time includes several companies, international actors, universities, and promising startups.
The promising startups within the water industry are of high importance for the Danish water sector and economy, but until 2021 there hasn’t been a startup program for water-related startups.
But from 2022 CLEAN have developed a water-specific startup program, FLOW, with the aim of helping, guiding, and training water tech startups. The program helps startups, entrepreneurs and SMEs in their effort to bring positive change. Within this guidance, there’s also an incubation spot in The Spring – a new water innovation district in Aarhus, which will be an epicentre of knowledge, development and showcasing water technologies and solutions. Here, actors within the water sector will connect and work closer together.
Together with more than 80 stakeholders/partners, CLEAN work closely together in the Lighthouse Water Tech with the aim of creating a visionary and united Danish water sector to develop new innovative, sustainable, and efficient water technology solutions that can attract international talent, research, companies, and investments. One of these actors is Aarhus Vand, who has long been known for its ambitions and has continued to showcase solutions and partnerships nationally and abroad. Aarhus Vand has secured a sustainable water cycle in Aarhus, which today continues to inspire on an international scale.
"It is amazing to see how more than 80 stakeholders have joined forces to develop new innovative, sustainable, and efficient water technology solutions that can attract international talent, research institutions, companies and investments and support for the growing Danish export of world-class water technology," says Thomas Mikkelsen, Chief Program Manager, Lighthouse Water Tech.
Another key stakeholder in the development of the ecosystem around The Spring and Aarhus, in general, is The Link. The Link is a non-profit organization that initiates networks that connect the startup ecosystem, but The Link also helps facilitate startup-corporate collaboration by sharing best practices. They run two networks with a focus on getting large companies involved in the startup environment a network for companies working with Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) and a Corporate Venture Alliance (CVA) network for companies focusing on partnerships, project collaboration and potentially being a first customer for a startup.
"Many of the big companies have a large amount of data, market insights and opportunities for expansion abroad: resources that are worth their weight in gold for startups. At the same time, they are looking for exciting new solutions. So it's making the two ends meet - the practicalities, how to create the best relationships and how to create an understanding of startup engagement in the parent company," says Mette Tønnesen, CEO of The Link.
As a sub-brand, The Link also runs Startup Aarhus – a physical meeting place for the Aarhus ecosystem. Startup Aarhus gathers the community for talks, intimate networking, and hard-hitting drumming - events like Aarhus Townhall and Slush'd Aarhus.
»Aarhus is small enough for everyone to know each other. We are big enough to make an impact. So, we actually have potential here, and when we get people to run in the same direction, we can move a lot. That is why we are trying to connect the amazing startups, investors and ecosystem hero’s into a more unified ecosystem, says Mette Tønnesen, CEO, The Link.
Overall, Denmark's startups are making a significant impact in the world of water technology. With a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, these companies are developing solutions to some of the world's most pressing water challenges. As the world becomes more focused on sustainability, Denmark's startups are well-positioned to continue leading the way in water technology, and this is exactly the focus for the Danish Water Tech Lighthouse that has been established in Aarhus. Part of the Danish Water Tech Lighthouse is for example FLOW – a water-specific startup program; The Spring - a new water innovation district in Aarhus and many other innovative, sustainable and efficient water technology programs.
The investment aspect is of great interest and sought after, as there hasn’t been an investment event with a focus only on water and water technology. On the 10th -11th of May, the Tech Tour Water Tech event will be held at Aarhus Vands' new headquarter in The Spring.
The Tech Tour Water Tech event is the first water-specific investment event and has attracted attention from all over the world. It is of great value to the water startups and helps them be part of the event and potentially find funding for their next big step towards new opportunities and approaches are of a great deal for CLEAN.
Register here to join us on the 10-11 of May in Aarhus.