Research trip to Denmark, Day 5: social funders and rebellious artists

Research trip to Denmark, Day 5: social funders and rebellious artists

The last day in Copenhagen had arrived much fast than anticipated and so it was already time for our two last interviews: den sociale kapitalfond in the morning and the Art Rebels for coffee.

Lars Jannick Johanssen, ex-director of Denmark’s leading think tank “Monday Morning“, founder and director of den sociale kapitalfond had invited us to the new office in the Nyhavn-neighbourhood where he presented us a super concise and very insightful overview of the fund’s activities and working methods. He was so well prepared that he actually answered most of our questions without us even having to answer them!

Here is what we learned: Den sociale kapitalfond was launched in February 2012 and is “Denmark’s first social venture fund, investing capital and competencies in promising social entrepreneurs to scale their social impact and economic performance.”

It was established by TrygFonden (one of the largest and most prominent Danish charity funds focused on improving safety, health and opportunities in Denmark) and runs with professional support from Accura (“the leading Danish law firm within transactions”), KPMG (“the leading professional service company”) and Accenture (“the leading management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company”).

To reach its goals, the fund builds on methods and approaches from commercial venture funds to help:

  • Socially vulnerable individuals improve their opportunities in society and social capital.
  • Social entrepreneurs build capacity and scale their social impact and economic performance.
  • Social investors achieve high social returns on investment (SROI).

The fund relies on the enterprises to becom capable of repaying the investments, allowing the fund to reinvest capital in new social entrepreneurs. Lars wants investors with a philantropical motivation, who are willing to swap the monetary return on investment for a social return on investment. The social change that will result is measurable, he says: “It’s tricky, but it can be done.”

The team consists of 6 people whose job it is to choose the right projects and companies in which to invest and then to prepare both sides for the cooperation, so as to make sure that the process itself goes about as smoothly as possible. The elected companies get knowledge (seminars and interviews) and money (patient loans at very low rates / „evergreen loans“).

Examples of supported projects:

  • Specialisterne (Specialist People Foundation) – an IT-service company based on the special skills of employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder; 60 employees
  • Grøn Koncert – an annual concert tour that raises awareness and millions of DKK for people with muscular dystrophy.
  • Allehände – a kitchen project with only deaf cooks.

(For more information visit: http://www.densocialekapitalfond.dk/)

 

And then it was already time for our last interview of this trip: with the documentary film maker and Art Rebel Simon Caspersen, partner, strategic planner and responsible for the Rebel Agency. After a quick tour around the new office close to Nørreport station in a lively neighbourhood close to the city center (so new, the paint on the walls had not yet dried), we headed for a nice café around the corner and Simon answered all our questions.

Art Rebels was founded 6 years ago as a creative business, a movement and a network for artists, musicians, designers, film makers, cultural activists, web designers, event makers and other creative souls. At first, it was all centered around a web-platform, but today, Art Rebels operate on- and offline.

At Art Rebels ...

At Art Rebels …

... just moving in.

… just moving in.

They work like a one-stop-agency, distributing jobs and sub-tasks to the freelancers in their network. This way, Art Rebels can help one-person entrepreneurs with getting jobs and not to loose them because they are perceived as too small. Size should not be an argument, but the quality of the work.

Art Rebels activities can be divided into the following fields:

  • The webshop: a global platform that sells selected artwork and products from creatives around the world.
  • The blog: exposes culture and sub-cultural scenes from around the world
  • The Trailerpark festival: a festival for/of art and music in Copenhagen
  • The Art Rebels Agency: a communication agency working with/for both commercial, cultural, artistic, and social projects
  • Art Rebels Events: Talks, conventions, vernissages and other events, e.g. a road show for a big Danish media company

Most of all, we were interested in the Rebel Academy, sought to function as a consortium of creative professionals and an incubation platform for projects and collaborations where knowledge and inspiration on creating and running businesses as a creative entrepreneur can be collected and shared. However, the Academy is not yet operational as there is no reliable funding (the national government gave them money to start the online-platform but there is no regular funding available).

In general, money is an important issue for the Art Rebels, as most of them work as volunteers and can only take care of the Art Rebels activities in the evening after work, which means that all processes take a very long time. Simon hopes for financiers to be more willing to take on some risks and invest in the project. We hold our thumbs and wish them good luck!

(For more information visit: http://artrebels.com/blog/)

Research trip to Denmark, Day 4: urban farming in the harbor and new ways of university cooperation

Research trip to Denmark, Day 4: urban farming in the harbor and new ways of university cooperation

Back in Copenhagen it was time to dive into something completely off track: the Copenhagen Oyster bank in the City’s harbour bassin. Inspired by similar projects in New York and Sydney, where oysters help to cleanse the harbour water, the Copenhagen Oyster bank is right now in an early pilot phase. If everything works out as planned, the first home-grown oysters will be harvested in september 2013 and the whole project will then be turned into an experience-based gastronomy and urban farming-project. We were interested in this project as it demonstrates how a city can develop new ways of appropriation of its space and how different stakeholders – the municipality, the citizens, the local businesses, the gastronomy and even nature – with numerous different objectives can work together to reach one common goal.

At the Copenhagen City harbor

At the Copenhagen City harbor

The oyster bank – somewhere out there ...

The oyster bank – somewhere out there …

One of these stakeholders is the architecture bureau Effekt which designed the construction for the bank itself as well as for the floating restaurant and other elements. We met Mads Olsen, project developer at Effekt and a gastronome himself. He came to get us at the hotel in the morning and drove us out to the harbour to show us the Oyster bank. There was not so much to see for the naked eye, but we were still able to gain an impression of the area – a new built apartment area in the harbour district, which still feels rather sterile and will most definitely profit from any kind of project helping to enriching the neighbourhood and fill it with life. We’ll definitely come back in autumn to have a look at the oysters!

Besides the Oyster bank, Effekt is also involbed in other visionary projects for a „user-friendly“ Copenhagen. One example is a sports and fairground project in the decaying space underneath an autobahn-bridge separating the two communities of Copenhagen and Fredriksberg. It sure did look and sound exciting and we wish them all best for succeeding with it!

(For more information visit: http://konvers.dk/kbenhavns-stersbanke and www.effekt.dk)

 

Our second meeting of the day was more institutional again and brought us back to CBS (Copenhagen Business School) which we already knew from our previous visit to Copenhagen in early November. This time, we met with Luise Noring Henler, project manager of CIEL – Copenhagen Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, an alliance between the three major universities in Copenhagen (Danish Technical University / DTU, CBS, University of Copenhagen/UCPH) for joint efforts to develop and support initiatives with innovation and entrepreneurship for the benefit of students, industry, research and education within the region.

In short, CIEL is:

  • 3 partner universities
  • 3 target areas: research, education, students + corporate partners
  • 9 novel cross university-industry programs
  • 90 projects in partnership with faculty, student organizations and business

Luise sees herself as a facilitator and very action-oriented driver, whose work often consist more of politics then the content side. Currently, she is involved in about 25 projects of which the Entrepreneurship Research Accelerator (ERA) and the new Entrepreneurial Excellence Programs (EEP) “Green innovation in cities” (GIiC) are the ones in which she is the most involved. The latter one includes the Bejing-Copenhagen-Urban Challenge, an exchange program with universities in Bejing in 2013, addressing the global challenges of green growth and sustainability.

The collaboration with the business partners is established through the academic collaborators, where many relationships already existed. Luise takes care of selecting the right companies for each course and does the matchmaking. Over the years, a pool of corporation partners has been build up, of which most of the companies stay with the program.

These companies are not remunerated for their contribution, as a lot of them do not need funds. They are bound into the program, by sourcing out questions and tasks to the students.

(For more information visit: http://ciel-lab.dk/)

 

Excursion to Sweden: Lessons on Warhol in Helsingborg and City Development in Landskrona

Excursion to Sweden: Lessons on Warhol in Helsingborg and City Development in Landskrona

Aurora af Helsingborg

Aurora af Helsingborg

Crossing Over

Crossing Over

As we’ve already stated before, it is difficult to be either in Malmö or Copenhagen without paying a visit to the respective other side. This time, we took the ferryboat to cross the Öresund in direction Helsingborg. Here we set off to SHIP (also home of THINK – see older post) to meet Nils Djurklou, project manager of the after work program After Warhol and founder of the Höganäs gruppen. Unfortunately the program was already in the first place designed to only last 9 month (from March to November 2012) and so we literally met Nils on his last day of „duty“ for the program.

After Warhol was a program run by the City of Helsingborg’s culture and economic department in close cooperation with different partner programs such as Boost Hbg or THINK, the city’s incubator and the headmaster of Lund’s university Helsingborg Campus. Its goal was to integrate culture and creative entrepreneurs with the business sector, to show how networking is possible and of course, as a result, to establish business contacts. These goals were adresses through 3 after work meetings and one seminar/workshop.

(For more information visit: http://helsingborgbusinessregion.com/sv/Start/Omoss/Framtiden-i-regionen/After-Warhol/)

 

Right after our meeting with Nils we hopped on the train to Landskrona. The city of Landskrona (30.500 inhabitants) is situated in between Malmö and Helsingborg on the coast facing Denmark. In the Skåne region, cities are developing arenas for cultural and creative industries (CCI). Since 2011 that development includes Landskrona as well, as a part of the national strategy that the Swedish government is leading. Landskrona used to be a prosperous shipbuidling industrial city until some decades ago and is now taking measures in creating a new industrial strategy with the CCI as one strategic factor.

This is the backdrop against which Sanna Lilje operates as project manager of KELA and ex-counselor of Selfmade.

Selfmade was set up to help creative people to develop and realize their ideas. Its vision was that everyone should be able to live from their ideas. Thus, besides the realization of ideas, the program’s goals were the professionalization of creatives and the growth of their network. The program ran from 2007 to the end of 2012 with 2 to 5 part-time employees in the cities Malmö, Helsingborg and Landskrona and was funded by the Malmö Folkhögskola, EFRE, Region Skåne, the Cities of Malmö and Helsingborg as well as the Development Foundation in Landskrona.

Each of the consultants was professionally experienced in the creative business sector(s) and had other freelance businesses going on besides their work for Selfmade. This was, in Sanna’s view, the smartest feature of the whole program, as it allowed the consultants to keep one foot in the same area as their „clients“, making them “professional buddies”. Sanna considers this kind of peer-to-peer situation as very important for counselling in the creative sector.

(For more information visit: http://selfmade.nu/)

KELA is set up for the period 2012 – 2014 and funded by the Region Skåne and the Development Foundation of Landskrona. The program’s mission is to contribute to a more vibrant and attractive Landskrona using sustainable cultural and creative businesses, relying on the input from the city’s CCI actors themselves.

By 2014, KELA wants to have created an overall supporting system for CCIs in the city and to be a project focusing on buidling networks, offering skill development and creating physical spaces for the cultural entrepreneurs that will remain in the city once the project is over as a part of the business development system. How is yet to be discovered.

So far, this is what KELA does: For competence development of CCI entrepreneurs, KELA hosts seminars on topics of interests, especially communication and branding. For experience and competence development, KELA also allocated five small scholarschips (20.000 SEK each), amongst others to help a local gallery invite artists (KELA’s financial support helped them pay for the travel and accomodation costs).

For the creation of space, KELA will open a “Creative House” which is supposed to be launched in the course of project.

This place could house:

  • An entrepreneurship / project management training for the creative and cultural entrepreneurs, in collaboration with Fridhem Folkhögskola,
  • Self Made – a pre-incubator with a large regional network and development competences
  • and offer jobs for those who are active in the house

Right now Sanna is working with 10 stakeholders from the CCI in Landskrona on a regular basis, but she estimates that there are about 150 people are active in the CCI in Landskrona, mostly painters and photographers.

Although targeted at CCI in the beginning, KELA’s nature has turned into a city life development project that uses CCI as a tool for general change.

(For more information visit: http://kelandskrona.wordpress.com/)

Research trip to Denmark, Day 2: a joint Nordic initiative for the CCI and a co-working space unlike the others

Research trip to Denmark, Day 2: a joint Nordic initiative for the CCI and a co-working space unlike the others

Welcome to Kreanord

Welcome to Kreanord

The second day of our trip started at Kreanord, the Nordic Council of ministers‘ joint initiative for the CCI in the Nordic Countries, where we met with Saga Wendén, the project manager, who is herself of Finnish origin, thus incorporating the joint Nordic cooperation in her own person. More

Research in Denmark, Day 1: Interview at Lars von Trier’s Zentropa

Research in Denmark, Day 1: Interview at Lars von Trier’s Zentropa

Zentropa's headquarter at Filmbyen

Zentropa’s headquarter at Filmbyen

The first day started with a meeting quite out of the ordinary at the Filmbyen, the film studios of Lars von Trier’s Zentropa, Scandinavia’s biggest film production company. Here we met with Anders Kjærhauge, head of the legal department, to talk to him about the labour market instrument best translated as „intermediate labour market“ which offers help for people who fall out of the regular job market (e.g. immigrants with missing language skills or mothers who have stayed home not working for the last 18 years). Anders told us a little bit about how Zentropa makes use of this instrument … and we got to see where Lars and the others eat, relax and play music in between the shootings. So thanks for that! More

And here we go again … Hello Copenhagen!

And here we go again … Hello Copenhagen!

Pure Love for KPH

Pure Love for KPH

After we had already had the time to briefly check out Copenhagen during our trip to Sweden (see earlier posts), we now flew back with the distinct purpose to investigate the CCI scene in the Danish capital and had scheduled appointments with Anders Kjærhauge from Zentropa, Saga Wendén from Kreanord, Katrine Heje Larsen from KPH / KPH Volume, Mads Olsen from Effekt, Luise Noring Henler from CIEL, Lars Yannik Johanssen from Den sociale kapitalfond and Simon Caspersen from the Art Rebels. But, as the Öresund region really favours to-and-fro-trips, we also again crossed the Sund (this time not by train but by ferry!) to meet with Nils Djurklou from After Warhol in Helsingborg and with Sanna Lilje from KELA (and Selfmade). A packed week lay ahead of us and we were curious to see what would await us this time! So again, we’d like to thank all our interview partners very much for their time and all the inspiring insights!