8 insights about BSR smartup potential

May 05, 2021

The Smartup Accelerator Network is working to bring places like Helsinki, St Petersburg and Warsaw a bit closer to all network members and their extended networks. Together, we will lower barriers for smartup partnerships and easier access to new markets.

Sharing is key! It allows for identifying new opportunities for projects and smartup success stories.  Our network steering group is currently working to find concrete actions for the network, and shares inspiration and experiences from their local markets during monthly meetings. Meet them and get some BSR market insights below!


Eirik Langeland

Business Development Manager Nordics at Evolution Europe

"It can be argued that the Norwegian startup-scene has been somewhat neglected in our country due to the focus from Universities, Businesses and government on oil, and consequently, other Nordic countries have had a bigger focus on the startup ecosystem. However, this is no longer the case. In recent years all the above mentioned are shifting their focus from oil to renewables and startups, high quality accelerators are popping up in all cities and venture capitalists are now looking to Norway to invest.

In the EIC Accelerator Green Deal in May 2020, Norway was actually the country with the most successful projects (7), showcasing the high quality of green focus companies in Norway. My advice to enter the Norwegian market would be to reach out to accelerators such as StartupLab, Antler, Katapult, Validé or communities/clusters such as Oslo Science Park, Norway Health Tech and Aleap to gain a foothold and build from there. Innovation Norway and The Norwegian Research Council also support Norwegian registered startups with grants and loans to start their journey."


Agnieszka Mlodzinska-Granek

New Products Leader, MIT EF CEE

"In Poland, there are many great startup growth opportunities, especially in finance, sustainability, or energy. The size of the market plays a great role, as well as public support mechanisms – including these dedicated to foreign startups (MIT EF CEE has lately been granted Poland Prize , thanks to which we can accelerate startups interested in entering the Polish market).

Regardless of the conditions affecting the pace of renewable energy development in Poland, many circumstances, including international commitments made by Poland in the field of climate policy implementation, indicate that the share of renewable energy sources in the country’s energy balance will systematically increase in the future – MCX, MIT EF CEE partner."


Chris Ashe

Director, atene KOM


"Germany offers significant market potential to consumer cleantech startups mainly due to its size, various support mechanisms for green companies, and the general awareness of German citizens on the topics of sustainability and the power of the consumer to address climate change. The findings of the Green Economy Start-Up Monitor 2020, sponsored by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU), state that green startups are expected to perform better than among non-green ones and much better than in the established industry.  

Currently, 21% of all German startups can be classified as “green”, since their products and services contribute to environmental and climate protection in a concrete way.  Germany has also landed itself in the top rankings of the Eco-Innovation Index, and sustainably focused startups don’t have to look far to find support. Germany’s market conditions favouring green startups and business innovations/cleantech solutions is central to the decision of atene KOM GmbH to join the Smartup Accelerator Network."


Maxim Balanev

Executive director, St. Petersburg Foundation for SME Development

"Russia, and St. Petersburg in particular is a perspective market for startups. Last few yeas we can see a growing interest to green and sustainable solutions market. The market is rather young, but fast growing. Committee for Nature Use Environmental Protection and Ecological Safety of St. Petersburg coordinates ecological agenda of the city.

St. Petersburg Cleantech Cluster for Urban Environment combines best solutions of the city and scale them to other regions of the country. The city if St. Petersburg provide support for startups and is open for new interesting sustainable and ecological solutions."


Evelina Šalavėjienė

Project Coordinator, Cleantech Cluster Lithuania

"Lithuania is a good place to start a business in general, but even better place to start a green business! The country’s national smart specialisation priorities are highly focused on sustainability, with 5 out of 7 priorities directly related to smartups: energy and sustainable environment; health and biotechnologies; agro and food innovation; new production processes, materials and technologies; smart, clean and connected transport. Moreover, there are plenty of support measures and programmes for green startups, such as ClimateLaunchpad, Futurepreneurs, ROCKIT impact accelerator, AcceleratorOne and Katalista Ventures."


Jenny Schmitz Jakobsson

Project Manager at Innovatum Science Park, Sweden

"My experience is that Sweden is viewed as an attractive market by smartups. To some extent, I think this has to do with the notion that Swedes are aware of sustainability topics. I think, however, that understanding the local consumers and what things other than sustainability might be of importance to them in their decisions to consume a sustainable product or service is very valuable. This helps in the process of deciding on strategies for partnerships, communication and more, especially for potentially disruptive innovations.

These activities are important to any startup, but it’s one of the values that I hope the network can bring specifically to consumer cleantech solutions. With that being said, Sweden has indeed performed comparatively well based on for example the Eco-Innovation Index, and there are plenty of interesting and useful materials available on pages like Swedish Cleantech for those looking to learn more about sustainability initiatives, for example."


Karlis Kivlenieks

Senior Expert, University of Latvia Innovation Center (University of Latvia Innovation Grants for Students)

"The startup ecosystem in Latvia has been growing for the past couple of years, and it also has been recognized internationally, as Latvia recently was named the most “startup-friendly” country in the world.

For smartup founders who plan to or are considering Latvia as one of the target markets - if you would like to know more about our local regulations and possible support for your company, there are many support instruments, that might be interesting for smartups. 

I would suggest getting in touch with the Latvian Investment and Development Agency and they will guide you to the right people.

Latvia as a target market might be small, but it is a great place where to start and from where to expand your business!"


Jouni Lounasmaa

CEO, Startup Foundation

Circular economy is the term (and buzzword) that has been getting a lot of attention Finland in recent years. In terms of the startup ecosystem the development is definitely speeding up. The City of Helsinki and Aalto University are launching a new incubator Urban Tech Helsinki for clean and sustainable urban solutions in summer 2021 at the Maria 01 startup campus. Other excellent entry points include the EIT FAN Helsinki (Food Accelerator Network) and the EnergySpin accelerator program in Vaasa. The government is supporting a number of initiatives on e.g. on the battery sector and smart mobility. Recently the Finnish Climate Fund made its first investment decision to Solar Foods to build a new demonstration factory in Finland. 

Did you know the SmartUp Accelerator project developed market studies for seven BSR countries?