The Smartup Learning experience

February 22, 2021

How and why to act as a compass for Baltic Sea Region smartups

Competitions, bootcamps and testbed arrangements have been crucial to the development of the Smartup Accelerator framework. All learnings from working with smartups have been summarized and give insight on how to work to increase impact of consumer cleantech innovations.

Based on interviews covering what smartups are looking for, best practices for business support, and feedback on selected processes, three rounds of acceleration have been held focusing on supporting smartups on their journey towards new market entries around the BSR. This to develop processes for smartup competitions, bootcamps and testbed arrangements.

Through word of mouth, personal recommendations or communication, and an increasingly established SmartUp Accelerator brand, close to 100 smartups applied to be supported in accessing a new BSR market between 2018 and 2020!

Refined competition and bootcamp processes

21 smartups were selected through the competitions, and have accessed 1on1 support from local and international stakeholders. Over three years of smartup interactions, learnings have shaped development of the processes which have contributed to successful market entries. With carefully designed applications, bootcamp modules and carefully chosen mentors and tools by the SmartUp Accelerator partners, smartups have been guided in topics such as market opportunities and validation, fundraising and customer understanding with the goal to define their action points and gather useful feedback from BSR stakeholders.

Why a tailored process?

Ideas among smartups about market fit based on target market views and advancement in sustainability or digitization, market size or the available infrastructure have benefitted from being complemented with sparring and careful consideration of competition, market saturation and added value to local customers, market structure, legal regulations, and private and public sector opportunities. While still important to keep the possibility of pivoting in an acceleration process, international support organizations can play a valuable role in providing guidance based on tailored feedback for a smartup already at an early stage.

Along with aspects of building trust and a sense of community, managing online and offline facilitation, tools and processes for competitions and bootcamps and communication strategies, the tailored guidance has been key in opening doors on new BSR markets. The main takeaways for successful acceleration of consumer cleantech innovations have been documented and the results are open source.