DKK 2.2 million for research project on entrepreneurship

A group of researchers from AU Herning and Department of Business Administration at Aarhus University and Aalborg University have received a grant of DKK 2.2 million to fund their research project entitled "Entrepreneurship for Growth".

The grant is funded by the Danish Industry Foundation, who in the spring of 2013 called for project proposals aiming to increase the number of growth entrepreneurs in Denmark. With the project “Entrepreneurship for Growth” the researchers seek to investigate how management strategies and professional boards of directors impact the generation of jobs and value in Danish companies. In order to grow, new companies depend on having management teams and boards that can supply them with the right skills and expertise.

- In Denmark a lot of new companies are established every year, but too few of them manage to grow. We need research to tell us what skill sets and competencies these startup companies need in order to develop and generate growth, says Anders Frederiksen, who is professor at AU Herning and takes part in the new project.

The research group consists of Professor Anders Frederiksen, who is affiliated with both AU Herning and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Organizational Architecture (ICOA), Professor Lars Frederiksen from the Department of Business Administration at Aarhus University and Professor Michael Dahl from Aalborg University.

With the grant from the Danish Industry Foundation the research group will carry out qualitative and quantitative research, mapping out the competencies that contribute to entrepreneurial growth in specific fields.  In addition, they will seek to find out how management strategies and board compositions and dynamics generate growth.

Creating an entrepreneurial turnaround

- We expect that the project will play a significant part in generating a turnaround in Danish entrepreneurship, so that in the future we will see a significant rise in the number of growth entrepreneurs. We need entrepreneurs to think of new solutions and promote competition in the present business community, says Mads Lebech, Managing Director of the Danish Industry Foundation.

The Danish Industry Foundation believes that entrepreneurship in general and the number of entrepreneurs and small companies that experience growth are important for strengthening the basis of the country’s ability to generate added value and more jobs.

- Unfortunately, it is often the case that new businesses remain small and rarely get the chance to realise their growth potential. But this is what the Danish Industry Foundation is trying to change, says Mads Lebech.

Cooperation between researchers, entrepreneurs and the business community

The purpose of the project is to increase the competitiveness of Danish startup businesses. On this basis, the project aims to investigate the extent to which new strategies and practices for improving competency development in new businesses do in fact generate growth and jobs.

- We are lacking new and up-to-date explanations as to why growth in new and small businesses, the so-called startups, is so uneven. It cannot be explained merely by focusing on the motivation and abilities of individual people; rather, we believe that the answer is to be found in the broader social or relational framework, such as startup teams and boards, explains Lars Frederiksen, Professor at the Department of Business Administration.

The project is carried out as a direct collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs and significant business organisations. Moreover, the project will include several powerful people, such as members of steering committees and renowned researchers.

The knowledge and results of the project will be distributed to and implemented by entrepreneurial consultants and entrepreneurs. The project will result in the development of a series of guidelines, stating who should be included in a company’s entrepreneurial team and who should be employed within the first year – and, finally, what are the necessary competencies that the company’s board should encompass, depending on the nature of the industry, etc. The project is initiated in January 2014 and will run for two years.

Further information

The Danish Industry Foundation has decided to give a total of DKK 22 million to seven ambitious projects, which investigate the potential for increasing the number of growth entrepreneurs in Denmark. Find more information about the projects here.

For more information about the research project “Entrepreneurship for Growth,” contact: