“Attracting Foreign Investments To Strengthen The Danish Tech Ecosystem”​ Written by LATAM DEF on January 21, 2019

“Attracting Foreign Investments To Strengthen The Danish Tech Ecosystem” Speaker Insights Steen Hommel Director Invest In Denmark

Ahead of our upcoming Nordics Digital Enterprise Festival (DEF) on 7th February 2019 in Copenhagen, we caught up with Steen Hommel, Director of Invest in Denmark & Innovation about Denmark’s position as a European digital front runner, what the Danish government does to meet the challenges for future digital growth.

Grundfos, eBay, Maersk, Gucci, Tetra Pak & Orsted are just a few of the confirmed Global brands on our agenda, they will be discussing many of this year’s hot topics around Agile Working, Data Strategies, Workplace Collaboration, Privacy, Digital Hybrids, Martech, People Transformation, Customer Experience, GDPR, Gamification, Enterprise Video & Robotic Process Automation. Go to www.digitalenterprisefest.com/nordics for the full schedule.

We have a small number of COMPLIMENTARY* passes available to end-user brands, vendor’s, consultancies and agencies do not qualify for these tickets, click here to reserve your place REGISTER

DEF: You are going to set the scene for our next Nordics Digital Enterprise Fest event in Copenhagen on 7th February 2019. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit more about what you will highlight?

Steen: To set the scene I will highlight why Denmark is the most digitalised economy and society in the EU, according to the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index. Denmark performs very well in connectivity, thanks to the widest 4G coverage in Europe, and an increased coverage and take-up of fast and ultra-fast fixed broadband connections. In addition, the Danish government has announced a new telecom settlement with ambitious plans to enhance digital coverage and promote the roll-out of nation-wide 5G in 2020. But Denmark does not only offer world-class IT infrastructure – we also have consumers and organisations keen to play an active part in the testing and development of new technologies. Many successful and internationally renowned tech companies have therefore already recognized Denmark as a development hotspot, seeing great potential in tapping into leading Danish software development research and innovation hubs. Even though Danish businesses are increasingly embracing digital technologies there is of course still room for further improvement and advancement and not least our SMEs are lagging behind.

DEF: Why is it important for Denmark to attract foreign investments and companies in tech?

Steen: Attracting more knowledge- and technology-intensive foreign investment is an important part of maintaining Denmark’s leading position as digital frontrunner. Foreign companies bring new knowledge, technology, talent and business models. They create better opportunities for innovative partnerships between companies and academia. Investments from foreign tech companies can help Denmark to accelerate digital transformation and application of emerging technologies making Danish companies and our country more competitive internationally. A good example is Japanese NEC, who recently announced its acquisition of one of Denmark’s largest IT and software companies “KMD”, where both parties will benefit from the exchange and integration of products, technologies and competencies. It is expected that KMD will be able to benefit from NEC’s technology and strong knowledge in biometric and artificial intelligence.

DEF: You mentioned that there is room for improvement. In your opinion, which challenges and potentials do you see exist for Denmark and Danish companies to realize the great potential new technologies and digitalization leaves?

Steen: I think it is fair to say that Danish businesses have been at the forefront of the first wave of digitalization, and many administrative tasks and public services have been successfully digitalized. Building on this heritage and strong digital foundation, Danish businesses are now ready to invest in the next wave of advancement and to apply new technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics to increase efficiency and competitiveness. But Danish businesses – especially our SMEs – need help and guidance to understand how they can use available data and apply these new emerging technologies to drive this further transformation. This leaves the great potential for foreign companies to deliver the necessary capabilities. Another challenge which we share with many advanced ICT nations is getting access to talents with the needed IT and digital skill sets. The Danish government has therefore launched a number of initiatives to face these challenges and to secure Denmark’s future digital growth.

DEF: What is the Danish government doing to secure Denmark’s future digital growth?

Steen: The Danish government last year presented its Digital Growth Strategy. It is an ambitious vision for maintaining and strengthening Denmark’s position as a digital front runner and to ensure that Danish companies seize the potential of the new technologies. Let me highlight a few of the large-scale initiatives the strategy contains. The government is very focused on meeting the rising demand for digital and technology skills. Therefore, the government has introduced computational thinking in elementary schools, so kids get interested and get the basic skills at a young age. The government has also formed a “Technology Pact” with the industry and educational institutions to increase the number of students with a STEM background by 20% by 2025.  Secondly, it should be easier to test technologies and new business models. Thus, the government will implement smoother and more agile legislative frameworks to meet the need of companies looking to test new technologies and business models. Furthermore, the government will look at providing easier access to more public data and create clearer guidelines to increase companies’ data usage. These are all good examples of how the government will provide good framework conditions.

DEF: How does Invest in Denmark help potential foreign investors considering setting up activities in Denmark?

Steen: Invest in Denmark is Denmark’s national investment promotion organization, anchored in the Trade Council under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We attract and retain foreign investments in Denmark by providing customized one-stop service for foreign companies, looking to set up or expand a business in Denmark. Through specialized staff at selected missions in Europe, Asia, North America and sector experts based in Denmark, we promote Danish strongholds and unique competencies. We help investors understand Danish business regulations, and provide investors with access to our national network of contacts and service partners. Among others, we provide information and tailor-made analyses for the investors, arrange fact-finding missions and assist in setting up or expanding the business in Denmark. All our services are provided free of charge and in full confidentiality.

DEF: Digital transformation has already taken us on a significant journey both in business and in our personal lives. In your opinion, what will be the most important topic for 2019?

Steen: The short answer would be AI and data ethics. No doubt, that there will continue to be a lot of fascination about the application of AI and the prospects it brings, and simultaneously I believe that the focus on data ethical aspects will only continue to increase in 2019. In a Danish context, the ethical debate around responsible use of data and development of unbiased algorithms for AI and machine learning is very important. Denmark is a nation that builds on values such as trust, democracy, responsibility and self-determination. Also when it comes to the development and use of new technologies. Against this background, I believe Denmark has a strong foundation to spearhead the work with data ethics and “safe AI”. With the coming national AI strategy, it is the vision that Denmark by 2025 is among the leading countries in the responsible and ethical use of AI. The strategy will help to ensure that public authorities and private companies have the best framework conditions for experimenting with and exploiting opportunities in AI. And – importantly – it will establish ethical principles for the application of AI to ensure that it is used appropriately and with full respect for privacy, security and the need for transparency.

Thanks for your insights Steen, if you have any questions about joining the event, sponsorship or speaker submissions email us enquiry@digitalenterprisefest.com

If you cannot make our Copenhagen event, fear not, we will be in LondonBarcelonaAmsterdam & Stockholm later in the year, click www.digitalenterprisefest.com for details.

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