A grass roots movement that aims to unite the startup community in Copenhagen has come out fighting in its bid to turn the capital into one of the leading hubs in Europe.
“When you look at other cities, you can see they are progressing at a much faster pace,” explained Jasenko Hadzic, who was recently elected leader of #CPHFTW (Copenhagen for the win), to the Copenhagen Post.
“We need to start coming together and unite as entrepreneurs, if we are ever to place Copenhagen on the map.”
By and for entrepreneurs
#CPHFTW describes itself as “an open source model to community building”, which means that its information and facilities are available to all in an effort to strengthen relationships between startups and entrepreneurs in Copenhagen.
It saw the light of day in December 2013, when over 60 entrepreneurs, investors and community builders assembled to talk about how they could unite the startup ecosystem in Copenhagen as a whole.
Since then the initiative has held two big townhalls (meet-ups), assembling over 800 entrepreneurs, and it now has over 2,000 social media followers. It is fully financed by startups, truly making it “by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs”, according to #CPHFTW.
For the love of the capital
Driven by what one of its initiators, Martin Ferro-Thomsen, describes as “for the love of Copenhagen”, #CPHFTW wants Denmark to take as much pride from its entrepreneurial successes as it does from being the happiest country in the world.
However, it faces a big challenge to transform a fragmented community that mainly consists of clusters and individuals who badly need each other to develop their skills, ideas and ultimately their companies.
“There are many small clusters or people, who amongst themselves are well-connected, but who are not well-connected to the other clusters,” Karsten Deppert of Øresund Startups told the Copenhagen Post.
Opening hearts and doors
Hadzic argues that this fragmentation can only be solved by addressing a mindset through “breaking the ice” between clusters – a mission #CPHFTW aims to accomplish through its coffee club meetings (project groups), beer and networking events and online space for networking.
Hadzic hopes the project will help those involved in startups to become more “open-hearted” towards one another, changing the mindset of a nation that has a (perhaps ill-deserved) reputation for being a little cold.
Having their say
#CPHFTW’s next townhall meeting is on September 1, when it hopes to discuss important points for the initiative going forward: crucially what entrepreneurs in Copenhagen feel is missing and what should be prioritised by #CPHFTW over the next three to six months.
The third townhall will be the biggest of its kind, assembling well over 500 entrepreneurs and community builders in Copenhagen.
Future belongs to members
Hadzic stressed it is too early to say what will happen next.
“The reliance of #CPHFTW on its ‘community members’ and the value it places on their opinions means that until the meeting on September 1, the concrete direction of the initiative is yet to be decided upon,” he explained.
“What is clear, however, is that this initiative was started out of a love for Copenhagen, and in an attempt to address its needs, has a committed base of founders and supporters. It is definitely one to look out for in the future.”
#CPHFTW’s next townhall meeting is on September 1 at KPH Volume (Enghavevej 80) in Copenhagen. Attendance is free, but it is necessary to pre-register at eventbrite.com. #CPHFTW’s website is at cphftw.dk (currently in a beta version) where it plans to shortly reveal its calendar of coffee club meetings and events that are integral to the initiative.