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Encouraging Danish businesses to better exploit the foreign talent on their doorstep

A campaign by Entrepreneurship in Denmark, in co-operation with the Danish Trade Council, aims to encourage the development of mutual partnerships between Danish businesses and international entrepreneurs. It is hoped that this should result in a more innovative, flexible and productive economy.  

The campaign is based on research recently undertaken by Entrepreneurship in Denmark and special reports from statistics Denmark, which  shows that native companies can stimulate export-related growth by embracing international entrepreneurs’ unique skills and knowledge of new export markets.

In Denmark, despite a stated aim to open the country’s borders to highly-skilled workers through educational and immigration schemes, there is often a disjuncture between policy and practice.

The campaign, ‘More International Export Talents’, was created in order to tackle this problem. It is the organisers’ intention to exploit the untapped potential that is already present in Denmark – namely highly-skilled but under-informed non-ethnic Danes.

“We need to export more to the fast growing countries, and fortunately we already have people in Denmark who know the countries and understand the cultures,” contended  Kaare Danielsen, the founder of and

“We just need to bring the companies and the international talents together.”

Peter Tuborgh, a goodwill ambassador for the campaign and the CEO of Arla Foods, one of Denmark’s most successful exporters, agrees.

“Organisations with a workplace culture and business models that do this can increase performance by up to 35 percent and increase revenue from innovation projects by more than 300 percent,” he predicted.

However, according to Mette Boel, the head of the National Centre for Entrepreneurship, this is not as easy as it sounds.

“International talents must venture out and sell their particular skills and their unique knowledge about markets, languages, cultures and exports,” she explained.

“They must draw the companies’ attention to the fact that they have something special to offer in terms of their cultural backgrounds, and that they can open doors to new markets.”

She conceded that this is a shared responsibility – it is also up to Danish companies to take a bolder approach and welcome non-Danes.

The culmination of the campaign is a conference open to all budding entrepreneurs on November 19.

As well as offering an insight into the opportunities available for non-native Danes, it is hoped that the conference will be a match-making and networking function for Danish businesses and potential non-Danish entrepreneurs.

It is a great opportunity to meet international export consultants who have shared their experience and started up their own businesses. It is also unique because it offers potential international entrepreneurs free advice on how to succeed in the Danish market.

The conference, hosted by actress and writer Vivienne McKee, will begin with an address by Lars Thuesen, the state secretary of trade and strategy. Following this, there will be a series of short speeches and a debate between the audience and a panel of experts. In the afternoon, there will be a number of workshops to choose from aimed at developing export-based competencies.  

In addition, participants in the conference will witness the crowning of ‘Denmark’s Best Export Match’, a presentation of two examples of successful cooperation between a non-Dane and a company.

Admission to the conference is free of charge. To sign up, go to

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