Business News in Brief: Learning disabilities app eyes UK launch following surge in usage

Also in the pipeline are shorter coach services following a relaxation of the law, and the forthcoming launch of Great Dane Airlines despite the resignation of its flight director over CV irregularities

Tiimo – the app that helps people with ADHD, autism and other learning disabilities – is this week being launched in the UK following a successful first year that saw over 1,000 start using it (including 500 since November).

READ MORE: Danish startup launching interactive app to help special needs kids at school

Profiled by CPH POST last year, the interactive smartwatch app is tailor-made for special needs students to thrive.

In the past year, it has also been mentioned by Forbes, and last week it even appeared on Denmark’s answer to ‘Dragons’ Den’. However, despite winning praise, it failed to get funding.

Bus the news boss? New law will enable more coach routes
Parliament has approved an amendment presented by the Ministry of Transport that will enable private companies to offer more coach services. The law change means that coach travel will be available across distances as short as 75 km, and the ministry estimates the number of coach journeys will increase from 1.5 to 2.1 million a year as a result. For example, passengers will be able to travel between Aarhus and Aalborg, Esbjerg and Odense, and Næstved and Copenhagen. Previously their only public transport option was the train.

Paint company fined for spending nearly 100 million kroner on bribes
Danish paint manufacturer Hempel has been fined 200 million kroner for reportedly spending nearly 100 million kroner on bribes to ensure its products were chosen over others. Broken down, Hempel’s Danish parent company has been fined 197.5 million, and its German subsidiary 3 million euros. The bribery was particularly prevalent in Germany and several Asian countries. According to the Danish public prosecutor presiding over the case, Statsadvokaten for Særlig Økonomisk og International Kriminalitet (SØIK), it is the largest fine it has ever seen. Hempel has fired 50 employees as a result.

DTU startup rate jumps almost 50 percent in one year
Researchers and students at DTU established 87 startups in 2018 – a jump from 60 in 2017. Broken down, students accounted for 52 companies, and DTU employees 35. Among the companies were OptoCeutics (Alzheimer’s treatment), NoBriner (environmental desalination plants) and DrinkSaver (aid to help disabled people not waste water). The education and research minister, Tommy Ahlers, maintains it is just the beginning. “It is my goal that in ten years we will have ten new companies with a turnover of over 1 billion kroner each, which started as start-ups from our universities and research environments,” he said.

Restaurant numbers rising, as are bankruptcies
The number of restaurants in Denmark has risen from 15,637 in 2014 to 18,163 today, and the sector’s turnover has risen 10 billion kroner to around 45 billion kroner, according to figures from Danmarks Statistik.  Over the same period, the number of restaurant bankruptcies has doubled, from 261 in 2014 to 501 in 2018. Of the 1,858 bankruptcies since 2014, 501 have been in Copenhagen.

Domino’s retreats from Denmark with just the crusts of a business
Domino’s has served its last pizza in Denmark, as its Danish subsidiary has filed for bankruptcy. The chain has failed to regain customer confidence following damning revelations in the autumn that it was relabelling food to prolong its shelf life and that some of its kitchens were infested with rat faeces. In its 2016-2017 financial results, it set out a goal to become the largest fast food chain in Denmark – or at least according to the number of its outlets.

Danish companies poised to capitalise on US interest in wind energy
The eastern coast of the United States is expecting to see an explosion in the number of offshore wind farms over the next 10-15 years – great news for Danish companies with a strong foothold in the sector. There are already plans to build facilities amounting to 16,000 MW, producing enough electricity to supply 10 million US homes. The state of New York has targeted a 9,000 MW capacity by 2035, with more states set to follow.

DFDS considering options on its Copenhagen-Oslo route
DFDS has confirmed it will make a decision about replacing its two passenger ships operating between Copenhagen and Oslo – the Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways – within the next five years. Should DFDS seek to replace the vessels, it will take three years. DFDS has spent “hundreds of millions of kroner on keeping the ships up to the highest standards”, but the ships – launched in 1994 and 1989 respectively – are simply getting older. Some 775,000 passengers used the service last year, generating an annual turnover of around 0.8 billion kroner, which is around 5 percent of DFDS’s total consolidated revenue.

Airline executive steps down over fictional CV claims
Great Dane Airlines hasn’t even launched yet, but already one of its executives, Huy Duc Nguyen, has resigned after it emerged he had included fictional employment positions on his CV. The co-owner and flight director is also stepping down from the board of the new north Jutland airline, which announced last month that it expects to launch in the summer, with operations based at Aalborg Airport.