New startup competition for entrepreneurs within Sound and Home Integration

October 20, 2015

Europe’s most ambitious startup competition Next Step Challenge is growing. The startup competition has added a new track in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen a/s located in Struer/Holstebro (North Jutland).

The Færch Foundation (Færchfonden) and Bang & Olufsen a / s have partnered up with Next Step Challenge in the Science Park Nupark located in Holstebro / Struer. It is the first time for Next Step Challenge to start another track of the competition.

Startups with good ideas in the field of sound and home integration are invited to develop and test their products and market knowledge in collaboration with professionals from (among others) Bang & Olufsen a / s. The competition’s application deadline is December 1st, 2015.

But why do Færchfonden and Bang & Olufsen a / s choose to engage in the Next Step Challenge competition? Færchfonden is  a partner to support new activities in the area of Struer / Holstebro and to attract new businesses and jobs. “Færchfonden is interested in supporting initiatives that contribute to the development of entrepreneurship and strengthen the business environment in Western Jutland. That is exactly the idea behind Next Step Challenge and we expect that the project in the long run will create growth and jobs in the area “says Martin Vang Hansen, director of Færchfonden.

Christian Iversen, Vice President of Bang & Olufsen a / s acknowledges: “Digitialization offers great opportunities for a company like ours and opens up for new business models and partnerships. We have strong development skills here that we wish to build  upon and we look forward to being inspired by the talents from around the world. This may in turn help to further boost innovation in the local area. ”

Nupark in Holstebro will get an international inspiration boost when the doors open for the coming finalists in sound and home integration on  April 1st 2016. This is the date when the  finalist companies will move to Struer/Holstebro, and just like in Esbjerg, become part of a buzzling development environment. Initially there will be 5 to 7 companies in Holstebro / Struer.

Next Step Challenge – close collaboration is vital

Europe’s most ambitious entrepreneurship competition has already been running for two years in Esbjerg with a focus on smart energy and digitalization. Accelerace provides business development to the companies participating in the Next Step Challenge competition, in cooperation with SE’s innovation department, SE Next Step and Nupark.

The experience of the first two rounds are the basis for the new initiative in Nupark with Bang & Olufsen a / s, and it is especially the location close to a big firm that provides finalist companies with unique opportunities.

The openness at SE and now also at Bang & Olufsen a / s is crucial and the established business network that the hosts can provide is equally as important. “The competition has got great value and it is clearly the result of the direct integration into these large companies that  raises the level  compared to other competitions. It also enables to increase the speed of development for the startups participating in Next Step Challenge. The synergy that occurs when innovative talents and a professional company collaborate, creates new inspiration and provides value for both parts, “says Lisbeth Valther, Managing Director at SE NextStep.

New Track reschedule – also in Esbjerg

The program for Next Step Challenge in Esbjerg has been postponed in order to give synergy, inspiration and network exchange for the startups enrolled in the two competition tracks in Holstebro and Esbjerg. Thus the two programs will start their first sprint on February 1st and startups will relocate to Holstebro and Esbjerg on April 1rst 2016th.

Accelerace´s CEO Peter Torstensen elaborates: “We build upon this successful concept from the first two rounds and look forward to working with talents in the field of sound and home integration in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen a / s. We will continue providing high quality and top international entrepreneurial talents and we hope that we can help strengthen the valuable ecosystem around soundo and home integration in North Jutland.”

Facts about Next Step Challenge (NSC)

– The Innovation House, SE Energy and Digitalization and the accelerator program Accelerace are behind the initiative Next Step Challenge (NSC).

– Next Step Challenge program consists of– on top of a two-month online course – a six months period of intensive business development in Esbjerg and now Holstebro that will test and ripen startups ideas. The program ends with a final ceremony, where the winner of the programs will be announced.

– Apply the NSC Holstebro now: http://nextstepchallenge.com/apply/sound/

For further information:

• Christian Iversen – VP People, Strategy & Organizational enablement at Bang & Olufsen a / s, CIV@Bang-Olufsen.dk, 29 22 89 04

• Martin Vang Hansen – Director, Færchfonden, faerchfonden@faerchfonden.dk, 96 10 60 30

• Peter Torstensen – CEO, Accelerace, pto@accelerace.dk, 39 17 99 93

• Lisbeth Valther – Managing Director, SE Next Step, lisval@se.dk, 2030 8452

Bang & Olufsen a / s: Bang & Olufsen a / s produces a wide range of unique television and music systems, loudspeakers and multimedia products that combine innovative technologies with an elegant design. www.bang-olufsen.com

Færchfonden: Færchfonden (The Færch Foundation) supports entrepreneurship, growth and local attractiveness in West Jutland through the development of entrepreneurship, business, culture, etc. Among other things, Færchfonden has invested in Nupark Innovation A / S, creating new businesses and jobs in the North West Jutland. www.faerchfonden.dk

Nupark: Nupark is a 12,000 sqm development park with about 100 companies. Nupark offers entrepreneurial and business services. www.nupark.dk

Accelerace: Accelerace is Scandinavia’s leading accelerator program working with the most promising Danish and international entrepreneurs and growth companies. www.accelerace.dk

SE Next Step: SE NextStep is SE’s center for knowledge and innovation with focus on digitalization, data and energy. The Innovation house is the setting for the Next Step Challenge in Esbjerg, and opens its doors directly into the SE group for the contest participants. www.nextstepcity.com www.se.dk

Bang & Olufsen a/s’ test facilities

Bang & Olufsen a/s’ test facilities