AI Sweden is the national initiative to accelerate the use of applied AI in Sweden and startups are a big part of that. To help AI startups grow, in particular by boosting their AI competence, AI Sweden has initiated a Startup Program to help new companies on their journey. But who can apply to the program and what are the perks? We talked to Katarina Fégeant, Startup Program Manager at AI Sweden, to get the answers to all your questions!

Can you give us a brief introduction to the Startup Program? 

The AI Sweden Startup Program, launched in May 2020, aims to support startups on their AI journey. The program has three different stages, connected to the maturity level of the startup.

We know that startups, although small in size, play a large role in accelerating innovations and new techniques and this also goes for AI startups. Within the program we offer training, testing environments and the opportunity to engage in challenge driven projects.
With more than 100 partners – corporates, public sector, academia, startups, authorities, research institutes and consultants – we also offer great networking opportunities and a thriving startup community.

For whom is the Startup Program?

The Startup Program has three stages. Learn, Connect and Accelerate. Startups that don’t work with AI today or are early in their process can be part of the Learn-stage.  The next stage, Connect, is for registered startups with AI as a core to their business. They probably have their own AI engineers or Data Scientist among their employees. The third stage, Accelerate, are for mature startups that are ready to scale up and can add value to the other partners of AI Sweden. You can apply to the first two stages but to be a part of the third one you must be invited by AI Sweden.

What are the perks for participating startups?

First of all, you get access to a really competent AI network. For the Learn stage you get access to our newsletter, workshops, and seminars/webinars. At the next stage, Connect, you get to join our AI Startup Community, we meet up every other Monday and listen to lecturers and network. We also have a common Slack channel where we spread interesting and important information, discuss relevant questions, and support each other. In stage three, Accelerate, you become a  partner to AI Sweden and have the possibility to participate in our projects and use the test environments within the Data Factory and Edge Lab. You can get introduced to possible investors and corporate partners to us, and you also have  the opportunity to discuss legal and ethical questions related to data sharing.

How do you apply?

The first stage, Learn, is open to all and you simply sign up on AI Sweden’s website. To join the second stage, Connect, you apply on the website, it takes about ten minutes. We then let an internal committee determine whether the applicants are mature enough for the program, if not we offer them to take part of the Learn stage until they are more mature. The third stage, Accelerate, is accessible only after invitation by AI Sweden.

Does it cost anything to join?

It is completely free to be part of stage 1 and 2. At stage 3 AI Sweden requests an In Kind- contribution. For example, you can host a workshop or a hackathon, share your product with other partners or write a report on a topic that is relevant to the community. We believe in investing together and sharing to many.

If you have more questions about AI Sweden’s Startup Program, please contact Katarina Fégeant.

To get in touch with AI Sweden here in Östergötland, reach out to Node Manager Niclas Fock.