Friday the 25th of August was rainy morning as you could tell by looking at the soaking wet participants as they rushed through the doors of Science Park Mjärdevi’s Creactive. As the clock approached 8:30, greetings and introductions were exchanged over steaming hot cups of coffee. A group of about 16 participants had gathered for today’s first Growth Circle meeting.
The network known as Growth Circle was created and developed by Mjärdevi Science Park but stems from a much bigger project – Växtzon. This is a collaboration between nine different incubators and science parks from Linköping, Norrköping, Eskilstuna, Strängnäs, Uppsala, Västerås, and Örebro, as well as the European Regional Development Fund. Continuous cooperation and exchanges across the incubators and parks instigated this exciting project. Växtzon was created with the ambition and vision to help more companies grow to the extent where they reach at least 100 million SEK in annual turnover.
Growth Circle is a network that provides guidance to selected companies in the region. It is primarily targeted at companies that are facing a growth spurt within the years to come but lacks the resources that will take them there. Through Growth Circle, companies are given access to knowledge, competence, coaching, and advice on how to tackle any obstacles that they may face on their journey of expansion. Growth Circle’s members are mostly tech- and software companies wishing to take their operations to a global level. The project is funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and the European Regional Development Fund .
Last time this Growth Circle group got together, the issue of complex sales was brought to discussion. Possible obstacles when it comes to areas such as leadership, internationalization, organization, and finance, were written on the timeline for future seminars to come, but today’s topic of discussion would be on the supply of competence. Every Growth Circle Group meets at six occasions for about half a day each time. Kristian Wirsén is the founder and CEO of NOVA Affärsutveckling, and was in charge of the supply of competence workshop that Friday morning. Wirsén impresses with over 18 years of experience in the field. As of today, Kristian works as a Management Consultant with a primary focus on leadership, coaching, change management and team development. His expertise and experience catalyze the discussions between the participants. By allowing them to share their experiences, current situation, and possible obstacles with others, companies can learn from each other and find new solutions to common problems.
Mikael Hult is the Chairman of the Board and one of Indentive’s representative at the Growth Circle meetings. Mikael informs us that Indentive is growing quite rapidly and is looking at a tenfold the turnover within the next couple of years. Growth Circle is the network that will assist Indentive in defining their expansion strategies needed to take the company to the next level. Mikael says that Indentive hopes to gain inspiration, motivation, and transpiration from participating in the Growth Circle network. That the new knowledge provided as well as the glimpse into different expansion strategies will help them reach their goal. “Making new acquaintances and fostering old ones is a part of the gain as well”, Mikael adds. He says that Identive is still under the process of reaching that goal but that participating in programs and networks like Growth Circle has confirmed that it truly gives him an opportunity to raise his eyesight for a moment. Not to mention the fact that he can take part of, and learn, interesting input from other companies in similar situations.
Daniel Kullgard is the Project Leader of Growth Circle as a part of Science Park Mjärdevi. He comments that the project’s long term goal is to be a contributing factor to the growth in the number of companies in Mjärdevi and its surroundings that has a turnover of more than 100 million SEK, but that there are smaller goals to be accomplished on the way. Growth Circle was created with the expectation that the participating companies can take part of past experiences of what a expansion looks like. “As a participant in Growth Circle, you ought to inspire, as well as get inspired, to want and dare to take your business to the next step. That the likelihood of making the right decision for one’s company increases by networking with other companies in the same situation”, says Daniel Kullgard. Another goal of importance is that the networking made at Growth Circle should not only be a learning experience, but also enrich the participating companies with new business opportunities.