I was in Copenhagen 16 – 18 November to chair the EBAN Institute’s Winter University programme, which was hosted by the Business Angels Copenhagen in cooperation with the Creative Business Cup of Denmark. The EBAN Winter University was held at the Copenhagen Business School and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and hosted more than 500 participants from all over the world. The EBAN Winter University & the Creative Business Cup started with a reception hosted by the US Ambassador to Denmark at his residence and ended with the ceremony where the Crown Prince of Denmark participated as a guest of honour. At the ambassador’s reception, the Culture Minister of Denmark made a speech welcoming all participants.
This year I gave a keynote speech (The EBAN Institute as a bridge to converting public money to smart money with business angels), spoke on a panel discussion (Redefining public private partnership in funding innovation) and at a round-table (H2020 and business angels working together for success stories) and moderated a round-table discussion (Globalisation of angel financing).
The EBAN Winter University, the annual learning-focused gathering of the European Business Angels Network, is a privileged setting for startups to learn from the best and to extend professional networks with experts. Every year, one of the EBAN members hosts the EBAN Winter University. As chairman of the EBAN Institute, I know how difficult it is for our partners to prepare an intensive 2-day programme for participants, so I’d like to express my appreciation to Jesper Jarlbæk, the Chairman of the Business Angels Copenhagen, and Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Chairman of the Business Angels Cup of Denmark, for all their efforts to make it an excellent event for the European business angels ecosystem.
This was my first time in Denmark and I was very happy to be in the country of the people who had touched my childhood: the only toys at home were Legos, and now I was in the country where the Lego idea originated.
Another thing I will remember about Copenhagen is that it is the first city where I felt like a world-class starJ. As I was leaving for the airport, the hotel reception called a taxi for me. The taxi driver was a man of about 60 years of age who had been living in Copenhagen more than 30 years. He had never been to Turkey but he spoke Turkish fluently. He told me he was a Macedonian and had a home in Macedonia but that he had never been to Turkey. It turns out that he was always watching Turkish TV stations at home in Denmark. He immediately recognised me because he was a fan of The Weakest Link, a programme I host in Turkey. After taking photographs in the taxi, he didn’t even want to take my fare. It took me more than 5 minutes to convince him to take itJ
On this visit to Copenhagen, my EBAN friends and I enjoyed the dishes of the restaurant that won the Best Restaurant of the World title four years in a row. I had been on the waiting list of the restaurant and was confirmed only a few days before. A particularly interesting fact about the restaurant is that the chef is from Albania, yet I couldn’t find any Balkan or Ottomans taste in the courses presentedJ. You will read more about it later on in these notes.
I have some tips for families travelling with children: One of the world’s most magical pleasure parks, Tivoli Gardens in the heart of Copenhagen, features white-knuckle rides, a parade band, family entertainment and much more.
One more note: We experienced the passport control for the first time in the history of Denmark and Sweden because of the terrorist attacks in Paris a few days before. We were thus in Copenhagen in the most secured time in Denmark’s history! After crossing the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö, Sweden, passengers were met by a police control — this was the first time ever. That was also a memorable moment for people living in Denmark and Sweden.
Denmark has a high-income economy that ranks 18th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 6th in nominal GDP per capita – As of 2014 a liberalisation of import tariffs in 1797 marked the end of mercantilism, and further liberalisation in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century established the Danish liberal tradition in international trade that was only to be broken by the 1930s. Property rights have enjoyed strong protection. Denmark’s economy stands out as one of the most free in the Index of Economic Freedom and the Economic Freedom of the World. Denmark is the 13th most competitive economy in the world, and 8th in Europe, according to the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015.
Denmark has the fourth highest ratio of tertiary degree holders in the world. The country ranks as the world’s highest for workers’ rights. The GDP per hour worked was the 13th highest in 2009. The country has a market income inequality close to the OECD average, but after public cash transfers, the income inequality is very low. According to the International Monetary Fund, Denmark has the world’s highest minimum wage. As Denmark has no minimum wage legislation, the high wage floor has been attributed to the power of trade unions. For example, as the result of a collective bargaining agreement between the 3F trade union and the employers group Horesta, workers at McDonald’s and other fast food chains make the equivalent of US$20 an hour, which is more than double what their counterparts earn in the United States, and they have access to five weeks’ paid vacation, parental leave and a pension plan.
Copenhagen is rich in companies and institutions with a focus on research and development in the biotechnology and life science sectors. Two of the 50 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world are located in the Copenhagen metropolitan area. The biotechnology and life science cluster in Copenhagen and the rest of the Øresund Region is one of the strongest in Europe. Known as Medicon Valley, it is a collaborative venture supported by both Denmark and Sweden. The aim is to strengthen the region’s position and to promote cooperation between companies and academia. Hundreds of companies have been established in the area, the majority on the Danish side of the sound.
Copenhagen is the economic and financial centre of Denmark. Statistics for 2010 show that, of the 350,000 people working in Copenhagen, the vast majority are employed in the service sector, especially transport and communications, trade, and finance, while fewer than 10,000 work in the manufacturing industries. The public sector workforce is around 110,000, including education and healthcare. From 2006 to 2011, the economy grew by 2.5% in Copenhagen and the Copenhagen Municipality, while it fell by some 4% in the rest of Denmark.
In Dansk Industri’s 2013 survey of employment factors in 96 Danish municipalities, Copenhagen came in first place for educational qualifications and for the development of private companies in recent years, but it fell to no. 86 in local companies’ assessment of the employment climate. The survey revealed considerable dissatisfaction with the level of dialogue companies enjoyed with the municipal authorities. In 2012, Copenhagen was third in the ranking of the richest cities in the world in terms of gross earnings, dropping from first place in 2009. In the 2011 UBS survey of prices and earnings, Copenhagen had fallen to fifth place for price levels while it held third place in gross wage levels and was said to have the highest purchasing power in terms of gross hourly wages, although it was only in 12th place in terms of domestic purchasing power.
EBAN is the pan-European representative for the early stage investor community, gathering 146 member organisations in 41 countries today. Established in 1999 by a group of pioneer angel networks in Europe with the collaboration of the European Commission and EURADA, EBAN represents a sector estimated to invest 7.5 billion Euros a year and playing a vital role in Europe’s future, notably in the funding of SMEs. EBAN fuels Europe’s growth through the creation of wealth and jobs.
EBAN’s 5 Pillars of Activity
- Setting professional standards, training, and certification
- Benchmarking, research and networking with peers
- Raising awareness and capacity building
- Cross-border syndication and co-investment support
EBAN Membership Benefits
- Staying on top of trends in the early stage investment market
- Building new relationships and new business opportunities by networking with peers
- Getting answers to day-to-day challenges: Don’t reinvent the wheel, we might have the solution!
- Access to the EBAN resource centre, statistical data reports, policy publications, and monthly newsletter
- Special opportunities to participate in EBAN and other relevant events in the industry
- Certification for networks and training for BAN managers
- Sharing of information on investment trends, industry opportunities and best-practice techniques
- Promoting the growth of organisations and contributing to the legislative and fiscal environment expertise
EBAN Chair: Candace Johnson
The EBAN Institute is an independent international research and education initiative fostering the development of business angels. Headquartered in Brussels, it bridges the gap between scientific research and practical experience. In Europe in particular, the potential of risk capital is far from being exhausted. The EBAN Institute facilitates an on-going exchange of experiences not only within but also across regional angel networks. The goals of the Institute are to:
- increase the number of business angels in start-up ecosystems.
- strengthen active angels with best practices grounded in both experience and research.
- connect business angels across borders for on-going learning.
In order to achieve these goals, the Institute organises workshops, conducts a comprehensive course preparing participants for CBA certification (Certified Business Angel) and supports alumni through the CBA Cercle.
EBAN Institute Chair: Baybars Altuntas
The Winter University – the annual learning-focused gathering of the EBAN Institute – is the privileged setting to learn from the best and to extend professional networks with experts who, as angel investors, can directly contribute to startup performance or to the success of their organisations. Every year, one of the EBAN members hosts the EBAN Winter University. This year it was BAC – Business Angels Copenhagen. Previous hosts have included FIBAN in Finland, AAIA, the Austrian Angel Investors Association in Vienna, and TBAA, the Business Angels Association of Turkey hosted in Istanbul.
Here is the full programme of the EBAN Winter University in Copenhagen:
BAC – Business Angels Copenhagen
Business Angels Copenhagen (BAC) was the result of a merger in 2011 of two Angel networks located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Initially there were 55 members. That number has since grown to around 100. Additionally, BAC currently has 17 corporate partners. BAC is 100 % privately financed. BAC is an association led by a Board of eight members.
BAC’s mission is to promote favourable operating conditions for start-ups in Denmark and to encourage individuals to make investments in and provide guidance to early stage companies.
The annual current investment activity is around 10 mill. €. (2014)
In 2014, BAC members made a total of 30 exits and these exits returned 2,7 the investment on average (including 11 write-offs ).
In 2014, nineteen BAC members established the first international BAC angel UK, investing in 6 UK companies. In 2015, thirty BAC members established the second international BAC angel fund, investing in a handful of Estonian and Finnish companies.
BAC was awarded recognition by EBAN in 2014 as the “Best Performing EBAN member”.
In 2015, BAC co-hosted the EBAN Winter University in Copenhagen. This was the largest Business Angel event ever held in Denmark, with 700 participants from 55 countries.
Business Angels Copenhagen Chair: Jesper Jarlbæk
The Creative Business Cup
The Creative Business Cup is the global initiative for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Its purpose is to strengthen the business skills of creative entrepreneurs, aiming to increase all participating startups’ ability to successfully create a company based on their creative abilities. The Creative Business Cup looks for new and revolutionary business ideas stemming from the creative industries. The business idea must have a strong market potential, and at least one person from each team must have an education or background in the creative industries.
The goals of Creative Business Cup are to:
- Strengthen the business skills of entrepreneurs within the creative industries
- Promote entrepreneurship within the creative industries
- Promote winners and role models
How does Creative Business Cup work?
Each year national partners around the world host local Creative Business Cup competitions. As a startup, the national partner is the entry point to competing as a finalist at the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen.
National winners from around the world compete against each other at the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen each November during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Startups from all countries also have the opportunity to come to Copenhagen for the international finals but will not be qualified to compete for the title as the world’s best creative entrepreneur.
Creativity: Creative competencies are crucial for the success of the business concept.
Market potential: The business concept must have a large market potential.
Ultimately, the Creative Business Cup is about change and empowerment, supporting entrepreneurs around the world
Why Entrepreneurs from the Creative Industries? Why a Creative Business Cup?
Worldwide, the creative industries contribute significantly to growth and jobs, and to the development of new, innovative solutions to the challenges that companies and societies face. Also, traditional industries become more innovative and competitive when collaborating with creative companies or “creatives”, called cross-sector innovation. The creative industries contribute to a more dynamic, competitive and innovative society in many ways.
The road from being an entrepreneur in the creative industries to becoming a growing company is more challenging than for entrepreneurs in other sectors. All entrepreneurs face challenges in business development, internationalisation and access to finance, but for entrepreneurs in the creative industries, the obstacles to growth are greater. For example, creative entrepreneurs are often perceived as more risky investments, which is not the case when one looks at studies on insolvencies, where creative companies actually do better, also in times of crisis. In other words, the possibilities for growth, jobs and innovation are not recognised.
Chair: Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning
I had been in Beijing 12 – 15 November to participate at the launch ceremony of the Chinese version of the Angels Without Borders, a recently published book on angel investment to which I contributed as author of the chapter on Turkey. This new book offers insights from 25 countries where angel investment is highly developed.
Here is a gift for you:
Enjoy the chapter I wrote: 3_20_TURKEY_TO AUTHOR
The event was combined with the global angel investment forum at the Shangri-La Beijing Hotel, where I was a panel speaker in the special discussion session: How do the cycles and objectives of angel investing work in different countries?
So I had to fly to Copenhagen from Beijing. I took the Turkish Airlines 00:50am flight to Istanbul, landing at 5:15am and then boarding the 8:50 flight from Istanbul to arrive in Copenhagen at 11:10am. It was a lovely Sunday for me, starting in the plane just after midnight and flying until the afternoon.
What was great in Copenhagen was that I landed at 11:10am and I was at the hotel at 11:40. Yes! You read it right! Landing – passport –taxi – arrival at the hotel all happened in 30 minutes! I loved the Copenhagen airport!
However, it was a cold, rainy day.
Because the EBAN community was staying at the Copenhagen Strand Hotel, I preferred staying there too. And Jesper, our dear friend from Copenhagen, recommended this hotel.
- Location: Perfect! It is in walking distance of the harbour, the city centre, etc. And The general atmosphere of the hotel is nice.
- Service: Ridiculous – All the EBAN people (Candace, Jacoppo, Emmanuele, Cloyn and I) had to wait until 3pm to get our rooms because that was the rule. If you fly from Beijing to Copenhagen and dream of catching a few hours of sleep on a Sunday afternoon in Copenhagen, forget it! The hotel administration is eager to squash your dreamsJ.
- If you need some info about sightseeing tours in the city, the answer of the reception staff: We have no idea. Check Google!
- Rooms: I couldn’t fit my legs into the room because my height is 160 cm and the room’s length is 120 cmJ Of course I am joking, but I believe this room must have been the smallest in the world.
However, if you are travelling for business purposes and if you want to stay with your colleagues, then that is fine! Otherwise, forget it!
When I arrived at the hotel, the EBAN team was working very hard. Candace, Jacoppo, Emanuele and Chloe were all dealing with the details of the event. Because the rooms were unavailable until 3pm, we had 3 wonderful hours to do some work.
The reception ended around 8pm and we walked to a very nice restaurant, led by Juan Roure. Because his son was living in Copenhagen, it was not surprising that was able to suggest the best restaurant close to the hotel. It was a lovely time to chat with friends who had come from all corners of Europe. The food was excellent and I highly recommend dining there if you visit Copenhagen. I will keep you informed when I recall the name of the restaurant.
Around 11pm we were all back at the hotel.
Paulo and I took a taxi to the Copenhagen Business School, where the global investment forum would be held. Because I was one of the global jury members, I listened to the pitches of entrepreneurs between 5:45pm and 6:30pm with other jury members. Pitches came from the best projects of the Creative Business Cup and they were all good. There were about 15 global jury members and over 50 people in the audience.
After the investment forum, we were taken to the residence of the US Ambassador to Denmark to attend a welcome reception hosted by the Creative Business Cup 2016 & EBAN Winter University Copenhagen. We also listened to the insights of Denmark’s Culture Minister in his welcome speech.
After a lovely 2 hours at the reception, it was time to go to an incubation centre in Sweden. Because Malmö, Sweden is so close to Copenhagen, it took just 45 minutes to cross the bridge connecting Malmö and Copenhagen. Because of the terrorist attacks a few days earlier in Paris, for the first time ever in the history of Denmark and Sweden, there was a police control after crossing the bridge. However, because we were on a bus, we passed the control without being checkedJ.
We attended a pleasant reception at an incubation centre in Malmö, where I found a good opportunity to chat with friends. Around 10:30pm, we were taken back to the hotel area in Copenhagen and after a few minutes’ walk with Emmanuele and Chloe of EBAN, I was in my room at the hotel around 11.30pm.
The Øresund or Öresund Bridge is a double-track railway and motorway bridge across the Øresund strait between Scania (in southernmost Sweden) and Denmark. The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm, which lies in the middle of the strait. The crossing of the strait is completed by a 4 km (2.5-mile) underwater tunnel, called the Drogden Tunnel, from Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager. The term Øresund Bridge often includes this tunnel.
The Øresund Bridge is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe and connects two major metropolitan areas: Copenhagen, the Danish capital city, and the major Swedish city of Malmö. It connects the road and rail networks of the Scandinavian Peninsula with those of Central and Western Europe. A data cable also makes the bridge the backbone of internet data transmission between central Europe and Sweden/Finland.
I was in the breakfast room around 7am and we took a taxi to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts to attend the EBAN Board Meeting, which was to start at 8am.
After the EBAN Board Meeting in a classroom of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, it was time to go to the main hall of the Academy, where the EBAN Winter University would start at 9am. After the opening speeches, we proceeded to the rest of programme.
The sun was shining outside and the feng-shui of the conference hall was excellent. It was a really lovely beginning for a winter day under a brightly shining sun. In the opening ceremony, there were more than 500 entrepreneurs and investors in the audience.
13:45 – 14:45 – (Main hall KADK)
Moderator: Peter Wintlev-Jensen, EU Commission
- Klaus Bock, Member of the ERC Scientific Council
- Baybars Altuntas, Vice President, EBAN
- Paulo Calçada, City of Porto Head of Innovation Unit
16:20 – 17:00 – (Main hall KADK)
Moderator: Baybars Altuntas, EBAN Vice President
- Professor Josh Lerner, Harvard Business School (video)
- Konstantin Fokin, NBAA President and EBAN Board Member
- Tomi Davies, ABAN President
- David S. Rose, Global Business Angel, Moderator (video)
Around 6.30pm, Ana, Paulo and I left the venue to change for the gala dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel. We took an in-city ferry from the Royal Academy to the harbour in just a few minutes, which was just a short walking distance from our hotel.
We agreed to meet at 7:30 in the lobby and then went to our rooms. I wanted to sleep a little bit because I had 30 minutes to spare. But when I opened my eyes, it was around 9:30pm. I missed the gala dinner this time, so I won’t be able to make any comments about this year’s gala dinner. However, I heard that it was an excellent dinner and everybody was happy.
I was ready at the lobby by 7:30pm because we had EBAN General Assembly at 8am. After the General Assembly, at 9am I attended a very interesting session of the EBAN Institute:
EIF Business Angel Co-Investment Funds.
I was a round-table speaker at 11:30am.
11 30 – 12 30, The Royal Danish Academy of Arts, Copenhagen
- Moderator: Ana Barjasic, EBAN EU Project
In the afternoon session of the programme, as the Chair of the EBAN Institute, I gave the following keynote speech at 13 30.
13:30 – 14:00 (Main hall KADK)
- Baybars Altuntas, Chair, EBAN Institute
This year’s event ended with a great closing ceremony, where we learned the winners of the Creative Business Cup 2016 and listened to the closing speech, delivered by the Crown Prince of Demark.
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts is under the administration of the Danish Ministry of Culture, which has the oldest independent school of architecture in the world and one of the most prestigious and competitive in the world.
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation was founded over 250 years ago, in 1754, as The Royal Danish Painting, Sculpture and Building Academy in honour of the 31st birthday of King Frederik V.
It was a lovely experience to attend the EBAN Winter University in such a world-renowned institute.
Noma – The Best Restaurant of the World
After the closing ceremony, it was time to take taxis to Noma.
Noma is a two-star Michelin restaurant run by chef René Redzepi in Copenhagen. The name is a portmanteau of the two Danish words “nordisk” (Nordic) and “mad” (food). Opened in 2003, the restaurant is known for its reinvention and interpretation of the Nordic cuisine. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, it was ranked as the Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine. The restaurant is located in an old warehouse on the waterfront in the Christianshavn neighbourhood of central Copenhagen.
The building is situated by the Greenlandic Trading Square, which for 200 years was a centre for trade to and from the Faroe Islands, Finnmark, Iceland, and in particular, Greenland. Dry fish, salted herring, whale oil and skins are among the goods that were stored in and around the warehouse before being sold off to European markets.
In 2003 the warehouse was turned into North Atlantic House, a centre for the arts and culture in the North Atlantic region. Noma was opened at the same time by Redzepi and Claus Meyer. The restaurant’s interior is designed by Space Copenhagen.
Between 12 and 16 February 2013, 63 of 435 diners took ill after eating at Noma, according to a Danish Food Administration report. The symptoms were attributed to norovirus, which was believed to have been unintentionally spread by an infected kitchen employee.
Redzepi plans to close Noma after 31 December 2016 and reopen it in 2017 as an urban farm near Copenhagen.
fter this experience, would I advise you to try Noma?
Let me not make any comment about this.
Our reservation was for 8pm and we were back at the hotel around 10:30pm.
After a very intensive day, it was time to say good-bye to my friends, some of whom were leaving Copenhagen very early in the morning.
I got up around 8am and decided to have a walk outside the hotel a little bit because it was not raining and there was a nice sun shining. After a nice breakfast, I took a 45-minute walk and enjoyed taking some photos on the street before leaving this nice city. On my way, very close to the hotel, I came across a very nice Italian tie shop. Textiles are very well developed in Turkey and it is unusual for Turks to buy textile products abroad. But surprisingly, these hand-made ties were excellent. After buying 3 hand-made ties in the shop, I was back at the hotel at 10am. I brought down my bags and completed the check-out procedures.
The taxi driver came to the reception to find me. This was an excellent moment for me because as soon as he saw me, he immediately said: You are on The Weakest Link!
I won’t forget this moment because I felt just like an international starJ. The taxi driver was about 60 years old and had been living in Copenhagen more than 30 years. He had never been to Turkey but he was speaking Turkish fluently and had a home in Macedonia. He was a Macedonian Turk living Macedonia but had never been to Turkey. It seems he was always watching Turkish TV stations at home in Denmark. He immediately recognised me because he was a fan of The Weakest Link I host on Turkey TV. After taking photographs in the taxi, he even didn’t want accept the fare. It took me more than 5 minutes to convince him to take itJ.
Arriving in Istanbul at 4:45pm, I took a domestic flight to Adana at 7:15pm and arrived there at 9:05pm. My wife was waiting for me at the airport to go directly to our summer house in Mersin (45 minutes from the Adana airport), where I would sleep non-stop for 48 hours surrounded by the scent of lemon trees, the chirping of birds and sound the sea.
It was fun for me, after having to bundle up in heavy clothes in Copenhagen to put on just a t-shirt the next morning on the south coast of Turkey, where the daytime temperature was 20 degrees Celsius J.
I want to congratulate Candace Johnson, EBAN President, Jesper Jarlbæk, President of the Business Angels Copenhagen and Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Chairman of the Creative Business Cup for all their efforts to make the EBAN Institute Winter University a great event. And on behalf of the EBAN Institute, I’d like to thank all the speakers, contributors, panel moderators and EBAN members for their excellent contributions, involvement in and commitment to producing a real value for the European entrepreneurship and angel investment ecosystem.
Happy new year!