Clusters Collaboration – a Shortcut to International Markets

Clusters Collaboration – a Shortcut to International Markets

Together we are stronger. Life science and welfare technology companies that collaborate in clusters have a stronger impact on new foreign markets.

It is far easier for companies to enter a new international market if they can work together. Studies show that the degree of internationalisation increases significantly for small and medium-sized companies that participate in activities organised by business clusters. Suppliers to the care and healthcare sector, in particular, have greater chances of getting a foot in the door in a new country if they are part of a group or delegation.

Project Manager in Cluster Excellence Denmark, Kaspar Nielsen has more than ten years of experience with internationalisation. He explains:

“It is a huge job to enter a new market which is organised differently from your home market. This is particularly the case in the care and healthcare sector. Therefore, it is a clear advantage to make use of other companies’ experience and to join forces and cluster when planning to enter a new market,”.

Cluster Excellence Denmark is the national support function for innovation networks and business clusters in Denmark.

“Welfare Tech, has specialised in a ‘three-stage-rocket ­model’ for internationalisation in the field of care and healthcare” Says Karen Lindegaard, International koordinator,  Welfare Tech

In a health cluster, you will find small and large private companies, hospitals, municipalities, universities and other education and research organisations working together to develop, test and implement innovative solutions within healthcare and care.

The South Denmark European Office recommends collaboration in clusters as the path to international markets. The office assists companies, public authorities and other institutions in creating international development projects, partnerships, competencies and networks.

“It is clear to us that small and medium-sized companies in the healthcare sector that want to develop an international market, get added value when they collaborate with the Danish business clusters,” says Allan Nordby Ottesen, EU consultant at the South Denmark European Office.

Groups open doors

The Danish division of Prolog Development Center A/S – PDC, can confirm that the care and healthcare sector is clearly different in other countries. In 2019 PDC participated in an internationalisation programme with Welfare Tech – a Danish business cluster where 200 public and private members collaborate on the development and implementation of health technology.

“If we had been on our own, it would have been even more difficult to get a foot in the door in the German health­care sector. There was a mountain of knowledge we only obtained on the strength of our visit to Germany in collaboration with a business cluster,” explains Sales Director of PDC A/S, Ole Grønskov.

The Danish company, Wellness Nordic has achieved extra sales, networks and specific market knowledge by being a part of an international Welfare Tech-project.

“We have sold at least ten sensory chairs to German care centres as a direct result of participating in an internationalisation project. The project has helped us establish contact with a German dementia professor. The collaboration provides us with the latest knowledge in our field, and we have joined a German network which has contacts to the care centres we want to do business with,” explains Bent Bonde, director of Wellness Nordic.

Find the right stage

Among other things, the Danish clusters organise match-making, knowledge sharing, collaboration projects and internationalisation projects. In 2018, 4,758 companies participated in the most important Danish clusters’ international activities.

For several years, the technology cluster, Welfare Tech, has specialised in a ‘three-stage-rocket model’ for internationalisation in the field of care and healthcare. International coordinator, Karen Lindegaard, explains that the cluster ensures that members obtain advanced knowledge on global markets and participate in match-making and networking trips. Welfare Tech manages a number of innovation projects where the goal is to develop welfare technological solutions across national borders.

“Before you throw yourself into a new market, there is a need for a thorough analysis of both your own company and the healthcare sector in the country in which you want to do business. Therefore, we recommend that you participate in a clarification process or a pre-seminar before you go on a study trip or invest in expensive consultancy hours,” Karen Lindegaard explains.

International focus can give a lead

The global focus in the Danish clusters can help to make Denmark a leader in new technological fields, believes both Allan Nordby Ottesen, from the South Denmark European Office and Kaspar Nielsen, Cluster Excellence Denmark.

In 2020, Welltech Tech invites participants for several internationalisation projects. ‘Access & Acceleration’ is aimed towards Germany, the project Danish Healthtech is holding several activities that will assist SMEs to get into the Scottish market, as well as activities that focus on the Nordic region, the Netherlands and the USA. Digital Health & Care 4.0 will continue the strong Nordic/German cluster-to-cluster collaboration.


  • More than 18,000 Danish companies participate every year in activities in Danish clusters and innovation networks.
  • Companies that participate in the clusters’ activities achieve four times as high innovation power, and 3.6% increased productivity in comparison to other companies.

Source: Cluster Excellence, Denmark

The aticle was published in Børsen Insights – Healthtech, 31.03.2020

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