We’ve recently seen SmiLe Incubator chosen over a number of competing international organisations to provide business development expertise to Russia’s largest life science incubator, tell us more about this…
– Smile was selected by Skolkovo Science Park and Incubator in fierce competition among several international organizations. During this fall, Smile´s internal business advisers and experts will coach and prepare the top six life science start-ups in Russia – who will be selected during a process in several steps held by Skolkovo – for the international market.
You mention that internationalisation has been a focus for SmiLe Incubator, without giving away all of your trade secrets, what other initiatives are you exploring?
– We continue to expand our participation in major European initiatives. We are very proud that we have been included in the European Bridgehead programme that provides European start-ups and scale-ups with tailor-made support and coaching in order to expanding beyond their home market. The value for us includes an extended network, further possibilities for our own start-ups, as well as added experiences and competences for the Smile team that will bring even more value to our entrepreneurs.
In your opinion, what sets SmiLe Incubator apart from other incubators?
– We´re really good in collaborating with other organisations in the innovation system, and in finding contacts that can help and pave the way for the start-ups. In particular, we have a smooth and seamless cooperation with Lund University, where many excellent researchers come up with innovations. We – together with the university´s technology transfer office – help them to develop and commercialize their business ideas. In addition, in the last few years we have focused on strengthen our international investor and industry networks. Also, we have a number of well-equipped laboratories that our incubator companies can use, an opportunity that not so many incubators can provide.
What does it mean to you personally to be CEO of the Incubator?
– It´s a privilege to work and collaborate with extremely smart driven and curious people. Our kind of environment tends to attract persons with these traits so going to work is always fun. And the icing on the cake is being able to follow the individual entrepreneurs and see them succeed. A bit like a proud parent and just like in parenting – you have only played a small but hopefully an important role in providing an environment and context that promote growth.
In the last few years we have seen a big drive towards e-health, how do you see the next few years playing out?
– Digitalization will most certainly be integrated in every part of the health care sector. However, a major challenge will be to develop sustainable business models: Who will pay for preventive care and solutions? Another hurdle is regulations and data privacy protection as the development moves faster than the laws. At Smile we work closely with experts and representatives from the Industry to be in the forefront of the development.
SmiLe will start an accelerator program this fall, tell me more about this.
– We offer early stage healthtech, medtech and e-health start-ups and entrepreneurs an intensive 2-month global acceleration program, Health2B. It´s a free distance learning accelerator where we help entrepreneurs validate their ideas by focusing on customer needs, and start working on or sharpening their business plan. Previously, we´ve run four accelerator batches on site, but now we´ll extend the services by e-learning modules and thereby facilitate for entrepreneurs from afar to join.