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The Spirit of Entrepreneurship: Fostering a Climate for the Creation of Globally Successful New Enterprises in Denmark. Copenhagen, 30 September 2004. Kenneth P. Morse, Managing Director MIT Entrepreneurship Center.

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The Spirit of Entrepreneurship:Fostering a Climate for the Creation of Globally Successful New Enterprises in Denmark

Copenhagen, 30 September 2004

Kenneth P. Morse, Managing Director

MIT Entrepreneurship Center

One Amherst Street, Room E40-196 Cambridge, MA 02142-1352 USA

phone: +1-617-253-8653 fax: +1-617-253-8633

e-mail: [email protected]

My understanding of your goals and desired outcomes of this meeting
My Understanding of Your Goals and Desired Outcomes of this Meeting

  • You seek to foster a better climate for entrepreneurship in Denmark .

  • What does it take for Denmark to be one of the world’s leading entrepreneurial countries? How can Denmark create some globally competitive startups which achieve significant sustainable growth? [Rather than merely giving birth to thousands of perpetually petite pigmies…]

  • What kind of framework and ecosystem is needed for the birthing of these future giants?

    • Smart, ambitious people

    • Demanding customers

    • Venture finance (not banks)

  • What can Denmark learn (and not learn) from the entrepreneurial framework and culture of America, UK, Eire, others?

  • You are more interested in hearing honest views, presented clearly and forcefully, than sleeping through some sweet yogurt of confusing diplomatic double speak.

  • We have about 30 minutes, including Q & A.

  • Special thanks to several special friends: Meeting

    Mr. Stefan Lindegaard (Hansen), Founder & CEO of NORVISOR

    Ms. Hanne Arildsen, Head of Innovation and Corporate Venturing, Danfoss A/S

    Mr. & Mrs. Karen & Steen Rydahl, friends since the 60s

    Our message to entrepreneurs building your company
    Our Message to Entrepreneurs: MeetingBuilding Your Company

    • Need an “A” Team – “3K” experience

    • Need Serious Technology – sustainable advantage

      • Solve an important, valuable problem…

      • For clients who have money…

      • Who want to pay well…

      • With a short sales cycle…

      • And will buy more, soon…


    The entrepreneur a special species
    The Entrepreneur: A Special Species? Meeting

    • What does the successful high tech entrepreneur look like?

      • Integrity

      • Leadership

      • Impatient; bias toward action (with analysis).

      • Quick clockspeed

      • Modest ego. Seeks and accepts coaching. Recognizes, and hires to overcome weaknesses.

      • Willing to be different, but knows it (not oblivious).

      • Pragmatic; willing to compromise (in order to move forward).

      • Rejoices in others’ victories (no petty jealousy).

      • Driven to solve a valuable problem for customers (not driven by money or technology).

      • Able to attract world class talent.


    pH of Stomach = 1-2 σ > average

    * With special thanks to Flagship Ventures

    Critical success factors in entrepreneurship
    Critical Success Factors in Entrepreneurship Meeting

    • Believe that Startup Ventures can Succeed:

      • Parent(s) who are entrepreneurs

      • Early contact with successful entrepreneurs

      • Exposure to success stories and case studies.

    • Gain practical, real world experience before, during and after university studies.

    • Be willing to be Unusual/Unconventional.

    • Agree to Embrace Risk, and possibly failure.

    • Want to leave a large Company.

    • Live in a society that sees the above as normal, not a strange exception.

    • Entrepreneurs ask themselves: “What do we really want to do?”

    • We want to make a world class product whatever it is.

    • We want to have fun doing it.

    • We want to get involved in a business area or business segment that is at its ground floor and in its infancy.

    Traditional vs entrepreneurial career paths
    Traditional vs. MeetingEntrepreneurial Career Paths

    High School


    Practical Experience

    Management Training

    Well Managed, High Growth Firm

    Startup Venture

    Another Startup?

    Venture Capital or Angel Investor

    Never really retire

    High School


    Big Company


    Examples of what can be taught 1
    Examples of what CAN be taught Meeting(1)

    (especially valuable for engineers, scientists, and business people)

    • Teamwork creates value and success:

      Lone wolves build perpetually small companies.

    • Appreciation and mutual respect for different types of people guarantees better company performance:

      • Excellent sales people are essential

      • (not lower life forms).

    • Customers need to feel they have a relationship with your firm before they will buy from you.

    Examples of what can be taught 2
    Examples of what CAN be taught Meeting(2)

    • Business Basics: CFIMITYM

      • Profit vs. cash flow

      • Risk is higher when you’re growing fast.

    • How to Write a Business Plan

      • Need to know how, but...

      • Recognize that VCs don’t read them

    • Selling Products vs. Creating Businesses

      • The difference between cash and wealth

    The mit edp mit entrepreneurship development program 24 28 january 2005
    The MIT EDP MeetingMIT Entrepreneurship Development Program24-28 January 2005

    A one-week program tailored to the needs of future entrepreneurs, university entrepreneurship faculty and staff, and economic development professionals

    • Participants learn from:

      • “Live case studies” of successful MIT entrepreneurs;

      • Our faculty and the MIT entrepreneurial spirit; and

      • Route 128 venture capitalists, lawyers, and institutional investors.

    • In 1999, 25 participants came from Taiwan, Ireland, Cambridge (UK), Germany, Thailand, France, & US.

    • In 2000, 65+ persons came from 10+ countries.

    • In 2001, 95+ persons came from 16+ countries.

    • In 2002, 70 persons from 13 countries.

    • In 2003, 93 persons from 9 countries.

    • In 2004, 140 persons….

    Attitudes there and here
    Attitudes – there and here--- Meeting



    • Ambition

    • Bankruptcy

    • Competition

    • Creative Destruction

    • Consensus

    • Clockspeed

    • Clusters

    • Customers

    • Passion

    • Risk

    • Workaholic Maniac

    • Team

    • ++

    • 0

    • ++

    • +

    • 0/

    • ++

    • +

    • +++

    • +++

    • 0

    • ++

    • ++

    Some suggestions and issues to consider respectfully submitted
    Some Suggestions, and Issues to Consider Meeting(respectfully submitted)

    • Celebrate Entrepreneurs – widely

    • Celebrate Entrepreneurial Successes and Failures

    • Teach “Selling” to 6-year Olds (Lemonade Stands)

    • Provide Just-in-Time (mid-career) Entrepreneurship Education

    • Introduce Competition Between & Within Universities

    • Emphasize a Few Centers of Excellence (Don’t Spread the Jam Too Thin)

    • Encourage Rule Bending (breaking?)

    • Benchmark DK Govt Processes

    • Eliminate Red Tape

    • Cut Public Sector?

    • Immigration?

    The Way it Always Was Meeting

    • The superficial VC gamblers are dying or dead.

    • A line of bull + .ppt is not enough. DAD >> MBBB.

    • The number of MIT spin-offs and $50K teams is steadily increasing.

    • Serious entrepreneurs, business angels, and VCs are quietly and carefully moving forward.

    This is a great time to be starting a company:

    • Expectations and time horizons are realistic.

    • Recruiting top talent is easier.

    • Office space is available, at more reasonable prices.

    • Unprofessional competition and their VCs have retreated to the sidelines. “Creative destruction” is a good thing.

    Some upcoming dates
    Some Upcoming Dates Meeting

    28 October 2004 - Boston Reception for E-Lab CEO

    24 - 28 January 2005 – Boston Entrepreneurship Development Program


    19 - 20 March 2005 - Dubai 2nd Annual UAE-MIT Entrepreneurship Conference

    20 - 22 March 2005 - Dubai Global Startup Workshop

    __ -- Copenhagen European Startups Strategies for:

    Global Sales and Sales Force Management

    The current climate b2b back to basics
    The Current Climate: MeetingB2B = Back to Basics

    • Entrepreneurs need to have outstanding

      • Team

      • Technology

      • Value Proposition

      • Market

      • Customers

    • Applies to VCs as well…

      • Europe

      • Canada

      • USA

    “Blue” Money from Company Builders Meeting

    • Selecting Your Investment Partner: Yesterday & Today

      • Seek True, Value Added, “Blue” Money

        • Operating Experience

        • Rolodex/Network

        • Awesome Portfolio (in your space)

        • Cool Limiteds (in your space)

        • Deep pockets/guts to stay the course

      • Realistic Expectations

        • Time to Market

        • Revenue Growth

        • Valuations

    Business plan suggestions 1 2
    Business Plan Suggestions Meeting(1/2)

    • Executive Summary:

      • Name your first ten customers.

      • Be brief.

    • Business Plan:

      • Be optimistic, but realistic.

      • Know your competition’s numbers.

      • Be brief.

    • Advisors:

      • Get good people with gray hair (or no hair) involved early.

      • Understand that investors will call them.

    • Focus on how and why prospective customers will buy from you, and pay you money.

    • Focus on milestones (more than calendar dates).

      • Avoid government-run “incubators” if they shield you from the cruel crucible of the marketplace

    Business plan suggestions 2 2
    Business Plan Suggestions Meeting(2/2)

    • Plan how to build your company without any outside investment (bootstrap). Then, maybe, you are ready to speak to VCs.

    • Most entrepreneurship judges focus on

      • Customer needs

      • Value proposition

      • Sustainability

      • Team

    • Your investors should bring you both customers and management talent (Akamai case).

    • Realize that business plan competitions are an educational process. It does not particularly matter if you win.*

      *It does not matter “that you won or lost, but how you played the game.” - Grantland Rice

    Bringing university ip to market
    Bringing University IP to Market Meeting

    “It never works well with big companies. They focus their energy on showing why the new technology won’t work. I always prefer to start a new company: it will deliver total focus, energy, passion, and commitment.”

    Professor Robert Langer, Langer Lab

    Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

    Keynote Speaker, MIT Venture Capital Conference (07 December 2002)

    To compete successfully
    To Compete Successfully… Meeting

    “MIT startups must attack global markets.”

    To teach global high tech entrepreneurship effectively, we need a network of partners:

    • Universityof Cambridge (UK)

      • The Cambridge Network

      • Cambridge Enterprise

  • The Higher Colleges of Technology

    • 11 campuses throughout UAE

  • Taiwan, Ireland (pending)

  • A few others

  • The problem we are working to solve
    The Problem We are Working to Solve: Meeting

    • There is a shortage of excellent entrepreneurs who can make start up ventures very successful.

    • MIT Engineers and Scientists are generally aware that teamwork is essential:

      • 80-95% of “purely technical” spin-offs fail, while,

      • 80-95% of MIT teams which combine marketing, business, and technical skills succeed.

    • Talented Managers need both training and real world experience so they know markets, know people, and are well known/respected:

      • undergraduate science/engineering combined with practical experience in successful companies, and,

      • management training, including entrepreneurship, followed by repeated sales and marketing successes in substantial companies.

    Working Definitions of Entrepreneurship Meeting

    “Participation in the formation, development, and growth of a new enterprise.”Ed Roberts

    “The pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled.”

    Howard Stevenson

    “The only problems worth solving are the impossible ones.”

    Ed Land

    We have a lot more to do, but… Meetingwe have come a long way since the first entrepreneurship course was launched at MIT in 1961: