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Startup support network Tech London Advocates expands into Nordics

Startup support network Tech London Advocates is launching a sister organisation covering the Nordic and Baltic countries

The UK tech group Tech London Advocates (TLA) is expanding its reach to the Nordic and Baltic countries with the launch of Copenhagen-based Tech Nordic Advocates (TNA).

The Nordic group will become TLA’s first sister organisation and plans to bring technology experts, entrepreneurs and investors across the regions together.

“There is huge growth potential in the tech space in the Nordics and Baltics. This space accounts for an increasing percentage of these national economies and is growing fast, but then again it needs a bit of push. Each market is small, and if we are going to grow more we need to work together across borders,” said Jeanette Carlsson, founder of TNA. “Making the different Nordic countries work together more actively and share talent across borders is what we are all about.”

TNA will be officially launched on 4 November and will operate under a not-for-profit model from TLA.

Since its launch in 2013, TLA has built a private-sector-led network of more than 2,100 members – or advocates – in the UK and abroad. They promote London’s tech sector and work to solve issues hindering its growth via independent working groups and annual meetings.

TNA is taking this approach to Northern Europe. It will launch with 12 advocate-led working groups focusing on areas relevant to the Nordic and Baltic countries, such as clean technology, financial technology, startup mentoring and women in technology. TNA will also tap into the Nordics’ growing startup scene and work with the public and private sectors to help small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) find new partnerships, talent and investment.

Jacqueline de Rojas, president of techUK and vice-president of Citrix Northern Europe, said she hopes collaboration between the Nordics and the UK will help to tackle the lack of tech talent.

Read more about Tech London Advocates

“What we all struggle with is finding enough digital talent. Look at the talent pool in the UK and the Nordics – first, we don’t have enough trained digital talent and, second, we can’t keep hold of it, said de Rojas. “This is where business leaders can really start to shine by growing great talent, attracting great talent and then creating flexible working to ensure we retain this talent.

TNA has work to do to claim a prominent place among the existing tech and startup organisations in the Nordic and Baltic regions, but TNA’s Carlsson believes there is room for an approach based on greater collaboration and internationalism.

“We are not competing with anybody, but rather trying to bring different organisations together to create a greater network for everybody,” she said. “It gives [people in London] a common platform to access the Nordic market and creates a growth platform for the Nordic and Baltic market into London.”

Russ Shaw, founder of TLA, said Tech Nordic Advocates is an interesting experiment that could be the first step in taking the network concept global. Currently, TLA has around 400 overseas advocates.

“Many of them are interested in the model we have created and in connecting their home city, region or country to what is going on in London tech,” said Shaw, who is also eyeing further expansion. “We have groups of advocates in Bangalore, Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. Maybe, when these groups gain momentum, they could evolve into something like this.”

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