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Just over a year after its launch, a private network that aims to boost the IT sector in the Nordic and Baltic regions, known as Tech Nordic Advocates (TNA), has connected some 600 technology executives across the region.
It has also launched a collaboration platform using Podio technology from Citrix, which enables the network to communicate in real time. This was given free of charge by Citrix, which is a sponsor of the network.
Set up in November last year, TNA was designed to emulate Tech London Advocates (TLA), a similar private network of IT leaders, known as advocates, in London. TLA is now a network of about 3,600 people who link up to promote the UK capital’s tech by dealing with issues and challenges for the sector. It comprises people from startups, entrepreneurs, large IT firms and investors.
Similarly, TNA aims to grow the tech sector in the five Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland – and the three Baltics countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and will also stimulate collaboration with London and the international tech community.
According to TNA founder Jeanette Carlsson, the organisation’s 600 networked individuals are spread fairly evenly across the Nordics and Baltics.
“The Nordics is now the biggest unicorn [start-up now worth more than $1bn] factory in the world, but there is a growing need to collaborate across the Nordic and Baltic tech ecosystem and country borders.”
Carlsson said the Podio platform from Citrix was vital because “it breaks down country borders”.
People on the network can alert each other to their requirements or challenges and others can then offer their services. “We can connect them with people they would never normally be able to find,” she said.
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Another important mechanism for collaboration is 12 working groups that were created because of demand from members for extra support in key areas. These include groups focused on fintech, big data analytics, insuretech (insurance sector IT), smart city internet of things (IoT), women in tech, and tech talent.
“These are areas where there might be a huge opportunity, but also roadblocks,” said Carlsson.
For example, the group focused on fintech had a focus on helping startups get into the big banks, which has been traditionally difficult because of regulations. Carlsson said TNA was working on introducing key performance indicators (KPIs) for the working groups to demonstrate they are making a difference and are not just talking shops.
Events are another important way to increase collaboration, and TNA is holding two events a year – a startup conference and an annual summit.
“The next big thing we are going to do is go around the startups and find out how we have been useful to them,” said Carlsson.
Businesses are now approaching the network to sponsor it, giving them access to its connections. Citrix is a sponsor and Airbnb is a recent example of a business keen to ensure it remains close to IT innovators. “When you start out, you have to go out and beg, steel and borrow, but now companies are coming to us,” said Carlsson.