Kick-starting the gaming industry brings regional rewards

A cross-border project between Denmark and Sweden has provided a range of support to entrepreneurs who are seeking to exploit the ever-growing demand for computer games. The development of business incubators and counselling services has helped to create viable and growing businesses that are producing games for the information and education sectors.

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The project helps gaming entrepreneurs to develop their business. © VIA University College The project helps gaming entrepreneurs to develop their business. © VIA University College

" From the moment I officially opened the Scandinavian Game Developers Business Incubator, I knew the project would be a great asset to the KASK-region. It is a stunning example of proficient Swedish-Danish cooperation: research from our Swedish partner university made the latest knowledge on game business models available to young entrepreneurs, resulting in the creation of 22 new game companies in Denmark so far. "

Bent Hansen, Chairman of the Central Denmark Region and Chairman of Danish Regions

Many young gaming entrepreneurs often lack the knowledge required to create a production team and do not have the know-how to market and distribute their end-product. The Scandinavian Game Developers project secured more than EUR 560 000 of ERDF funding to tackle these issues and to help entrepreneurs establish viable companies that can survive in what is a highly competitive environment.

The project’s Swedish partner – the University of Skövde – set about designing a business model specifically for the production of serious games. It also provided business coaches who could counsel the budding entrepreneurs as they set about establishing their start-ups.

Accommodating new talent

The project helped to establish 22 new small companies during its lifetime, exceeding its original target of 15. Recently, one of the companies managed to attract DKK 2 million of external investment. An independent evaluation of the project noted that all the new companies said that the incubators were vital to their survival and offered dynamic and inspiring environments in which to work. In fact, more small businesses are now on a waiting list to join the incubators.

This success is bringing wider benefits to Viborg and Grenaa in Denmark and Skövde – the main cities covered by the project area. The new companies are already employing more than 65 people, with many workers moving from more metropolitan areas like Copenhagen to fill posts.

Influencing the next generation

Due to the project’s influence, more students are applying for game-related education in the two Danish cities. The possibility that they can get help to start their own businesses while studying is proving to be a big incentive. And because game developers, teachers and students from all levels and from across the programme area have been included in the project’s research process, there is now improved cohesion between region’s researchers, companies and public institutions.

In addition, the Norddjurs municipality has made a EUR 8 million investment to build office space and accommodation in Grenna, which can be rented out by the project incubators.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Scandinavian Game Developers” is EUR 1 137 257, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 568 628 from the Operational Programme “Öresund–Kattegat-Skagerrak” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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