Tool 2: Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea
The Idea and Organisation
The idea of Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea was to develop transnational cross-sectoral collaborations in the Baltic Sea Region within the creative industries. This was achieved by designing an integrated experience (pitching contest, training event, B2B1 program) that built on existing CCI-support frameworks (involving CCI support organisations and cultural institutes).
There were two Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea events; one was a completely “analogue” event in 2019 and one digital event in 2020.
Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea was organised by the Danish Cultural Institute, a self-governed institution that has fostered mutual understanding between people and cultures since 1940.
The institute is committed to sharing knowledge and sympathy for the values of Danish society. In cooperation with partners, they develop international cultural and social events, projects and contacts to provide mutual value and inspiration.
It is the mission of the Danish Cultural Institute to contribute to strengthening Denmark’s handling of the challenges of globalisation. They do this by focusing on arts, culture and society within a prioritised number of themes: children and youth, education, science, welfare and sustainability. They also focus on developing new ways of cooperation, which stimulate innovation and co-creation. Their activities always aim to create opportunities for intercultural relations, understanding, sustainable growth and development.
Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea in Figures
- 2 two-day events
- 18 startups from the Baltic Sea region
- 12 & 13 - UN Sustainable Development Goals as focus for the contest
- 3 keynote speakers
- 13 jury members
- 5 judging criteria: Creativity, uniqueness, innovation, team and market potential
- 2 winners: Ette Tete (SIA Snores) and Kira Shoes
Aim and Target Group
The aim of Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea was to gather startups, SMEs, incubators and CCI organisations from the Baltic Sea Region and show how the UN Sustainable Development Goals can create value, give direction and lead towards the innovation and investments of the future.
Moreover, Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea aimed to ensure that participating companies and entrepreneurs gained inspiration for new ideas, methods and technologies by participating in an international pitching competition. They also had the opportunity to visit and listen to keynotes from experienced Danish companies that have successfully combined business and sustainability and participate in an internationalisation workshop.
Participants of Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea expanded their network and gained a greater understanding of existing transnational cooperation and financing possibilities. They also acquired new contacts by networking with each other, meeting local companies, incubators, CCI support organisations, experts and other CCI actors.
The Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea internationalisation tool was split into two concrete sets of pilot activities. The first taking place on the 28th - 29th of October 2019, the second a year later. The 2019 activities took place as a physical event and included two Baltic sea region countries, Denmark and Latvia. The organisers had to turn the 2020 activities into a virtual event with partners and participants from five countries: Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Germany.
The goals of the pitching competition was to empower CCI participants; for them to learn from each other and connect to each other, to other CCI actors and to international markets; for them to gain inspiration and knowledge of concrete examples of CCI projects in the Baltic Sea Region that are both commercially viable and environmentally sustainable; for them to strengthen their innovative capabilities and pitching skills; for them to showcase their products and services to the audience.
Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea 2019
Keynote session (by Kasper Petersen, co-founder of LABFRESH): For CCI participants to gain new inspiration and knowledge of methods and technologies and to allow them to learn from a concrete example of a more experienced Danish company that has successfully combined commercial interests and sustainable methods and approaches.
Creative intervention (concert by Latvian band Carnival Youth): The performance aimed to inspire and create a starting point for dialogue and exchange between the many different participants.
Reception/networking: For CCI participants to connect with each other, incubators, support organisations and other CCI actors, creating and strengthening contacts, networks and collaborations.
Internationalisation workshop (by Karoline Haulund, Vice Director of Creative Business Network): The workshop aimed to teach participants about CCI internationalisation, building their capacity and providing inspiration and knowledge about relevant methods and technologies.
Visits to local companies and incubators: The nonlocal CCI participants visited, networked with and exchanged experiences and knowledge with local Danish incubators as well as companies that had successfully combined commercial interests and sustainability. They gained inspiration and information about methods and technologies. They built their capacity through peer-to-peer learning and gained new information about the Danish market and existing transnational cooperation and financing opportunities.
Optional participation in “this.series”, part of “this.festival” for digitalisation and creative industries in the region of Midtjylland: CCI participants had the opportunity to meet, network with, listen to, learn and gain knowledge and inspiration from other creatives and experts.
Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea 2020 (Digital Adaption)
Keynote sessions (by Rebecca Vera Stahnke from Veras Vintage and Caroline Gjerulff from Vision Denmark): CCI participants gained inspiration and knowledge of methods and technologies and learnt from concrete examples of more experienced Danish companies and projects that have successfully combined commercial interests and sustainable methods and approaches.
Creative intervention (concert by Latvian artist Chris Noah): The performance aimed to inspire and create a starting point for dialogue and exchange between the many different participants.
Internationalisation workshop (by Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Founder and Managing Director of Creative Business Network): The workshop aimed to teach participants about CCI internationalisation, building their capacity and providing inspiration and knowledge about relevant methods and technologies. During the workshop, the participants also met startups and were inspired by their stories and got unique insights into scaling better and faster.
The events were communicated on websites, social media platforms and newsletters using videos, images and programme descriptions. Direct invitations were also sent out to relevant stakeholders and potential CCI participants.
Testimonials from participants
“Good pitching is very important for the growth of a startup and for turning good ideas into reality! Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea is a great platform for developing pitching skills and receiving valuable feedback and learning from others.”
“It was a great experience to be a part of the jury and to meet so many new and innovative creative startups from different countries and creative industries. They were not only brilliant entrepreneurs but also had great visions for how to make the Baltic Sea region greener and more sustainable.”
“Great job adapting to the online format. It’s not easy and there are always unforeseen incidents. I was very impressed.”
“Great event! Really good I have to say! I was inspired!”
“Everything was great.”
“I hope that next year it is possible to meet people in real life again, it’s much more comfortable to network and get new contacts.”
Lessonsllearnt on Adapting to a Digital Format
Although the overall process of organising an international pitching event stays the same, some specific and significant aspects need to be considered when moving to an online platform. Firstly, organisers should think about the necessary technology, digital tools and platforms that they will use for the event and whether there are enough resources (competencies, equipment, etc.) to ensure the success of a virtual event. Secondly, organisers should think about how they can ensure engagement and effective interaction among participants, jury members and the wider audience.
For digital events, it is important not to improvise technical factors on the day. The choice of moderator is, furthermore, even more important than for a physical event – and the job is even more challenging without a physical audience.
Participants of Pitching at the physical event Better Baltic Sea in 2019 gained a greater understanding of existing possibilities for transnational cooperation and financing, e.g. the Accelerace Acceleration Program, by meeting and visiting different CCI incubators and support organisations. This, however, was very difficult to include to the same degree in the 2020 digital programme as physical visits to incubators and support organisations were not possible. The networking dimension of events like this is especially difficult to maintain in a digital environment.
As a final note, it’s relevant to point out that it was a great achievement of the organisers to create events that played into all the defined goals for Creative Ports tools as well as working actively with a sustainability focus and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Business-to-business, a transaction or business conducted between one business and another, such as a wholesaler and retailer. ↩︎