The Innovation House


  • Lack of jobs, education, ambitions and power 


  • A concept/place to support SMEs and entrepreneurs


  • Culture and habits, politics and timing
  • Money for investment


  • SWOT analysis for preparation
  • Case studies from other Innovation Houses

Problems and challenges

If your region has lack of jobs, education, ambitions and needs more power to stimulate entrepreneurs and SMEs for growth, an Innovation House might be the answer. In 2004 InnovationsHus Syd was established in Vejen Kommune, Denmark, and now the idea and the concept have been transfered to North Friesland in The Netherlands and to Finnøy in Norway.

“When hard winds are blowing some build shelters, others build windmills”

Solutions innovationhus1

The main objective for an Innovation House is as an incubator to stimulate and support SME empowerment and entrepreneurship. Use of broadband and digital services are important basic elements for that as well as support from internal and external advisers and experts.

The general idea is to gather different SMEs and entrepreneurs in inspiring surroundings collaborating with a supporting and inspiring staff. Enterprises in the house shall have a distinct sence of communality and must be willing to establish bonds with each other, but enterprises outside are welcome to use the services as well.

The Innovation House can not exactly be copy/pasted from one place or one country to another, but a number of key elements must be identified and combined in a local setting. One element is a house with different sized offices, meeting facilities and one meeting room equipped with support for idea-generation and creativity. A common reception offers telephone service, printing, catering service for meetings and other services for the tenants, so they can put complete focus on their business activities. The Innovation House should be organized in common by local authorities e.g. the municipality, business organizations and investors, and they must look to national SME and entrepreneur initiatives as well as relevant development programmes and policy interventions.


Most important barriers seem to be (lack of) money and the local history, culture and habits.

Financial sources for establishing the Innovation House could be public and EU funds in a combination with private funding. Funding of daily operational activities can come from a combination of payments from the tenants, the local business entity and tourist office supported by different kinds of public funding. External funding can also appear via concrete projects handled by the Innovation House.

Every Innovation House has to develop its own business model according to local conditions and opportunities. Except for funding this means that the “rules” from local history, culture and habits sometimes need to be broken. An Innovation House should be a new solution and a new combination of a lot of elements in order to fulfil the main objective to stimulate SMEs and entrepreneurs for growth and jobs.




EU- and national policy frameworks need special attention because part of the funding for the establishment of the Innovation House as well as for the operational activities often can be found via different programmes and supporting systems. You may need experienced fund raisers for this part. Other kinds of external support and advice systems might also be available.

General tools like a SWOT analysis from the local area is useful as well as tools for more detailed investigations to prepare the Innovation House. When the Innovation House has been established different tools for business development and training can be very useful when entrepreneurs and local SMEs ask for advice and support.

Finally “Project Cases” from other innovation houses and development parks can give a lot of inspiration to your own local Innovation House. Such cases could also be specific pilot activities and projects handled by an Innovation House in order to strengthen SMEs and entrepreneurs. You can find some examples from InnovationsHus Syd in Vejen Kommune, Denmark elsewhere at this Rural Power Pack website.

Background information Innovation House Denmark