New growth model to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Denmark now have the opportunity to participate in a new and growth-centred project. PwC, Nykredit and Aarhus University, which are behind the project, have undertaken to strengthen SMEs and their competitiveness.

2012.10.26 | Martin Hagelskjær Damsgaard

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Danish economy and can lift Denmark out of the financial crisis. It is therefore important to strengthen their competitiveness and productivity as well as supporting their growth potential. With the specific goal of contributing to the growth and development of small and medium-sized enterprises, PwC, Nykredit and Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences, have entered into an ambitious partnership in this area. The partnership has been christened Knowledge Forum – for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (Vidensforum – for Små og Mellemstore Virksomheder).

As the first joint project, the Knowledge Forum will develop, implement and test a growth and development model. Here, the aim is to examine whether, by combining regular individual sparring with the business’s management, learning modules and networking activities, it is possible to enhance value growth in the businesses. While the businesses complete the growth model’s three-year course, their development is followed by researchers to assess the effects of various initiatives. The project will involve 30 businesses, equally distributed between east and west Denmark.

Progress in cold print
The project has already completed the first test phase successfully. Here, the company Valeur was one of the test cases. The company’s primary product and service is outreach sales work, and for partner and sales and marketing manager Klaus Leffers, one of the project’s main qualities is that it is based on “our business, our figures, our customers and our employees”. As he puts it:

- It is not being run at a theoretical level – it is very specific and is being carried out at our premises. Over a three-year period, it will be possible to clearly see how internal initiatives have increased the value of your company.

This assessment does not come from any ordinary business. Valeur, which has offices in Aarhus and Copenhagen, was in 2010 named a super gazelle company by the Danish financial newspaper Børsen together with twelve other businesses. To qualify for super gazelle status, a company needs to be named a gazelle company for at least five consecutive years. 

New knowledge
One of Knowledge Forum’s objectives is to regularly contribute to various continuous education activities which are specifically tailored to the target group. In April 2013, the first theme meeting will be offered, and autumn 2013 sees a Knowledge brunch for owner-managers. Here, based on current knowledge, the enterprises will work in workshops and networks with real-life challenges.

In addition, new research projects will continually be launched to produce knowledge about and for SMEs. To ensure that the research projects are relevant for the enterprises, the enterprises will be actively involved in their design. All the research groups will be anchored in an international research group at Aarhus University.

Knowledge Forum – facts

  • PwC, Nykredit and Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences, have created a partnership: Knowledge Forum for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. 
  • Knowledge Forum focuses on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Denmark. The growth model is just the first in a number of initiatives. 
  • Knowledge Forum defines, in keeping with Danish business organisations such as the Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Håndværksrådet), small and medium-sized enterprises as businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Kent Hedegaard, partner, PwC; Mette Neville, professor, ph.d., Aarhus Universitet; Nils Henrik Wegener partner, PwC; Tina Fugl senior marketingkonsulent, Nykredit og Lene Qvist, områdedirektør, Nykredit.
From left to right:Kent Hedegaard, Partner, PwC; Professor Mette Neville, PhD, Aarhus University; Nils Henrik Wegener, Partner, PwC; Tina Fugl, Senior Marketing Consultant, Nykredit, and Lene Qvist, Area Director, Nykredit. 

Knowledge Forum’s ambition is to contribute to:

  • continued growth and productivity in the enterprises
  • improved competitiveness
  • value growth and job creation
  • providing management with knowledge and competencies

This will be achieved in dialogue and cooperation with SMEs by:

  • studying what drives and hampers growth in the enterprises
  • producing and disseminating knowledge to and about the enterprises
  • providing continual sparring within management, strategy and economy
  • organising networking events
  • developing tools specially designed for the target group
On the partnership’s website ( (in Danish)), all relevant knowledge and information will be gathered and made available. Here it will also be possible to register for an information meeting about the growth model project.


Related news: Fremgang og forbedring kan ikke undgås

FACTS – Growth model project

  • Thirty small and medium-sized enterprises are being invited to participate in a three-year development and learning course

The course includes:

  • Establishing a management profile
  • Introductory analysis of the company
  • Overview of business development and value creation over three years
  • Unique model for working with strategy and business plan
  • Quarterly sparring and follow-up in the business
  • Nine learning modules within management, strategy and economy
  • Networking activities with other managers
  • Concluding report


Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
Professor Mette Neville
Department of Business Law
Bartholins Allé 16?
DK-8000 Aarhus C

T: +45 8716 4917?
M: +45 3020 1870

PricewaterhouseCoopers Statsautoriseret Revisionspartnerselskab
Nils Henrik Wegener, Partner
Strandvejen 44
DK-2900 Hellerup

T: +45 3945 9540?
M: +45 2323 9803

Nels Petersen, Head of Corporate Communications
Kalvebod Brygge 1-3
1780 Copenhagen V

T: +45 4455 1470
M: +45 2022 2272

Klaus Leffers
Partner, Sales and Marketing Manager
M: +45 2684 6212

Knowledge exchange, Public/media