27 September 2023

University of Copenhagen opens the doors for entrepreneurship


All students and staff at the University of Copenhagen can now get access to excellent entrepreneurship training and support. Together with one of Denmark's leading start-up accelerators, Accelerace, the University hopes to contribute to creating more research-intensive growth companies in Denmark. Companies in Accelerace have raised DKK 60 billion in risk capital.

KU Lighthouse at North Campus
The new innovation centre KU Lighthouse at the University of Copenhagen's North Campus is open for companies, investors and experts.

Starting 1 September 2023, all 37,000 students and 5,000 researchers at University of Copenhagen can get direct access to one of Europe's most experienced entrepreneurial environments. Since the accelerators’ launch in 2008, Accelerace has helped over 900 start-ups realize their potential. Based on this experience, they have developed teaching material and workshops and built a network of mentors. Until now, this has all been reserved for established companies.

The goal for the University of Copenhagen is to enable researchers and students to create new companies based on the university's knowledge. Teaching entrepreneurship will now become an integral part of the University's offer.

"We have some of the world's strongest research environments and a lot of young talent who are passionate about solving the world's challenges. Now they get access to the leading knowledge and training on how to create a successful business. Our ambition is for the University of Copenhagen to develop into one of the best universities in terms of research, education and innovation in the coming years", says David Dreyer Lassen, Prorector for Research, University of Copenhagen.

More growth companies

The collaboration with Accelerace is the first manifestation of the university's new focus on innovation. In the long term, the collaboration should lead to more Danish growth companies within some of the areas where development is going strongest today. Accelerace was originally established by start-up community Symbion. They see a great potential for creating more growth companies with origins at the University of Copenhagen:

"Accelerace stands on the shoulders of the more than 900 startups we have helped through the early stages. Knowledge has been built on top of knowledge for each company, and that is what we contribute, both to the companies we invest in and now also to students and researchers at the University of Copenhagen" – Peter Torstensen, CEO Accelerace & Symbion

It can make a big difference for the individual to be part of the new offer. Not least because entrepreneurs meet advisors and mentors who have themselves been through the process of building a business. The mentors are now sharing their insights with the next generation of entrepreneurs. They might even end up investing in the university start-ups.

“Accelerace made a big difference to the first phase of our business. They force you to answer the difficult questions that arise when you start a business, really work on your pitch to investors and customers.  After seeing how much it meant to us to get that help, I also decided that I should be part of the mentor network," says Mark Højgaard, founder of the company Coinify.

Mentoring network for everyone

In years to come, the University of Copenhagen will invite students and researchers to access knowledge-based tools and material from Accelerace on a digital platform. Teams with a good idea can also access Accelerace's mentoring network. The activities take place in the university's new innovation centre, KU Lighthouse, which is also open to companies, investors and experts. In the long term, the activities can have great significance for the University of Copenhagen.

"The University of Copenhagen was created to carry out research, education and innovation. It is therefore also our ambition to be an open university that interacts with the outside world, so that our knowledge does the greatest possible good in society. It is natural that, as an internationally leading university, we offer our researchers and students good opportunities if they want to start a company.” emphasizes David Dreyer Lassen, Prorector for Research, University of Copenhagen.

Facts about the collaboration

The University of Copenhagen and Accelerace want to create a common method for developing university startups. This is done by UCPH using material developed by Accelerace, including courses and teaching material, which are made available via a digital platform. The material, as well as access to mentors from Accelerace, will also be used in the annual courses and workshops offered in the UCPH innovation centre KU Lighthouse.

About Accelerace

Accelerace was created in 2008 by the entrepreneurial environment Symbion. This is an entrepreneurial environment for innovative startups and companies which also makes investments. More than 900 companies have gone through the Accelerace programmes. Collectively these companies have raised more than 60 billion DKK in capital since 2008. The network of mentors and business advisors also act as business angels. The University of Copenhagen is a co-owner of Symbion. Read more at www.accelerace.io.


David Dreyer Lassen
Prorector for Research
University of Copenhagen
Email: dreyer.lassen@adm.ku.dk

Andreas Blohm Graversen
Innovation & Industry Collaboration
University of Copenhagen
Telephone: +45 93 56 52 6
Email: agr@adm.ku.dk 

Peter Torstensen
Telephone: +45 31 19 73 33
Email: pto@accelerace.io