Growth Engine – The success project for entrepreneurs continues

May 30, 2011 | Research/Cooperation

The Growth Engine is Mälardalen University’s project, which offers to heads of Sörmland companies with up to 50 employees the opportunity of developing and growing. The initiative was taken last year and since the project has been a big success, the Growth Engine will continue for another year with new funding. Sparbanken Rekarne, Sparbanksstiftelsen Rekarne and Sörmlands Sparbank are investing SEK 500,000 and Eskilstuna Municipality SEK 200,000.

The Growth Engine is to start three new groups of small companies in Eskilstuna, Strängnäs, Katrineholm, Flen and Vingåker, where the operations are run today, along with a group in Nyköping.

The concept involves heads of small and medium-sized companies getting support from other experienced heads of companies and experts. It can, for example, be about lectures within areas such as idea development, the packaging of services and products, marketing and sales etc. The purpose of the Growth Engine is that the companies are able to grow and develop the company. The entrepreneurs meet monthly in small groups, where they can reflect on the company’s situation and future, a thing which is regarded as important for entrepreneurs who seldom have colleagues or employees to discuss tricky problems or bounce new ideas with. The inspiration for the project comes from England, where a similar venture led to the participants increasing the number of new products by 78% and the number of new appointments by 92%.

The new groups will start in November 2011 and will consist of 10-15 small companies. At present 34 companies are involved in the project and the results so far show that the Growth Engine is a huge success.

Joachim Prager is part owner of KAC AB in Strängnäs, a land and construction company which also gives advice and plans projects in land, environment and construction. He has taken part in the Growth Engine since October 2010 and appreciates the new contact network it has given him.

- It’s been important to meet other entrepreneurs and ventilate big as well as small issues. But I’ve also got new contacts in the University, which I value highly. I’ve seen what possibilities there are of developing as a company together with students and researchers, says Joachim Prager.
Another person who has taken part is Ann Nyström, CEO of Viaduct AB in Eskilstuna, who build solutions for electronic communication between customers and suppliers.

- I’ve been given concrete and practical advice that’s suitable just for small entrepreneurs such as myself. Among other things I’ve been able to produce a plan for improving our staff handbooks and for simplifying our routines and administration. It’s also been fun meeting entrepreneurs who run completely different types of companies – a rewarding exchange of experience, says Ann Nyström.