Hello! This is Yasmin from Indonesia. I am a Master of Entrepreneurship (1 year program) student at Uppsala University. This time I would like to share some interesting valuable insights about Uppsala’s open innovation ecosystem that supports future entrepreneurs or may inspire your future career after graduation or while your study! This information is gathered through my course experience and some personal research.

During my studies I learn so much about entrepreneurship from theory down to practical things. Things that you may expected from an Entrepreneurship program such as Identifying opportunities, create business plan, pitching ideas, etc. But the reality is, there’s so much more than what is teached in the class and it’s only possible by doing and put things into practice. Meaning, actually try to run a real business.

However, I personally not someone who aspire to become an entrepreneur (yet). But I always wanted to help more startups or any kind of corporation to succeed in the future by keep being innovative and have access to open innovation. The truth is, a business cannot run properly only by business/economy major related people. At some point, it needs diversification from other various disciplines to make it possible. Unfortunately, not everyone has an access to learn how to build a business to get confident in starting something. 

Which is why I feel like the least I can do is to share this knowledge about Uppsala entrepreneurial scene in order to bring more awareness to more variety of people who may get inspired to build or contribute to something in the future.

As we all know Sweden has a long history of innovation which is also supported by the government and the academic scene. One of them is via start-up investment and support programs in many ways. You may have heard about start-up companies and some inspiring stories of them from ground zero to success, having great vision and solving problems to make the world a better place with their innovation and solutions. You may think that it’s only for ‘business/ entrepreneur major oriented people’. Well, the truth is, everyone needs everyone from various backgrounds to chip in and contribute to make things work. It’s only right to at least be aware of how open innovation works (in this case in Uppsala), see where you may be able to contribute or support, and share with more people who may get inspired to step further in building their start-up.

A start-up does not always have to come up with a revolutionary innovation. Anything that solves a problem or creates a possible demand in the future is acceptable. Moreover, Uppsala’s start-up support ecosystem is well-integrated. They exist to help more businesses to grow and succeed. Some of them even specialize in sustainability matters. Here are some institutions in Uppsala that will accompany a start-up from ideation down to growth, funding stages, and so on. Some of them are fully run by universities or the government, some are also partially run and funded by the private sector and venture capital as illustrated in this picture:

Source: Presentation from ALMI

The closest institution you can access anytime as Uppsala student for free is UU Innovation. They are fully provided by the University to support any student in exploring possibilities of building their own business or innovation. They provide business coaching and networks for future early funding and free grants to test out ideas. If your idea of a product requires some specific machinery, tools, or further research to build your prototype, it’s the best place to ask for further access and recommendations. It could also help you to reach out some of Uppsala researchers who may be interested in your business ideas. They have gathering events like networking parties and business idea workshops to inspire more students in their entrepreneurial journey!

Same purpose as UU Innovation focusing on early-stage startup from Ideation phase down to early pre seed-funding. You can book a business coaching or consultation for free as a student. They also have their own affordable open-office space near the central station. Drivhuset operates in a wider region of Uppsala meaning that you may encounter a broader network of people and resources outside Uppsala University and not just students. It’s a great way to understand how Uppsala and Sweden’s open innovation works for a beginner and get inspired to start your own business.

What makes them unique is, that they have a program called “Team-Up” for start-ups to showcase their business to the people and do some kind of talent matchmaking. It’s like a job fair but for start-ups! If you already have a business and looking for a talent, you can also reach them. Moreover, they have a regular monthly event called “Breakfast Club” where everyone can mingle, network, and listen to one inspiring entrepreneur sharing their stories.

Once you are looking to scale your business further, ALMI is one place to go. It is 100 percent owned by the Swedish state. They provide business development consultation, financing, and access to bigger funding of venture capital and a broader network across Sweden and the Nordics. This applies to businesses in the start-up phase as well as established companies with high growth potential and a scalable business concept that seeks improvement.

My Experience on Team Up Event by Drivhuset, November 2023

I attended Drivhuset Team-Up 2023 event last November and there were a lot of start-ups from digital services, medical tech, blockchain, and even non-digital startups that work on sustainable products and services. It’s a good way to understand more about the company and look for any job opportunities in an early start-up if that interests you.

Some insights that I got from the event: Some start-ups do not openly post their opening in popular job posting (such as Linked In, Glassdoor, The Hub, etc). The reason being is that many of them are looking for talent based in Uppsala and close to the network itself as most of them are founded in Uppsala and prefer hybrid/ offline work arrangements. Since many of them are early-stage startups that recently got funded and are ready to scale their business further, they are still around less than 10 employees on average. I could ask questions and chat directly with the start-up founders, exchange ideas and contact in this event which is a super valuable experience. 

The most popular job openings are software engineers as many of the start-ups are still in the product enhancement phase on their platform or mobile application. Another popular opening is digital marketing and business development whether it’s for internship, part-time, or even full-time. But don’t be bummed if you don’t find a suitable role, sometimes you can also propose a new role suitable for your preferred job role for internship perhaps as everything is usually in an open discussion manner. Some interesting start-ups are also looking for Master thesis student to help their business research in exchange for master’s thesis topics and credit. These types of openings are usually for high-innovation tech startups that looking for more researchers in various fields of expertise like medicine, mechanical engineering, machine learning, and more! What is more astonishing is that some start-ups even looking for a potential C-level manager and co-founder in exchange for future shares and stock options for those who are interested.


The opportunities are endless needless to say. I was just as surprised that Uppsala has this kind of supportive ecosystem which we can benefit as students by being involved and getting to know more about it in a very accessible way. You don’t necessarily have the ambition to be a start-up founder yourself to get involved. But I think it’s the best way to understand how open innovation works in Uppsala and Sweden in general and see if you can contribute and learn more from them outside your class while you study in Uppsala.

Here are things to be remembered:

  • If you don’t have an Idea but want to be an entrepreneur at some point? Discuss with them!
  • If you have an Idea but don’t know how to realize it? Ask them!
  • Interested to work or contribute to a start-up? Expand your network and reach them!
  • Don’t have any business background to run a company? Don’t be afraid, they can help and teach you from scratch!
  • Don’t have any capital to test your idea and run your business? You can get access, grants, and funding there!
  • Don’t have a suitable partner or team to run your business together? Find your future colleague there!
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to any of them about your ideas! No ideas are stupid.

I hope this blog inspires you to explore more about the entrepreneurial scene in Uppsala and Sweden in general! Cheers