2018-07-03 11:35Press release

SmiLe goes to Almedalen and sets demands for Vinnova

Vinnova will have a new director-general in August when Darja Isaksson takes over the position after Leif Callenholm. Isaksson will then have ultimate responsibility for Sweden's initiatives to enhance its innovative capabilities. At Almedalen, Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe Incubator in Lund, will explain the requirements that Vinnova should meet. She is on the panel with Darja Isaksson on Breakfast TV on Tuesday, July 3, arranged by Dagens Medicin and Di Digital.

The press release features:

  • SmiLe’s three recommendations to Vinnova 
  • Five Almedal week program events that include Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO, SmiLe Incubator

Ebba Fåhreaus has extensive experience of the circumstances faced by innovation-based startups, and the support that would facilitate the path from business concept to profitable business. She is CEO of SmiLe, a life science incubator in Lund, a member of the Board of Directors of SISP, and also sits on the board of directors of many startup companies. And she believes that conditions must improve.

“If the life science industry is to grow in Sweden, a long-term approach is crucial. The horizon becomes much too short when companies must define their operations through various short projects in order to fit the template that Vinnova sets for each call for proposals. Vinnova has an annual budget of SEK 3 billion to improve conditions for innovation, and we will gladly share our experience of the needs and the market,” she says.

SmiLe Incubator’s recommendations to improve Vinnova’s operations:

1: Implement a long-term state funding program for incubators

If the incubators could focus on creating more sustainable jobs and regional development in Sweden, instead of on applying for funding for operations, Sweden could take a leading position. Currently, this work is inhibited by the limitations imposed by the short grant periods, which are usually only two years long. Each invested krona is leveraged through efficient collaboration among stakeholders and by the innovation culture found in the incubators. The central government should focus on extending the funding programs – perhaps to ten years – and in general, place higher demands on incubators to comply with standards and quality review procedures.

2: Take advantage of the incubators to increase commercialization

The SmiLe companies have a close relationship with research at the universities. But research in Sweden is being commercialized to a lesser degree than in comparable countries, such as Switzerland. In order to achieve a greater degree of commercialization, research must leverage the advantages of existing incubators and science parks to a greater extent. Improving cooperation arrangements and enhancing incentive for research to use incubators and science parks should be a priority for Vinnova.

3: Provide startup companies with the means to meet the long-term perspective

Our companies can never reach their highest potential unless they know what to expect. Consequently, we need an innovation system with a more long-term perspective. Perhaps it is time to define a few “moonshots” within which funding is particularly long term? Dare to draw a line in the sand and match our ambitions with the support to achieve them? Where do we wish to excel?


Ebba Fåhraeus is participating in the following Almedalen events:

Breakfast TV: Tuesday July 3 08:00-08:25 “Who pays for the development of digital health – the healthcare system or the public”? Darja Isaksson is also one of the panelists. Arrangers: Dagens Medicin and Di Digital. http://www.dagensmedicin.se/dm-play

Seminar: Tuesday July 3 10:30-11:30 “Does today’s innovation system support young businesswomen? Are our taxes being spent wisely and are they providing any benefit?” Moderator: Thomas Frostberg. Arranger: Asynjor Invest AB.

Seminar: Wednesday July 4 1:00 p.m.-1:50 p.m. “Digitally when possible, physically when necessary – how do we combine digital and physical care?” Arranger: Capio.

Workshop: Thursday 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. “How does digitization accelerate public Sweden?” Arranged by: Expert Group for digital investments and Beata Wickbom.

Jury: Dagens Opinion has selected individuals for a jury that will designate the participant that has been the “Most Innovative at Almedalen 2018”. Arranged by: Dagens Opinion.

For information about SmiLe Incubator, contact: 
Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO at SmiLe Incubator
+46 (0)734000433, 
ebba@smileincubator.life ; Or visit our mediaroom

Language: English

About SmiLe Venture Hub – Pioneering Life Science Innovations

SmiLe is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund. SmiLe Incubator helps entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas. There are currently more than 20 companies in SmiLe, which together with alumni companies have attracted more than SEK 2,000 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers business coaching, a large network of contacts in our community, and our many well-equipped laboratories, unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies currently have a market capitalization of almost SEK 6 billion. www.smileincubator.life