Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99 percent of Denmark’s businesses, but are hardly represented at universities

partners at universities

(Photo: Anna Holte)

SMEs have a hard time finding their way into universities and higher educations. Each could benefit from teaming up, surveys show. A new EU project that includes CBS aims to exploit new ways of collaborating.

News |   22. Jan 2021

Anne Thora Lykkegaard


Take a stroll down the hallway at Solbjerg Plads and you will see auditoriums dedicated to Velux, Maersk, Coloplast and Novo Nordisk. All huge, Danish companies who are represented not only at career fairs, but also in teaching cases and research projects.

However, the big businesses are not what constitute the backbone of the Danish economy only. According to the Confederation of Danish Industry, about 99 percent of Danish businesses belong to the segment called small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). There are roughly 300,000 of them.

“CBS has 56 partner companies, and 14 of them are SMEs. The SMEs are still unexploited territory and we can learn a lot from each other, really. More students need to see their future careers in SMEs, and the SMEs can gain knowledge from us,” says Marie Bach Michaelsen, Relations Manager at CBS.

It’s important and relevant for the students to study the cases and challenges that SMEs face

Marie Bach Michaelsen

She is the project manager for Øresund Match, a new project, which accompanied by CBS, Cphbusiness and DTU in collaboration with Copenhagen Business Hub (Erhvervshus Hovedstaden) will explore ways of bridging the gap between the SMBs and the knowledge institutions. (See fact box)

The aim is to find a way for the SMEs to gain access to the knowledge that the different institutions hold, as well as making the SMEs an integrated part of teaching and research at the institutions. The same project is being run just across the Sound in Sweden, where partners will try to connect the dots and share experiences later on in the two-year project.

“What makes the SMEs interesting for the students is that we are getting more and more graduates in Denmark, and naturally they will have to find jobs in SMEs, as the big companies cannot hire them all. On the other hand, researchers might be interested in testing hypotheses, as well as turning their knowledge into practice through the SMEs,” says Morten Solgaard Thomsen.

He works at REG LAB, a non-profit organization that works to strengthen knowledge, competences and networks within regional business development, and is the overall project leader of the Øresund Match project.

Prior to the project, REG LAB analyzed the knowledge gap between SMEs and knowledge institutions, which showed that both were interested in a closer relationship.

“The SMEs, just like the bigger companies, are interested in gaining new knowledge and advancing their businesses. They can get that knowledge from the students, who can see the businesses in a new light, or from the researchers, who can provide new knowledge,” he continues.

Where are the SMEs?

Marie Bach Michaelsen explains that the bigger businesses have employees working solely on their collaborations and connections with the knowledge institutions around Denmark, whereas the smaller or medium-sized businesses cannot do the same. But this does not make them less relevant.

“The SMEs are among the most innovative businesses and are promoting growth, so it’s important and relevant for the students to study the cases and challenges that SMEs face. If the students are not capable of reflecting on these challenges or haven’t even met SMEs in teaching, it will be difficult for them to mirror their competences in job opportunities at SMEs,” she says.

It may seem rather strange that the kind of companies that comprise the majority of Denmark’s business sector are not well-represented at CBS – or other universities and knowledge institutions for that matter. Marie Bach Michaelsen has an idea why.

“Maybe it has something to do with tradition? The person you are collaborating with and what you want to signal through the collaborations? And then I think it’s a matter of mindset. The consultancies are on top of most CBS students’ wishlist when it comes to jobs, so there’s a certain idea of what you can do with your degree from CBS that might also need to change,” she says.

The goal of the two-year project, which ends in September 2022, is to have set up a structure on how SMEs and knowledge institutions can communicate and collaborate. But more specifically, Marie Bach Michaelsen wants to see at least 40 different collaborations established across the three knowledge institutions during the project term, and hopefully it will boost SMEs’ representation at CBS.

“When we started having growth partnerships at CBS, we put SMEs on the agenda. Currently, we have 14 partners, but that’s not enough, so hopefully, this project will kickstart initiatives that can bring the SMEs further into CBS. Through research, through teaching cases, internships, project collaborations, career events and so on,” she says.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99 percent of Denmark’s businesses, but are hardly represented at universitiesby

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected