A Triple Helix incubator in a sparsely populated area
Topic of the practice
Starting up a GIS incubator in order to provide a platform for GIS Engineering graduates to develop business ideas in a sparsely populated municipality in northern Sweden.
Good Practice Information
Cartesia Information Technology AB is a big GIS company within the Addnode Concern. It was founded in Lycksele in Northern Sweden in 1995, and its main office is still located there. As the company grew, Cartesia realized the difficulties in finding and recruiting staff with the right competence in the small municipality of Lycksele. Therefore, in cooperation with Umeå University and the municipal authorities, a 3-year Bachelor of Science in GIS Engineering was developed, which was located in Lycksele and accomodated by the local university branch and Lycksele Learning Centre. Since then 26 GIS students have graduated (in 2003 and 2008).
In 2008 Lycksele Learning Centre and IGIS (Innovative Geographical Information Systems), an economic association including Business, Academia and Government, started an incubator avtivity - IGIS Innovation Factory, in which interested GIS Engineering graduates could receive help to develop new business ideas within GIS (Geographical Information Systems). The aim was to support those who wanted to start their own GIS businesses. The incubator activity helps the new entrepreneurs with innovation management, business and technical advice, and they are also given access to the network that IGIS has developed. The former CEO of Cartesia is working for IGIS as a senior adviser, and the two IGIS member universities (Umeå and Luleå Technological) contribute with suggestions for technical solutions. Thus it is quite a typical Triple Helix operation - with local Government contributing with infrastructure, Academia with technology, and Business with business ideas and expertise.
Evidence of success
So far, IGIS Innovation has given birth to two new, local GIS companies. These companies have benefitted from the Cartesia involvement, as part of their business ideas come from GIS applications that they have been contracted by Cartesia to work out and have thus received customers at a very early stage. The success factor of the incubator is probably that its formation was based on a local need. Lycksele is on its way to becoming a national and international GIS node with Cartesia as the giant business motor, the universities and the university GIS Engineering programmes as the academic motor as well as IGIS as an important network motor with involvement from all the three parts of the Triple Helix.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Partnerskap Inland/Akademi Norr
Annex completed on: 10-11-2011