Tomas Zhang Mathiesen, founder of the Danish Startup Group (DSG) tells us about nurturing startups.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: We are doing good. Very few have tested positive so far, but none of us are in a critical situation. We are looking forward to being able to be together again all of us.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded the Danish Startup Group.
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: I founded the Danish Startup Group (DSG) when I was a student at the Technical University of Denmark. I wanted to create a place, where young ambitious students would be able to gain valuable experiences and insights within the Danish entrepreneurial scene. Together with my team, we strive to promote and support entrepreneurs/startups in Denmark through different events, workshops, initiatives, and trying our best to represent Denmark within the European startup scene.
How does Danish Startup Group innovate?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: We have a team with a very diverse background, age, and profession. This challenges our current ambitions and values on a continuous basis. As a result, we strive to never deliver the same services twice, but we are constantly out there and trying to establish new initiatives and values for our Danish community and startup members.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: A lot. Our core service is to meet, match and connect entrepreneurs together with like-minded peers. Due to restrictions, we have not been able to deliver our core services and tried to switch to online services and offerings. But online webinars are a very difficult media to handle. It is not the same, but we are trying our best to maintain our contact and offerings online.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: No. Not difficult choices but necessary choices due to the circumstances. But it fits DSG well. We are used to being innovative and agile, in terms of yearly switching teams and services. The best lesson learned is how difficult it is to bring content through a webinar. That is still something we try to improve!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: Have patience, give space and room for other private matters that will come first, and stop planning just adjusting! That is a good and flexible exercise.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: Other similar startup organizations, networks, and companies in Denmark. We are still planning to stay in the game by maintaining our focus with startups and entrepreneurs in the early stages and maintaining our good relations and position abroad within the European startup scene.
Your final thoughts?
Tomas Zhang Mathiesen: I am not afraid of upcoming entrepreneurs in Denmark. I think big problems will create more startups and new ideas. We have been in “peace” time for a very long period and during this “war” time with covid, I think it will awaken and strengthen our willingness to try new things, work harder and care for each other.
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