An Interview with Ellinor Bokedal, Project & Communications Manager at Swedish Incubators & Science Parks

6 mins read

We have made the decision to initiate a collection of concise interviews featuring experienced PR practitioners and industry experts, aiming to explore the practical aspects of the field of public relations in greater detail.

Today’s guest is Ellinor Bokedal, Project & Communications Manager at Swedish Incubators & Science Parks

SISP serves as the member organization for all university-affiliated incubators and science parks in Sweden. The website provides information about their initiatives, projects, and services aimed at supporting startups, scaleups, established companies, and the public sector. Visitors can learn about business development opportunities, funding options, networking events, and collaborations facilitated by SISP.

Today’s guest is Ellinor Bokedal, Project & Communications Manager at Swedish Incubators & Science Parks

1. Can you share an example of a successful project you managed at Swedish Incubators & Science Parks? What were the key challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?

In the spring of 2023, we initiated a joint effort to address challenges for Swedish startups and scaleups to grow into becoming scaleups. The initiative started out of a frustration of a low knowledge level of the decision makers (mainly politicians) about the target group startups and scaleups, their needs and obstacles to grow and become impactful, exporting companies. The work consists of a mobilization phase, a funding phase and a report that is being written right now. Already at this stage, it is a very successful movement and the feedback we get is that it’s about time someone took the baton, driving discussions and gathering challenges, with proposed solutions, that reach those who decide on regulations that affect these companies fundamentally.

2. Swedish Incubators & Science Parks works with various startups and entrepreneurs. How do you approach fostering a collaborative and supportive environment for these individuals? Can you describe an instance where your efforts had a significant impact on the success of a startup?

Swedish Incubators & Science Parks (SISP) is the member organization for all university-close incubators and science parks in Sweden. Our 63 members support startups, scaleups, established companies and the public sector by offering business development, funding, networks and matchmaking to find fruitful collaborations and business agreements. An example of effects our members contribute to is the significant increase in access to owner capital for companies in incubation. In 2022, 260 companies in the excellence incubators (within the national incubator program) attracted a total of nearly 1.8 billion SEK in owner capital, which is an increase of 250 million SEK compared to 2021. This is despite the availability of venture capital decreasing by almost one-fifth last year.

What we do is to drive industry development through member-shared projects and platforms, offer member support with forums for knowledge exchange and methods for development (for example the national incubator program and the science park program) and policy development for booth incubators and science parks as well as startups and scaleups.

3. In your role, you likely encounter a variety of innovative ideas and projects. How do you assess the feasibility and potential impact of these initiatives? Can you walk me through your process for evaluating and selecting projects to pursue?

For us, everything we do comes down to what is beneficial for Swedish startups and scaleups. That is the number one common denominator among our members, their stakeholders and Sweden as a country. If the answer is “yes, this contributes to making the daily work and conditions for our startups and scaleups better”, then we evaluate who we should collaborate with. We rarely run programs or projects alone. After that we need to apply for public funding. If everything falls into place, we have a project, but the process from idea to project start is usually more than a year.

4. With the rapid evolution of technology and digital platforms, communications professionals have an array of tools at their disposal. Could you share a creative tool or toolkits that you have used to enhance your PR campaigns?

LinkedIn is our number one PR platform. Since we rarely have any budget (we’re a non-profit primarily member based funded), we need to find cost-efficient ways to drive PR and marketing. We also partner up with bigger media partners where we exchange our knowledge and wide network in exchange for visibility on their platforms. Previously we have used tools such as MyNewsdesk and Notified for pressrooms but we cannot defend the cost against the ROI. Our goal is not media visibility for ourselves, but rather to have a voice at the decision-makers’ table. Sometimes that requires debate/visibility in the media, but primarily not.

5. Are there any particular PR tools you would like to see developed in the future? What functionalities should it have?

I would love and appreciate a better AI tool that writes articles and political input, based on regulations on a paragraph level, for decision makers. That is a jungle today and takes a lot of research time. The regulatory framework is digitally available, so it shouldn’t be too hard to develop.

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