Danish Economic Strongholds and Clusters of the Future

Cooperation between companies, knowledge and educational institutions and public organisations is a key driver for innovation, change and progress in all sectors and industries. Clusters play an import role by facilitating and promoting cooperation within the ecosystems in the strongest and most promising industries in Denmark.

The strategy Business Promotion in Denmark 2020-2023 identifies a number of economic areas of business and technology as the future focus of the publicly funded cluster organisations. In future, there will only be one publicly funded cluster within each selected industry. By gathering the efforts across the country, the cluster structure will be more simple, efficient and easy to understand for companies.
The selection of cluster organisations is done in close cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Klynger Four Focal Points in Cluster Initiatives

The Danish Board of Business Development supports cluster initiatives based on four focal points:

  • One professional and nationwide cluster organisation should be the leading force of innovation within its area.
  • Cluster initiatives must be rooted in an independent private cluster organisation, which strengthens innovation in the companies through cooperation across their ecosystem, e.g. with the cross-municipal business hubs.
  • Cluster organisations must be neutral cooperation platforms, which are open and available to all types of relevant businesses and entrepreneurs all over the country.
  • Cluster initiatives must consist of activities, which motivate the companies to take joint responsibility for the development within their area, e.g. through private co-financing.

Economic strongholds and emerging industries

With the strategy Business Promotion in Denmark 2020-2023, the Danish Board of Business Development selects ten strongholds and two emerging industries.
Economic strongholds are characterized by companies and knowledge environments that are the best in class and represent a significant contribution to Denmark’s economy as well as a high level of international competitiveness.
Emerging industries are prioritised based on large and scalable potentials with a clear and credible prospect for commercial success given macroeconomic trends, the development of the global markets and the strength of the specific Danish research and knowledge base.
Tourism has been selected as a national stronghold, but the public cross-municipal DMOs and national tourism associations replace a cluster initiative.

Environmental technology covers all solutions within cleansing of water, air or soil, water supply, wastewater, chemical substitutes, waste management, circular economy, climate adaptation, resource efficiency, process optimisation of waste reduction as well as new and recycled plastic.
The cluster initiative focusses on:

  • Intensifying and expanding the interaction of the ecosystem
  • Utilising the export potential through strengthened cooperation between Danish companies and public operators in Denmark and abroad
  • Incorporating digital solutions 
  • Making use of the business potentials in realising initiatives like Water Vision Denmark and Clean Air Vision.

Energy technology covers technologies related to the production of energy and energy- efficient solutions in a commercial sense. The area includes industries and value chains within energy production, infrastructure, storage, transport and logistics, conversion and planning as well as energy-efficient technologies, electrification, sector coupling, design, counselling and system integration.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Support the development and the export of especially green energy technology and related solutions
  • Build on the Danish strengths within especially green energy technology, green solutions and the well-established Danish infrastructure within both electricity, gas and district heating
  • Encompass the entire energy ecosystem
  • Support companies’ access to the right competences, export readiness, internationalisation and cooperation with research environments.

Food and bio resources cover the supply and value chain from primary production to processing and distribution of food and value creation through biological residuals and biproducts as well as environmental and climate friendly alternatives within green gasses, materials, chemicals and feed.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Support innovation and cooperation across value chains and between companies and knowledge institutions
  • Support the development of sustainable production and better ingredients
  • Increase the use of digital technologies and develop new business models with a view to sales on national and international markets.

Maritime industry and logistics cover the whole value chain from production and development of equipment and technology to management, service and logistics from the global sender to the recipient. This includes sea transport, end-to-end logistic solutions both on land, at sea and in the air as well as related areas of transporting goods and passengers including the needs and potentials of development and innovation.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Support innovation through research and knowledge sharing within and across maritime industries and logistics
  • Unify the ecosystem around concrete projects where innovation based on cooperation is brought into play
  • Make use of the special potential in strengthening green transition across the industry
  • Cooperation and knowledge sharing linked to end-to-end logistics, synergies between on- and off-shore businesses and the cooperation with other sectors.

This area covers the whole value chain within medicine, biotech and medico products. Welfare technology includes technical and digital aids and solutions used in elder care and social services as well as in the health sector.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Strengthen the cooperation between public and private operators on innovation and investments in research and development of new and digital health solutions for the benefit of companies, patients and the health sector as a whole including new export potentials
  • Work across value chains, disciplines, authorities, investors and sectors
  • Support the development of SMEs in this area, in order for them to compete outside the Danish market and increase growth and innovation of the industry. 

Construction and building cover the whole value chain of the industry, which is e.g. building, architects, consultancy firms and building materials. Construction mainly covers transport infrastructure as well as the running and maintenance of it.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Increase productivity through cross-sector cooperation in building processes which are traditionally separated according to trade or stages of the process
  • Strengthen the integration of new knowledge in the industry within especially digitalisation, materials, new technology, service innovation, sustainability and utilisation of resources
  • Strengthen the cooperation with knowledge and educational institutions which can contribute to dissemination of information, development of networks and business development. 

Design, fashion and furniture cover design companies which work with e.g. graphic and visual design, product design, interior design and clothing, including styling and production of furniture, interior, textiles, fashion articles etc.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Bring companies and the research environment closer together in order to maintain Denmark´s position as a leading design nation
  • Support the special potentials of this industrial area as regards sustainable production, efficient utilisation of resources, new technology and digitalisation.

Advanced production covers value chains within manufacturing companies and automation technology. A significant segment consists of companies manufacturing machinery.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Support increased productivity through innovation, knowledge sharing and cross-sector cooperation between manufacturing companies and knowledge institutions
  • Make use of the possibilities of Industry 4.0 technologies
  • Strengthen digital production and use of new advanced materials through cooperation between manufacturing companies and the Danish research environment within materials technology
  • Support export readiness and international partnerships, especially in sub-sectors with low levels of internationalisation.

Digital technologies cover IT companies developing software and IT related products and services including artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer technology, digital communication, big data, block chain, data analysis and Internet of Things.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Strengthen innovation in companies developing digital solutions, e.g. through increased cooperation
  • Develop digital solutions which can be used in other sectors through cooperation with cluster organisations and companies in other industrial and technological areas
  • Promote the innovative use of Danish experiences, competencies and knowledge resources within e.g. data ethics and artificial intelligence. 

Finances and financial technology cover banks and investment companies, insurance firms, pension funds and other related companies in the financial sector. Fintech includes digital financial technologies, where a number of well-established companies and entrepreneurs work in the interface between finance and IT.  
The cluster initiative must:

  • Support innovative cooperation between financial companies, authorities and knowledge and educational institutions
  • Promote closer cooperation between the fast-growing fintech companies and the established financial sector
  • Cooperate with other cluster organisations to distribute solutions and underlying technologies. 

Tourism covers companies such as hotels, campsites, restaurants, transport companies, tourist attractions and amusement activities as well as the industries which experience the side effects, e.g. in retailing. Tourism is divided into the following business areas: coastal and nature tourism, city tourism and business tourism.
The Danish Executive Board for Business Development and Growth will support:

  • Green and sustainable tourism
  • Strategic coherence and cooperation crosswise
  • Place-based local development in leisure activities
  • Knowledge- and data-based development and innovative use of technology
  • Investments in attractive tourist products
  • International marketing.

Robot and drone technology cover the technologies aimed at increasing the productivity across industries and making them more efficient. The area covers e.g. surveillance drones, collaborative robots and semiautonomous systems.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Strengthen the cooperation between companies and knowledge and educational institutions with the purpose of developing and implementing robots, drones and similar components and software
  • Advance the access of the companies to the latest research and strengthen their involvement in cooperation with knowledge and educational environments
  • Develop and implement robots in new lines of business and develop better collaborative robots, which can contribute to addressing the labour shortage.

Animation, games and film cover the companies working with all of or part of the value chain within the production of animation, games, film, TV, commercials and interactive technologies as well as the distribution through licensing, publishing and streaming.
The cluster initiative must:

  • Support innovation, knowledge cooperation and partnerships across companies and knowledge and educational institutions
  • Combine the strong competencies of the area within visual storytelling, artificial intelligence and computer technologies with research in order to create new business areas and new products across lines of business.


Contact the secretariat of the Danish Board of Business Development, if you want to know more about the strongholds, emerging industries and future cluster organisations.

Gunvor Mejlholm

Telephone: +45 3529 1731

Email: [email protected]