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Access Cities - Global Alliance for Sustainable Urban Development with Quercus Group

Access Cities – Global Alliance for Sustainable Urban Development

“Having someone they can trust to help them make the journey across is key. While the formalities and regulatory side of things are important and are areas we support, a critical part of the journey is having someone here with the knowledge and network to help them understand and navigate the ecosystem, establish the right connections to potential partners and clients and help open doors to key opportunities.” – Allan Han Huei Teo, Managing Director Singapore, Quercus Group

Case details

Client name:
State of Green
Dec 2018
Aug 2021

The challenge of accessing the Singaporean market for sustainability innovators

Denmark and its biggest cities Copenhagen and Aarhus are internationally recognized for their pursuit of becoming more livable and sustainable. Much of the praise for new, creative and innovative solutions to urban challenges belongs to the community of technology providers, architects and other small and medium-sized companies. Many of these innovators are interested in an international exchange or seek opportunities in foreign markets such as Singapore. Singapore is known as the greenest metropolis in Asia and for its ability to rapidly adopt proven innovations. However, Danish SMEs face many hurdles accessing the Singaporean market that are typical to accessing international markets, and thus holding them back to take the journey:

  • International ventures are risky;
  • Public and private procurement is complex;
  • New international partnerships take a long time to build, and
  • The space is dominated by larger firms.

For Singapore, it could also mean not accessing the most progressive solutions, because they cannot procure what they do not know of. As part of the Access Cities project, we supported Nordic innovations for more sustainable cities to access the Singaporean market. The initiative offered

  • bespoke business support services,
  • accessing opportunities through an open innovation process with Singaporean partners, and
  • nurtured the city-to-city relationships between Singapore and Danish cities.

We are in Singapore to help establish the right connections to potential partners and clients

Since 2018, we have worked together with 19 companies – ADEPTAmplex Denmark ApSAquaporin A/SAquarden Technologies ApSCane-line A/SEnablesus ApSLeapcraft ApSLED iBond A/S . Metso Outotec Waste RecyclingOptimum Voyage ApSPowerCon A/SPurCity ApSSealytix ApSSMALLrevolution ApS , Ubiqisense ApSULTRAAQUA A/S , Vessel Performance Solutions ApSZeroNorth A/S and Østerberg.

All the companies are very individual and have different levels of maturity, priorities and strategies, and therefore needed tailor-made support. The majority of the companies look to Singapore as a gateway to the rest of the region. Typically, we would go through three steps with the companies in the handheld process aiming to help them gain access to new leads, the right clients and opportunities.

  1. Understanding the company from its product and offering to its growth strategy and export ambitions, and take this insight
  2. exploring and mapping the potential interest and entry points in Singapore, before
  3. making an introduction and support the company on their journey realizing concrete business opportunities in Singapore.

“We have gained access to a few major companies at c-level, providing immediate access to the relevant divisions for our technology. The support provided by Quercus Group has been good and valuable, opening up new opportunities for us, and I look forward to the continued support.” – Lars Laursen, General Sales Manager, Waste Recycling, Metso Outotec

Creating a market-fit through open innovation

Two difficulties innovators face when accessing new markets are market-fit and exposure. The Access Cities initiative worked with these challenges with an open innovation process. Organizations (challenge owners) in the markets invite innovators to come forward with solutions to a challenge question. This way the innovators get the opportunity to be exposed to a potential client by directly showcasing their product as well as the chance to adapt their solution to the unique context of the challenge owner.

In Singapore, we worked together with partners such as Capitalland as a strategic partner at the CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge (CSXC) (read more in this article) or as an outreach partner to Temasek Foundation’s Livability Challenge 2021.

About Access Cities

Access Cities is an international, public-private project, which aims to strengthen sustainable urban development in five project cities: New York City, Singapore, Munich and the Danish cities of Copenhagen and Aarhus. The project connects actors working with sustainable urban development in the pursuit of game-changing solutions to common issues confronting cities. Access Cities will develop innovative, viable and scalable responses to the most pressing sustainability challenges faced by global city hubs today and tomorrow – in collaboration and via the exchange of documented learnings within the sustainability space. Access Cities is funded by the Danish Industry Foundation and co-financed by the project partners State of Green, the Confederation of Danish Industry, Quercus Group, Climate-KIC, the City of Copenhagen and the City of Aarhus.

Visit the Access Cities website here.