During the spring of 2016, Barcamper toured around Scania in southern Sweden on a mission to scout the region for brilliant business ideas which for some reason hadn’t entered the startup scene. Over 80 meetings were booked during the tour and 40 entrepreneurs receiving guidance from the Barcamper crew to realize their business dreams.
With Barcamper came the realisations that novel knowledge and the opening of doors were seen as the true benefits for entrepreneurs. Of further importance was granting these ideas access to international networks and the capital for them to reach their potential global markets. But also by going out of your way to reach out to the entrepreneurs directly, contrasting the traditional practices of waiting for entrepreneurs to approach the incubator.
With those realisations, The Creative Plot initiated Barcamper. A tight collaboration was knit together with Future By Lund and Ideon Innovation during parts of the tour. In the spring of 2016, the mobile office on wheels commenced its tour and its collection of creative ideas with a visit to Veberöd, followed by visits to an additional five Scanian counties. The idea behind the Barcamper was to the decrease the physical and psychological thresholds for potential innovators to take their first steps and to enter the mobile office to present their ideas. A majority declared their participation in due part to the unpretentious and informal atmosphere that the mobile office and Barcamper crew offered, whereas the female entrepreneurs notably found this to have been the most appealing aspect of why they agreed to try it out in the first place.
The areas of interest in particular for the tour were cultural and creative industries, ranging from photo, design, architecture and theater to tourism and sport. After a six-day tour with 80 scouted business ideas, half of the entrepreneurs went on to receive coaching and meetings with international investors. Subsequently, twenty entrepreneurs went on to the next stage consisting of a week in an accelerator program to learn more about startup financing, budgeting and sales. Eleven finalist entrepreneurs were lastly chosen to learn more about presentation technique, assemblage of their team and crowdfunding - leaving Caroline von Post with the company Stormie Poodle as a winner during the accelerator week.
Though it’s too premature to read into any final conclusions from Barcamper, several of the business ideas that were presented during the weeks have already been making major leaps as initiated companies. As evident by the company “I am runbox” who have already conceded 2,5 million SEK from two crowdfunding campaigns, whilst Stormie Poodle went on to adjust its initial business idea from solely offering bathing robes to focus on the creation of whole collections from recycled materials. Health company of the Year, Actimate, also changed their digital plattform to accommodate a broader international market. The youngsters from Vultus, with their mission to revolutionise agriculture through drone technology, moved into the Ideon Innovation habitats to further their company's development. The organisers behind Barcamper, The Creative Plot, still fills in with continuous support and feedback for many of the entrepreneurs who participated.
Barcamper as a concept initially came out of Italy in 2012 through the venture capital company DPixel, which have been evaluating 1 800 business ideas throughout the years with capital invested amounting to 125 million SEK. Moreover, the exchange and return from Barcamper has yielded around 50 companies and 300 new employment opportunities. In Sweden, Barcamper have been financed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket), the regional council of Scania (Region Skåne) and Lund Municipality (Lunds Kommun). The practical venture for Barcamper was operated by The Creative Plot at Ideon Innovation in collaboration with DPixel from Milano.