We are launching a business scaling competition in Iceland. For the first time in Iceland, we are launching a competition to encourage those Startup Founders, Entrepreneurs and Businesses that want to scale inside and outside of Iceland utilizing a network. There is no restriction to apply, the deadline for the application is May 10th. This competition was the idea of one of Startup Iceland’s main Sponsors Vodafone. Vodafone was a sponsor in Startup Iceland 2015. We did a very interesting project on top of the Vodafone connected vehicles API and Data in the Startup Iceland 2015 Hackathon. The outcome was a company called Data Drive, which incidentally just got funded. I am delighted to support and encourage the idea from Vodafone when they said that they wanted to do more for the Startup Community in Iceland. Stökkpallurinn is the name of the competition. The name means Launch Pad in Icelandic.

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Starting a business is not the hard part, building a repeatable, sustainable and scalable business model on the problem is. I think the concept of starting a startup is now mainstream in Iceland now and I believe the next step is to learn how to build sustainable, scalable and repeatable business models. Today if your business does not leverage a network the chances are you will more or less vanish into obscurity. That is the nature of the network and Power Law. I think every startup and startup founder can build the muscle to create a scalable, sustainable and repeatable business model. The competition is to encourage and support those Startup Founders, Entrepreneurs and Businesses who are starting to think this way.

I have written enough about why I believe Iceland is an ideal place to do the first phase of a Startup. Iceland is also a great place to scale and nail your business model, however that does not necessarily translate into scaling your business into other markets. I believe you do need a “launch pad”, Vodafone is a large enough network that every startup or business doing anything in a mobile phone or on the network (read: every business) in Iceland should jump on the bandwagon. Here is a brief description of Vodafone from Wikipedia:

Vodafone Group plc/ˈvdəfn/ is a British multinationaltelecommunications company headquartered in London and with its registered office in Newbury, Berkshire.[2] It is the world’s second largest mobile telecommunications company measured by both subscribers and 2013 revenues (behind China Mobile), and had 434 million subscribers as of 31 March 2014.[3]

Vodafone owns and operates networks in 26 countries and has partner networks in over 50 additional countries.[4] Its Vodafone Global Enterprise division provides telecommunications and IT services to corporate clients in 150 countries.[5]

I don’t usually write puff pieces for any large multinational company except for those companies that understand the value and power that startups have. I think Vodafone in Iceland gets it. They are very committed to connecting with the Startup Community in Iceland and I believe this competition is a stepping stone to a lot of interesting and exciting things to come down the pike. The same reason every startup or business needs to be on a social network like Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram or Pinterest or LinkedIn, I believe telecom companies are the hidden networks. What a huge opportunity if you are a startup to piggyback on a network the services over 434 million people. I am excited that we are exploring these possibilities in Iceland and I am excited for the startup community in Iceland that Vodafone Iceland is committed to helping them in more than one way.

Vodafone Iceland also announced recently in Iceland – Vodafone Radio Station (in Icelandic)

Vodafone has launched a new community site – Vodafone Radio Station. Through the project, the Company undertakes to allocate a minimum of 100 telecommunication lines per year for infrastructure projects that contribute to the development of Icelandic society as new businesses, innovation and other important projects. Telecommunications grant the basic telecommunications services, namely Internet, mobile and television.

I am happy to have Vodafone as one of our main anchor sponsors for Startup Iceland. I am excited to see the participation in the Competition. If you are a startup founder and/or an entrepreneur, you should definitely apply!