The CEO of Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI), Jennie Ekbeck, has been named as one of five finalists in the small company category of Sweden’s CEO of the Year 2021.
A total of 20 nominees advanced to the finals in four categories – small, medium and large companies and Young CEO of the Year. Jennie Ekbeck has made it to the final in the small business category, competing with four others for the title.
“I was surprised and very happy to find out I had made it to the final. I feel really honored,” she says. “As a nominee you have to answer a number of questions and a jury listens to references from a manager and an employee. And that’s why I value this nomination so highly, because the jury has really evaluated my leadership and the effects it has achieved.”
Jennie Ekbeck has been CEO of Umeå Biotech Incubator since 2012. UBI is an incubator for life science companies that offers business support, financing and office and laboratory facilities. The incubator has supported many companies, both large and small, including Lipigon Pharmaceuticals and Lipum, which were both publicly listed in 2021.
Ekbeck believes a major challenge of being a CEO is to be strategic with a ‘helicopter perspective’, while at the same time retaining an ability to understand small details and how they are all connected. ”Being able to switch between these two perspectives and understand how they relate to each other is challenging, but is also what makes the job so rewarding,” she says.
Ekbeck was previously named Innovation Angel of the Year in 2015 by Veckans Affärer and Vinnova. She has also been nominated for the Umeå Region’s Best CEO 2017 and for the Ecosystem Hero of the Year at the Nordic Startup Awards in 2020. Umeå Biotech Incubator has also won awards in several competitions, including Sweden’s Best Accelerator Program or Incubator Program 2019, and Europe’s most innovative life science incubator in 2021.
Read more: Jennie Ekbeck is Innovation angel #1
“I am inspired by leaders who have a genuine interest in developing people and who want to help them reach their full potential. These leaders understand that it is people who achieve results such as growth and business goals. I have enormous respect for this type of leader and I am inspired by them,” says Ekbeck.
The formal award ceremony will take place at Fotografiska in Stockholm on 11th November.
“The theme for the CEO of the Year 2021 is human leadership, i.e. a more humane and empathetic leadership approach that I am fully convinced will be business-critical in the future. I am really looking forward to the evening and will be both excited and a little nervous,” says Jennie Ekbeck.
Photo of Jennie Ekbeck: Malin Grönborg