The Danish Entrepreneurial Mindset

Skrevet af Femi og Michael

City Hall Square in Copenhagen

Pelle Braendgaard has on his blog Stakes Ventures just made a blog post about Danish Entrepreneurship and some of the challenges the Scandinavian mindset poses to us Scandinavians.

“The entrepreneurial tradition thing is a sad thing. In 1988 when various business associations in Denmark needed young Danish entrepreneurs to send to various EU conferences, I was the only person they could find. Yes I knew several others, but it really was not a common thing to be an entrepreneur in the 80s in Denmark. I can see people of my generation are really scared of the idea of entrepreneurship.

However as I mentioned at the talk, I think computers, games, mobiles and the Internet has had a big impact of the generations coming after mine. Dane’s in the 20s are a lot more open to the idea of setting up shop than my generation. I can only assume this trend will grow. From the Copenhagen.rb meetings I can see that there is a definite change in the mindset of people.”
Stakes Ventures: Silicon Vikings talk on Danish Entrepreneurship

I think Pelle is right that Danes in our generation (people in their 20s) are more willing to try for themselves as opposed to solely being an employee. When Femi came to Denmark from UK he said he was surprised to see that there was a lot of my friends and people in general who at some point had their own small company. We do however still have a lot to learn from the Americans on being bold and thinking bigger.

Where Pelle mentions some of the constraints of setting up and operating a company in Denmark as a stumbling block – I would emphasis the flexibility of the Danish system as a contributing factor to why I created astartup instead of becoming an employee.

  • I could get unemployment benefits straight out of university while I was growing my company. (The paperwork is a hassle, but at least I got some money for rent)
  • Starting a personal partnership (I/S) is super easy. One (1) paper form and you are in business. The disadvantage is that you are fully liable for the company but starting a software company does not involve any big investments so the risk is not big in my case.
  • The economy is strong and there is a shortage of people in IT. Even though this might change for now it has been an assurance for me that if everything fails in my business it is easy to go out and get a job.
  • There are a number of governmental institutions and non-profit networks emerging focused on startups and entrepreneurship.

To me the threshold to get started in Denmark is very low. It is when the company is starting to mature and money is starting to roll in that the problems occur. Changing to a limited company and the huge taxation that follows will then be a major issue. My perspective on this mater is further enhanced from Femi’s experience in the UK, where his perception is that the threshold of starting a small company requires significantly more work, whereas the benefits outshine those of the danish equivalent once established and money begins to flow.

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Opdateret d. 2. juli 2007 i kategorien: Forretningsstrategi,In English . Andre indlæg af

2 kommentarer Skriv kommentar

  • 1. Mads Kristensen  |  25. juli 2007 kl. 08:02

    I absolutely agree in the points you make here. The four points you mention (apart from point number 1) have been instrumental in me taking the leap from the corporate world to starting my own business.

  • 2. femi og michael  |  25. juli 2007 kl. 09:28

    Thanks – it’s great to hear when people leave the safe harbour to try sailing their own boat. I think that must take guts going from a steady income to a more fluctuating pay. Best of luck to you, Mads!

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