We have written about the startup environment in Denmark before, and this time we look at how the Danish model stimulates entrepreneurship.
Denmark has a long and proud tradition of entrepreneurship within the sectors of energy, medicine, logistics and much more, with companies like Novo Nordisk (medicine), Vestas (wind power), Maersk (logistics) and Lego (toys) in the front line internationally.
The Danish social security system makes it a safe and good choice for entrepreneurs, and there are lots of help to get in the initial years, which is crucial for the young company in order to reach a profitable state.
Social security and unemployment insurance
In Denmark, we have a strong social security system and unemployment insurance, which is a good thing for entrepreneurship because it reduces the risk of failing when you know you can still get offered an apartment, money, surgery etc. even if you go bankrupt.
The basic social security is free for all Danes, but on top of that you can sign up for unemployment insurance through the so-called “a-kasser”, which is partly paid for by the government.
It’s a unique system where you pay small a monthly fee, and in return, you are guaranteed a monthly income – typically equivalent to that of a low-paid job.
The payout and handling are managed by the “A-kasser”, which are privately held entities supported by the government. Some of them also go further by offering more services like:
- Legal assistance
- Debt collection
Check out more about these services at e.g. Krifaerhverv.dk. By offering these services entrepreneurs can get professional counseling from day one, and when you know you won’t end on the street (even if you fail hard), the entrance barrier is set low for new hopeful entrepreneurs.
This system is very unique for Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, and it provides a safety net for everyone, which is especially important, if you are considering starting your own business, as it always involves a risk to some extend.
Free courses for entrepreneurs
Startvækst is present in all major cities in Denmark with free courses and network activities for new companies, or people thinking about starting a business. There are also English speaking meet ups, and in many cases, you can ask in advance and have everything translated during sessions and workshops.
Startvækst means “Start-growth” and they also hand out grants. E.g. you can often get 20,000 DKK to help you figure out legal stuff if you are willing to pay 50% of the bill.
This means you can get a more professional launch with your product, and make sure everything is setup the best way possible from day one.
Denmark is a good test market
Danes have a reputation for being good at adopting new technologies and trends, and IT companies often use Denmark and The Netherlands for testing new features, as we have not only fast Internet connections but also an open mind towards change.
Possibly because we are a small country, so we need to stay open to outside input and change from time to time.
Denmark has one of the best average broadband / fiber connection speeds in the world:
Image used with permission from netkablet.dk.
If you choose to work for a Danish startup you can also expect good work conditions and a good work environment. We don’t have a set minimum wage, but the so-called “Danish model” makes sure everyone is treated well and gets a fair salary.