Why are Scandinavians good entrepreneurs?

Why are Scandinavians such good businesspeople?

The first thing I have to start out with is that I am using the word ‘Scandinavians’ to refer to the Nordics, something that I do realise is different.

Why am I using the word ‘Scandinavians’ to refer to the Nordics you may ask? I of all people should understand the difference between Scandinavia – Denmark, Sweden and Norway – and the Nordics, which adds to these three the duo of Finland and Iceland.

There are a huge number of startups and successful tech companies emanating from the region, with a previous feature from Nordic Intelligence looking at the example of Finland’s staggering dominance in mobile gaming.

Meanwhile the likes of Spotify, Skype, Minecraft and iZettle originate from Sweden, making Stockholm one of the top startup hubs in Europe.

1. Honesty


Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland are some of the least corrupt societies in the world. High-trust, low corruption societies make doing business easier as you do not have to worry about suppliers running away with your cash, partners stabbing you in the back or that your investment will disappear into a black hole.

Meanwhile honest public services mean you will expect a fair treatment in the event of business dispute from courts and local authorities.

2. A history of trading

Viking businessman

As a previous article argued, the Viking culture remains strong. While the Vikings are often thought of merely as violent murderers are rapists by most Europeans, they also had a strong trading and business culture, and formed a network of traders and businessmen that stretched from the Scandinavian peninsula into Eastern Europe and even the Middle East.

The experience of over a thousand years of trade no doubts help modern inhabitants of the region to delve into banking, trade and finance with the same gusto their ancestors exhibited.

3. Good Social Services

Social Security

OK, this sounds counterintuitive, particularly if you believe that cutting social services will force people into becoming entrepreneurs.

Yet creating a society in which people do not struggle to survive seems to have the surprising affect of driving forwards entrepreneurship and innovation. If you do not have to work fifteen hours a day just to pay your rent you may in fact have more time to work on your startup, even if it takes years to work on for little pay.

On the other hand London’s Tech City – based around the so-called ‘Silicon Roundabout’ – has started to suffer from the fact that most of the broke young people with dreams of becoming the next Zuckerberg cannot live on the paltry wages you will receive in a startup considering the average rent in the area will exceed your monthly salary.

Depressingly an economy built around property and finance does not seem to offer as much of a shot for those of us that do not have infinite pockets.

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