The cold countries of the North can boast hot ideas that make their entrepreneurship a real role model for the world. The Scandinavians make the most of their potential, inspiring to changes and continuous development.
Today, the Nordic countries are not only leaders in ultra-modern business solutions, but also pave the way in the use of natural, ecological energy sources. However, an important element of business strategies is also corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Denmark – business record holder
In 2015, „Forbes” magazine nominated Denmark the best country in the world to run business. In fact, the entire Scandinavia was placed high in the ranking. Sweden took the fifth, Norway seventh and Finland tenth place. The opinion of journalists was confirmed by “Doing Business 2015” report of the World Bank, where Denmark came first in Europe and the fourth in the world! The Danish government routinely guarantees stability thanks to a legal system that is friendly to entrepreneurs.
And although taxes are far from being the lowest there, the state supports launching businesses by offering favourable credit conditions. Denmark is also a start-up friendly country. This is where such brands as Momondo (free online travel search-engine), Trustpilot (the world’s largest reviewing platform), Falcon.io (social media management system) or the famous Endomondo (application for physically active people) come from.
Finland – the land of finance
In 2004, Suomi (Finnish name of the country) took first place in the competitiveness ranking created by the World Economic Forum. It is a real business record holder – according to the official Ministry data, about four thousand start-ups are created every year in Finland, of which 300 to 400 achieve significant growth. It is worth mentioning such projects as Invesdor, which brings together start-ups with investors, or Maksuturva Group, which offers advanced intelligent online payment systems.
And although the country is still perceived today through the prism of the legendary demise of Nokia, Finland can boast huge development of financial technologies. This is where the banking sector is thriving, supported by state-of-the-art ICT solutions.
Sweden – the motherland of iventions
It is the third country in the world with the world’s largest number of patented inventions per capita! This amazing result clearly indicates a unique atmosphere of innovation, which has been thriving there since the 18th century. Many people associate Sweden primarily with Alfred Nobel, a scientist, inventor of dynamite and the founder of the world’s most famous award for outstanding scientific and literary achievements. However, this northern country has given us much more. More than 100 years ago, Gideon Sundbäck created and then improved the prototype of the well-known zipper, reducing its susceptibility to accidental unzipping. In 1951, this Scandinavian inventor was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.
Moreover, the Swedes gave us the world-known aseptic cardboard packaging Tetra Pak, which revolutionized the food market, as well as the pacemaker, computer mouse, telephone receiver, propeller, safe matches, and even GPS! Sweden is also the home of many well-known brands, for example IKEA, Volvo or Oriflame. What is more, Stockholm is now referred to as the European Silicon Valley. This is where the innovative products from the IT industry come from: Skype, Spotify, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft.
Norway – not just fjords
Norway is now called the “business gold mine”. This sparsely populated country has one of the most attractive job markets on the continent, and the average annual salary amounts to over EUR 43 thousand. Although the development of Norway is based on the extraction of oil, it is also a country that is extremely open to new technologies and start-ups. The Norwegians are carefully looking at the latest IT solutions across Europe. At the beginning of 2019, the local tycoon, the Visma group, took over the Polish start-up BrainSHARE IT and its key product SaldeoSMART – the leading system in the cloud for accounting offices and departments in small and medium-sized enterprises.
Norwegian start-ups focused primarily on ecology and new technologies also do not waste their time. Otovo deals with solar panels and the system of buying and selling energy surpluses. Smart Planets is heading in a similar direction, with their ClevAir system enabling the optimization of ventilation systems and energy management in buildings. Nobobil also aims at ecology by offering a portal that allows car sharing. On the other hand, No Isolations focuses on the fight against… loneliness. The first product of this start-up was a robot-companion for chronically ill children who needed to spend longer time in the hospital. The other project was a communication device for seniors.
Ecology of the north
The Nordic countries are inseparably connected with business and ecology. In Finland, low-energy houses are very popular, and the emphasis is put on electrification of transport, which significantly reduces exhaust emissions. The Swedes, in turn, specialize in recycling and use of waste, which when skilfully processed in power plants, can provide up to 20% of heat to private homes. Denmark focuses both on organic food and the use of natural, renewable energy sources.
Today, the country is the leader in wind farms as well as occupies a prominent position in the field of use of solar cells in the world. Meanwhile, Norway is taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by nature by investing in hydroelectric power plants, and at the same time has the status of the leader in waste treatment and recovery, which reaches the effectiveness of 70 to 80%.