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Startup Hub Northern Europe - What we can learn from the Startup Vikings

Part 2: The 5 Main Success Factors of the Nordic Startup Boom

In the second part of the "Startup Hub Northern Europe"-Series, our cofounder Valentin Kahn gets you familiar with the reasons for the entrepreneurship boom in Scandinavia.

What are the sources of the nordic success, with 13 billion dollars total exit value of tech startups in 2014 alone?

1) Welfare. In its 2015 report for the "Entrepreneur of the Year", EY states what we all know: The Nordic welfare model origined but not solely based on rich oil and gas occurence is "characterized by a large public sector, a high level of social security and economic equality". Norway ranking first in economic prosperity worldwide is the prominent example there. Thus, a lot of financial support is available for entrepreneurs and young individuals in general. Despite the high prosperity, corporate taxes are fairly low, with companies in Denmark paying around 25% (in comparison the US: 40%).

2) Happiness. Scandinavian countries are among the happiest places to live in. With the welfare follows the availability of resources to help others. In Denmark, more than 40% of the citizens do voluntary work, providing evidence of the existing attitude on top of the capacity for doing good things. Additional factors for the track of happiness in the Nordics are sustainability and gender equality.

3) Culture. Scandinavians are heavy tech users and open for innovation, not just because they built the first telephones or the telcom multi Nokia. Rapid cultural changes take place in Northern countries considering the reputation and meaningfulness of young entrepreneurs, leading to a huge build up of initiatives providing tangible and intangible infrastructure. A lot of coworking spaces, competitions and media projects (like or refoster this development.

4) Cooperation. Scandinavia provides a unique business culture of not just innovation but cooperation. The willingness to go for alliances fostering entrepreneurial services in a common approach rather than staying on the egotrack is a big plus of the nordic startup culture. The Nordic Crowdfunding Alliance ( or the Nordic Startup Awards ( are excellent examples for this approach.

5) Talents. At Scandinavian universities, educating students in entrepreneurship is considered to be a practical thing. All top-ranked Scandinavian universities offer incubators, mentoring the young entrepreneurs and providing them with the knowledge and the infrastructure they need. The Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship is one of the leading academic facilities in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation.