A healthy future is created by entrepreneurs

More and more people in Sweden envision a future as an entrepreneur. This will create future prosperity. But policy-makers could do more to turbocharge new companies, many of which have business concepts that can solve society’s challenges.

At an IVA seminar in Almedalen on challenge-driven entrepreneurship, Professor Pontus Braunerhjelm said that Swedish entrepreneurship has developed well since 2005.

“Entrepreneurs are the ones who convert research into useful things,” he said.

Braunerhjelm pointed out that it was entrepreneurs who in 1870–1910 laid the foundation for our prosperity today. It was the époque when many of Sweden’s big corporations were born.

“Entrepreneurship still has an important role to play, especially in solving global challenges.”

But not everything is fine and dandy in the world of Swedish entrepreneurship.

“In Sweden we are good at starting companies. But much worse at scaling up new enterprises. In many cases the Chinese and Americans are acquiring new and interesting companies here,” he said.

Serendipity is a company which since 2004 has successfully focused in helping new entrepreneurs, often researchers, to speed up the development of their enterprises. Amin Omrani is the CEO.

“But we shouldn’t be turning researchers into entrepreneurs. When researchers come to us we try to steer them clear of developing their companies themselves.”

What drives the new entrepreneurs, according to Omrani, is curiosity and the desire to create something new. They want to make money of course, but incentives other than a high salary often attract more of them.

To help boost Swedish entrepreneurship we should, for example, adapt the tax rules to better suit the situation of entrepreneurs.

“But things are pretty good in Sweden anyway,” he said.

Although there is always room for improvement of course. System support, regulations and increased mobility in the job market are things which, in addition to tax rules, could be impacted by political decisions.

Jennie Nilsson (S) is Chairman of the Government’s committee on trade and industry (Näringsutskottet). She thinks that there should be a cohesive approach to entrepreneurship, not like now where it is the domain of many different ministries.

“The Government has introduced many reforms, but more are needed for sure,” she said.

Emil Kjällström is the economic policy spokesperson for the Centre Party in Sweden. He thinks that the pace of government reform is much too slow, in particular in areas such as digitalisation and the job market from a company perspective.