Sigrún Yngvadóttir was a native of Iceland, now running businesses in Sweden. Sigrún established a successful Advertising-agency and in addition to working as a freelance marketing consultant, she is now about to start a business conceptualizing ideas like a venture capitalist, but more like an idea capitalist. In her role, she will also help individuals who work in an environment they cannot identify themselves with any longer to make their own conditions as an entrepreneur.
Sigrún Yngvadóttir is also a member of the managing committee for "Nyföretagarcentrum" in a Stockholm district with lot of immigrants. The Nyföretagarcentrum aims to support entrepreneurs working out business plans.
"Many entrepreneurs are not experts on anything, because they want to learn more about a lot of things. They like to know less about how things are done because they want to do things different, because they follow their passions and they create their own conditions. They want to do things a better way, and they want to heal some kind of pain-point."
1. What motivated Sigrún in Sweden to start businesses?
Sigrún has been an entrepreneur almost her whole life. In a different post of mine, I talk about the trouble young people have trying to get a job. Sigrún wanted to prove that at age 19, she could get 24 hours of work covered by different jobs for 3 days. This early determination to beat expectations continued through her adult life. She was a freelance marketing agent, started up her own segment of another agency, started with other partners. She was motivated to work on her own because she did not like being bound by rules that the system had created. If you want something to be better or in a different way, you have to just go do it. It's good to start anywhere and work towards your vision. As they say, "If you want something to be done right, you have to do it yourself".
2. How do entrepreneurs in Sweden go about starting up businesses?
• First Step: Register your private business
• Second Step: Incorporate your company. There are several options for incorporation, I am just covering how Sigrún got started. It used to cost 100,000 Krona, and you would need to have an accountant say that everything checks out, but recently, the amount of money needed to incorporate changed to 50,000. Sigrún owns and operates a private business with 100% ownership.
Sigrún tried all the different kinds of incorporation and she found that Limited Partnership Company is good if you have Aktiebolag owner of your part of your Kommanditbolag; common in service businesses, more than one owner of business.
3. What kind of assistance does the government give to entrepreneurs to encourage new businesses to start in Sweden?
There are employment services that give contribution for starting a new business. If you can create a business idea, they help look at your plans, support growth and develop new business ideas. Of course, this process does take some time and requires a lot of paperwork.
Taxes can be difficult, so when you start a business, you can contact a general office, and you can make your own private business, and the taxes that you pay can cover some of your business as well. Additionally, you have to pay 25% VAT (can be different, but most common) as well.
As for hiring new staff, you can pay a little fee and you can get an employee subsidized by the unemployment service. This option is only viable if you are looking for a kind of worker that is available through the unemployment service. The unemployment service essentially matches you with a worker In Sigrún's case, this benefit lasted 6 months and then you have to take all the cost yourself.
Last word of advice: Try harder to do more of the things you love to do; do not spend as much time on things you do not like to do! Passion leads to quality, and quality is always profitable and sustainable.
I learned a lot from Sigrún, and I think these mantras that I have been given reflect the same kind of entrepreneurial rule of thumb that we have in Minnesota. "Do what you like to do, hire people that like to do the roles that you do not like.", "Just START something because even if you fail you will gain a network and greater experience".
Certainly the taxes are different than American businesses, but that is expected. It appears that the main driver of entrepreneurship in both countries is passion, problem solving, and the ability to recognize opportunities.
In either country, it seems that if you want to start a business, people, the government, and your community will try their best to help you succeed, because your business helps to employ people and stimulate your local economy.