Government for the win?

As of the first day of this year, entrepreneurs in Denmark are able to start a company with just 1 Danish Krone in capital, marking further progress towards the Danish government supporting entrepreneurship.

Previously 80,000 DKK was needed in capital before you could register a limited company. However, from January 1st you can now choose to set up an “entrepreneurial company”, which differs from the traditional limited company and avoids the previous financial obstacle.

The most impressive aspect of this, is the recognition that startups are not businesses in the “traditional” sense, and that more often than not, startups rely on determination and ambition alone to drive their ideas forward rather than hard cash.

This barrier being removed will surely see a big increase in entrepreneurs in Denmark taking the risk of starting something up, and is in fact the latest in a series of recent developments that demonstrate that the Danish government is beginning to realise the part they can and need to play in terms of helping Danish startups and entrepreneurs succeed.

The most significant of these was announced at the end of 2013 with the news that the Danish Ministry of Business Affairs and Growth stating that a a new loan system for entrepreneurs would be effective ahead of schedule.

“We have sped up the system so that entrepreneurs now have better access to financing. These entrepreneurs who have started their business, and have the opportunity to accelerate their activities further, are very important for growth and jobs in Denmark. So I am very pleased with the loans now being launched ahead of schedule.”

“We estimate that around 50 entrepreneurs per year will benefit from the new scheme. But it may well be more, depending on how diligent banks and businesses are to take advantage of the new opportunities.”

These loans will go a long way in terms of supporting those looking for finances in order to take their businesses to the next level, and provide another potential avenue for them to find cash in addition to the Angels, VC’s and Accelerators.

Political focus on the startup ecosystem

A little less tangible, but interesting nonetheless was Startup Weekend Borgen, held in Danish Parliament back in October.

To kick off the event, there was a debate between Danish politicians (and Thomas Madsen Mygdal) about how innovation and entrepreneurship could help address problems in society as well as discussing what more could be done to encourage entrepreneurship in schools and how to create more entrepreneurs in general.

Although this event does not provide any long-term benefit to the ecosystem in terms of Government assistance, by having the event in this location and having politicians form part of the debate, it provided welcomed attention and recognition for the importance of startups and entrepreneurs in Denmark.

Not long after the Startup Weekend Borgen, one of the politicians prominent in getting the startup weekend to happen within Borgen; Uffe Elbæk, founded Alternativet a new political party. Alternativet have pledged to have a big focus on entrepreneurship and startups.

Uffe has certainly got his supporters in the entrepreneurial world, with my own Twitter and Facebook feeds regularly being taken over by my network “liking” and “following” the parties social media presence since their inception, but it is a case of wait and see as to whether Alternativet can or will deliver on this promise, but the intention and message is certainly welcomed.

These are exciting times to be an entrepreneur in Denmark, and having the Government on the same page can only help the cause. These recent developments are only small steps and there is still a lot of room for an improvement in the collaboration between the ecosystem and the Government.

There has certainly been a move in the right direction over the last twelve months, and this is reason enough to believe there are better days to come.

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