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”The Nordic countries need each other”

  • Published 01/11/2011
The Nordic countries should compete together instead of against each other, and draw the attention from the rest of Europe northwards, says Jyri Häkämies, Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs.

The Nordic Entrepreneurship Monitor report on entrepreneurial activities in the Nordic countries, commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2010, shows that the entrepreneurial environment in the Nordic countries is relatively good. Many new companies are started up, but the key challenge is the growth of these companies.


Minister Jyri Häkämies, what can the Nordic countries do together to encourage companies to grow?

- First of all, the question of growth is very important. In the last years 700 companies created 50.000 work places in Finland. But the venture capital market in the single Nordic countries is too small and therefore we need to stand together and with joined forces draw attention to the North. Here the financial situation is quite good, and here we have knowledge, abilities and resources.  Instead of pulling the focus from Sweden to Finland or the other way around, we should cooperate.



Another Nordic challenge is the age structure of the population. We need more young entrepreneurs and current business successors.


In what ways can young people best be supported to innovative thinking and entrepreneurship?

- An entrepreneurial spirit in schools is needed.  We must wake an interest for entrepreneurship among the students, and make them think in new ways to adapt to changes and find solutions to problems. Not everyone can become an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneurial way of thinking can be useful in all areas of life. At the same time the society needs to take its responsibility and minimize the risks for new entrepreneurs, creating opportunities instead of barriers.



The Monitor report also shows that the entrepreneurial culture in the Nordic countries needs to be further strengthened.


How can the Nordic cooperation bring added value to strengthen the entrepreneurial culture in general?

- The global competition is strong; we need to become more innovative and competitive. The Nordic cooperation appears natural, as we share values and qualities as well as challenges. Instead of competing against each other, we should take the opportunity to learn from each other and at the same time increase the international interest for the Nordic countries.