Frontpage to the publication "Female Entrepreneurship in the Nordics 2020" June2020

Female Entrepreneurship in the Nordics 2020

- A comparative study
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The Nordic countries are viewed as forerunners on gender equality and women’s labour force participation. However, there are far fewer women than men starting businesses. The Nordics are often considered to be culturally similar: they have similar social systems, economic structures, labour markets, concepts of democracy, models of the welfare state, and universal public services. Nevertheless, there are clear differences in the share of female entrepreneurs across the Nordics. Why is this?

Female Entrepreneurship in the Nordics 2020 - comparative study is looking at the current entreprenurial landscape in the Nordics. The study is concluded with measures to stimulate female entrepreneurship.

Key findings from the study

Women have less access to role models and smaller networks, which makes them less likely to innovate.

If the entrepreneurial culture is male dominated it is difficult for women to succeed.

Female entrepreneurs have less access to external funding than male entrepreneurs, which makes it difficult for them to expand.

Framework conditions are especially important for enabling female entrepreneurship.

Female entrepreneurs are at risk of being especially hardly hit by COVID-19.

Measures to stimulate female entrepreneurship

What can be done to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in general and female growth entrepreneurship more specifically? Below, is a list of measures that Menon Economics find can be relevant and effective in increasing the number of female entrepreneurs with a significant growth potential.

  • Establish more comprehensive female Nordic mentoring schemes and networks
  • Increase female entrepreneurs’ access to capital
  • Remove competitive disadvantages in industries where women often operate as entrepreneurs
  • Establish a scheme for commercialization leave at universities and colleges

The study is carried out by Menon Economics for Nordic Innovation.
The study is part of the Nordic Female Entrepreneurship initiative, running from 2018 - 2021.

We thank the national statistical agencies and Bureau Van Djik for data and valuable guidance.


Trine Moa

Trine Moa

Senior Adviser Strategy and Governance
Trine has more than 14 years of experience working with strategic planning, developing and implementing methodology and tools for results management, evaluation and learning, with an innovative and solutions-oriented approach to her work.

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Marthe Haugland - Senior Innovation Adviser

Marthe Haugland

Senior Innovation Adviser
Marthe combines her international experience with her knowledge of business development and innovation to promote Nordic cooperation within the circular economy. She belives Nordic cooperation can drive the systemic change and give Nordic companies a competitive edge going forward.

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