The Nordic countries are viewed as forerunners on gender equality and women’s labor force participation. However, there are far fewer women than men starting businesses in the Nordic countries. Over the years, the gender gap in education has been closing in most developed economies. The employment and wage gaps for women are also narrowing, though there is still a way to go. Yet, the gender gap in entrepreneurship prevails.
Lack of equality and diversity in the Nordic innovation ecosystem is a missed opportunity for value creation. As entrepreneurship is considered one of the key drivers for economic growth, the rise of female entrepreneurship could play an important role for economic growth and development.
“The task force gives me the opportunity to tap into the knowledge of people from all over the Nordics. By combining our experiences and networks, we can hopefully address the missed opportunity for value creation and the systemic inequality in the Nordic entrepreneurial ecosystem.”- Marthe Haugland, Senior Innovation Adviser at Nordic Innovation
Through the initiative Nordic Task Force for Diversity, we seek to diversify the Nordic innovation ecosystem and harness the innovation potential of underrepresented founders. The initiative contributes to several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including, but not limited to Gender Equality, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Partnerships For The Goals:
About the Nordic Task Force for Diversity
In 2018, Nordic Innovation launched the initiative Nordic Female Entrepreneurship with the main objectives to create Nordic synergies and learning to contribute to a more gender-equal innovation ecosystem. The initiative developed into the Nordic Task Force for Diversity in 2019 which brings together experts in entrepreneurship and the Nordic innovation agencies representing all the Nordic countries together with Nordic Innovation to address the gender gap in entrepreneurship.
“I’m part the of task force since I see it as an important group to co-create and also to challenge each other on how to move forward to create a more equal Nordic funding system for innovative companies and entrepreneurs.”- Annie Lindmark, Program Director at Vinnova within emerging technology
Through cross-border cooperation, the task force raises awareness of the barriers faced by women and underrepresented founders, identifies opportunities and resources. We support initiatives that contribute to increasing the number of female and underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Nordics, as well as increased investment in women entrepreneurs and female-owned companies. The group also focuses on stimulating knowledge and sharing of best practices to strengthen the work within the national organizations.
The Nordic Task Force for Diversity meets monthly to exchange experiences, ideas for new initiatives and to keep each other updated on recent developments in the members’ respective Nordic countries. Examples of the work the task force has been involved with in the past years include:
Unconventional Ventures - The Startup Funding Report
2020 NORDIC STARTUP FUNDING
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2021 THE STARTUP FUNDING REPORT
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2022 THE FUNDING REPORT
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Supported by Nordic Innovation.
Female Entrepreneurship in the Nordics 2020
“In the Nordic Task Force for Diversity, I am part of the work to shape and open up new types of partnerships and networks for women and underrepresented groups in the Nordic innovation ecosystem”- Moa Persdotter, Program Administrator at Vinnova within gender mainstreaming
The main objective of the Nordic Task Force for Diversity is to foster a more diverse and gender equal entrepreneurship landscape in the Nordic countries. This includes identifying obstacles, learn from other countries’ initiatives and best practices, identifying measures that can be implemented at a Nordic level, as well as initiating discussions and raising awareness of both barriers and opportunities to female entrepreneurship.
“Accessible role models are of utmost importance for anyone striving towards more diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystems. The Nordic Task Force for Diversity is a platform that makes reaching those role models possible: they are right here – in the Nordic-Baltic region.” -- Maija Kāle, Innovation & Sustainability Adviser at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia
Members of the Nordic Task Force for Diversity
- Annie Lindmark, Program Director, Vinnova
- Moa Persdotter, Program Manager, Vinnova
- Maija Kãle, Innovation & Sustainability Adviser at The Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia
- Benjamin Wallin Sørensen, Business and Diversity Officer, Danish Business Authority
- Mailiina Turanlahti, Senior Director, Business Ecosystems, Business Finland
- Line Christmas Møller, Project Manager, Nordic Council of Ministers
- Trine Moa, Senior Adviser Strategy and Governance, Nordic Innovation
- Marthe Haugland, Senior Innovation Adviser, Nordic Innovation
- Hege Guttormsen, Higher Executive Officer, Nordic Innovation
“The limited number of women entrepreneurs in the Nordics is clearly a missed opportunity for value creation. The Nordic Task Force for Diversity can contribute to an open dialog around the facts and mobilize for both short and long-term actions needed for a more equal and diverse Nordic innovation ecosystem”- Trine Moa, Senior Adviser Strategy and Governance at Nordic Innovation