Female Entrepreneurship in the Nordics 2020 analyses the reasons behind the low level of female entrepreneurs in the Nordic countries, and suggests several measures that could help change this trend.

The Nordic countries are viewed as forerunners on gender equality and women’s labour force participation. Even though there has been a slow increase in the share of female entrepreneurs in the Nordic countries in recent years, the report from Menon Economics note that there are still far fewer women than men starting businesses in the Nordic countries. This is likely a result of several factors, such as age, the type of industries they establish businesses in, and the willingness to take risks.

Moreover, the report underlines that there are several external factors which make it more difficult for female entrepreneurs to succeed:

  • 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

In order to stimulate female entrepreneurship, Menon Economics suggest four measures that are believed to be effective in increasing the number of female entrepreneurs :

  • 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 report also points to the fact that female entrepreneurs are at risk of being especially hardly hit by COVID-19, and that the length and magnitude of the emergency measures of the Nordic Governments series will impact how fast they will be able to recover.

This study was developed by Menon Economics on behalf of Nordic Innovation.

© Leo Grünfeld, Sigrid M. Hernes & Erika Karttinen, Menon Economics


This publication has been prepared within INDIGISE project. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.