THE SECRETARY GENERAL'S BLOG: Closer partnership to boost start-ups

13.11.18 | News
Dagfinn Høybråten

Dagfinn Høybråten

Nordic co-operation on funding for start-ups and growth companies works well, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Provided we seize the opportunities presented by working together, the Nordic Region could become a world leader in this field. This is one of the conclusions in a new report submitted to the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation by Idar Kreutzer, CEO of Finance Norway.

Blog by Dagfinn Høybråten

Idar Kreutzer’s report makes inspiring reading. It draws a picture of a region with all the preconditions for good investment opportunities and plenty of new thinking and innovation. The Nordic countries regularly top innovation rankings and have ambitious strategies for digitalisation, another area high on the agenda for Nordic co-operation.

The report shows that the opportunities for funding for start-ups and growth companies are already good.

In other words, the preconditions are really good and give rise to optimism. But this does not mean that everything possible has been done. Together, we can go even further and be even more attractive to international investors and talent, and this is where the Kreutzer report comes in. It looks to the future and what would be possible if the Nordic countries put their efforts into even closer partnership and integration.

Kreutzer presents 16 proposals for enticing more venture capital to Nordic growth companies and, in the final analysis, create more jobs. For example, he mentions harmonisation of tax regulations, more effective framework conditions and public-sector instruments, and measures to open up investment in start-up companies to institutional investors such as pension funds.

One of the important messages contained in the report that I would like to highlight is that for international venture capital the Nordic countries are quite small, but the Region is often seen as a single unit, and one with a very good reputation. This reputation and attractiveness could be a trump card in international competition if we show that we are capable of working together.

The report was well received by the Nordic Ministers for Co-operation at their meeting in late October. It was a positive first step, and I hope and believe that it will form the foundation for Nordic co-operation on start-up and growth companies in the future. The 16 proposals will now be considered at ministerial level.

It was gratifying to receive the report. It is a highly topical subject, and the proposals arrived at just the right time. Start-ups and growth companies are becoming a more and more important part of Nordic business life.

The report paves the way for making the most of the huge opportunities in the Nordic start-up sector, and it will be fascinating to follow the practical work of implementing the proposals.