In focus: Some initiatives, grants & schemes available to encourage entrepreneurship in Greenland
Venturing into the icy landscapes of Greenland, it can be seen that women are crafting their own narratives of empowerment through entrepreneurship. Amidst the breathtaking glaciers and Northern Lights, a wave of dynamic women entrepreneurs is reshaping the business scene.
Empowerment indeed, finds its unique form in this Arctic region, where women’s entrepreneurship is not just about business – it’s about sustainability, self-reliance & cultural preservation. From innovative eco-tourism ventures that harmonize with nature’s rhythm to creative enterprises rooted in traditional crafts, Greenlandic women are weaving their stories of success.
Greenland’s women entrepreneurs are embodying the spirit of their land – resilient, innovative, and bold. They’re carving paths in fields as diverse as technology, handicrafts, and hospitality, blending their indigenous heritage with contemporary aspirations. With each venture they undertake, these women are not just creating economic impact but are also preserving the rich cultural tapestry of Greenland.
In this frozen realm, women entrepreneurs are indeed the Northern ‘lights of change’ – illuminating the path towards economic sustainability, cultural preservation & a brighter future.
> Entreprenørskab – entrepreneurship education initiative in Greenland
Greenlanders’ aspirations to diversify their economy and generate new opportunities for all Greenlanders will require a young and dynamic workforce prepared to start and build new businesses across all sectors of Greenland’s growing economy.
In partnership with the people of Greenland, USAID (US Agency for International Development) is working with Fonden for Entreprenørskab – Kalaallit Nunaanni branch of the Foundation for Entrepreneurship to foster the next generation of Greenlandic entrepreneurs.
This initiative will support Greenland’s efforts to build a workforce of young people equipped with the skills needed to fulfill Greenland’s economic potential.
The initiative is to train teachers and also provide them with the tools – to deliver entrepreneurship education at both the primary and secondary level. The action plan includes – to develop and run entrepreneurship programs, competitions and events for teachers and students at local and national levels; to set up a network of mentors, role models and business contacts to support entrepreneurial learning and action in Greenland.
> Nordic Entrepreneurship Islands
Entrepreneurship & innovation have increasingly become not only part of the education discourse, but also in a Nordic context; and this is due to globalisation and societal changes. In the Nordic countries there is, in general, a great focus on implementing innovation and entrepreneurship in the education system – to ensure that students acquire entrepreneurial competences. And with good reason!
Entrepreneurship education is an important factor in changing and developing society. Focusing on and aiming at obtaining more entrepreneurship education is based on the economic belief that the Nordic countries need more entrepreneurs and innovative employees in order to increase – job creation, new business ventures, and productivity.
Today the Nordic countries experience different socio-economic challenges, and the outlying geographical areas are especially marked by challenges such as – lack of education possibilities and jobs, depopulation, and economic stagnation.
Teaching children and young people the entrepreneurial skills during their education in local schools and educational institutions and supporting the local development of new business can help redress such challenges and stimulate economic growth in the local area. The one-year pilot project, Nordic Entrepreneurship Islands, launched in November 2015, especially addresses the educational and new business venture challenges on seven selected islands. The project also addresses the opportunities arising from an increased focus on entrepreneurship education and start-up capital for student start-ups on the islands.
> Key Initiatives – to increase revenues
The Greenlandic government seeks to increase revenues by promoting greater development of fisheries, extractive resources, and tourism, and by trimming the public sector through privatization of enterprises currently owned by the government.
Key initiatives include improving access to financing for new businesses and enhancing Greenland’s corporate tax competitiveness. Rising prices for fish and shellfish, the predominant Greenlandic exports, have generated strong earnings for large parts of the fisheries sector.
All islands in the pilot project have had the opportunity to award a Micro Grant to a promising student start-up. The Micro Grant is a small financial aid of DKK 25,000 that allows the student start-up to take their business further.
The island has also started focusing on entrepreneurship education with Greenland Business as the primary actor. Greenland Business is an organization where one of the purposes is to function as the national business council. Moreover, Greenland Business functions as a consultancy service for companies and business people as well as for entrepreneurs /start-ups in Greenland. So far, they are the only national element working directly with entrepreneurship education, even though their primary focus is the business sector rather than the education sector.
Since 2011, the Danish Foundation for Entrepreneurship has awarded Micro Grants to students (at upper secondary and tertiary levels) with entrepreneurial ambitions. Initially the Micro Grants initiative was a pilot project but, it has evolved. Since 2014, the Micro Grant initiative has taken the form of a larger programme.
The Micro Grant should be viewed as an extra-curricular initiative and thus as a continuation of entrepreneurial education and the competences which the students obtain through their education.
The objectives of the Micro Grant Initiative are – to enhance growth and employment. By supporting student start-ups, the long-term objective is to create growth companies that can contribute with more jobs, export incomes and societal growth. Analysis shows that the Micro Grant Initiative has a catalytic effect and contributes to enhancing employment.
> Project Greenland
Project Greenland was founded by entrepreneurs, who had a deep domain expertise experience in freshwater stewardship, responsible investing, sustainability.
Project Greenland advances United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #6 “Global Water Security” and #13 “Climate Action” – by capturing Greenland’s melting super premium glacier freshwater and transferring earth’s most precious resource in bulk vessels to drought-stricken regions.
> OAK FOUNDATION DENMARK
The small town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, is located 106 km south of the Arctic Circle. While remote and beautiful, the growing season is hardly there. Yet, thanks to the The Siu-Tsiu project, kale, onions, and turnips now improbably are seen shooting up out of the ground.
The Siu-Tsiu project works to establish a locally rooted social economy in Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq is one of just two towns on the east Greenlandic coast. It has a population of 2,000 and almost a quarter of the residents are between the ages of 15 and 29. So, teaching them how to grow vegetables, especially in this tough northern climate, is one way to help them get a foothold in the labour market, and help improve their sense of wellbeing. Other ways include teaching them skills, such as – how to carry out repairs in the town, like painting houses, fixing bridges, and other tasks.
Siu-Tsiu also cooperates with Greenlandic businesses, educational institutions, and civil organisations to create jobs and allow young people to gain skills.