Empowering Women Entrepreneurship: Denmark’s Concrete Action Plan

In focus: Some government schemes, policies and grants for women entrepreneurs in Denmark

Denmark – the gateway to Europe is practically an island nation, as it consists of more than 440 islands (but only about 70 of them are inhabited). Even the Danish capital, Copenhagen, is situated on an island. In Denmark, a proactive and nationally initiated action plan is in place, with a specific emphasis on bolstering women’s entrepreneurship. Recognizing women as an underutilized resource, the action plan aims to provide them with enhanced opportunities.

Focused on strengthening individual capabilities, the plan implements tangible measures to boost women’s competence, access to networks & exposure to successful role models, all in support of fostering a thriving entrepreneurial spirit.

Here are some government schemes, policies and grants for women entrepreneurs in Denmark.

> Inclusive entrepreneurship strategies and objectives –

>> Danish Executive Board for Business Development and Growth’s 2020 strategy

The Danish Government’s overall entrepreneurship policy is reflected in the Danish Executive Board for Business Development and Growth’s 2020 strategy. The Government’s overall goal is to enhance the entrepreneurship environment and tries to ensure that more entrepreneurs should succeed, and the development and growth of new entrepreneurs to be supported.

>> Foundation for Entrepreneurship

The goal of the Foundation for Entrepreneurship is that entrepreneurship becomes an integrated part of the teaching at every educational level. It is the national knowledge centre and focal point for the development of entrepreneurship teaching.

The Foundation has previously identified three strategic objectives – Dissemination of entrepreneurship education, Quality of entrepreneurship education, and Catalysing activities – which are crucial in reaching the goal of entrepreneurship, taking all into account. The Foundation’s 2020 strategy expands these goals; and it has also published surveys on overcoming barriers for woman entrepreneurs, as well as a number of evaluations of general entrepreneurship training programmes, plus also participated in evaluations of funding instruments. In addition, there are a number of regulatory instruments to encourage and support entrepreneurship by people from under-represented and disadvantaged groups.

>> Unemployment Benefit Scheme

The Unemployment Benefit Scheme contains a welfare bridge mechanism – to support the unemployed to move into work, through self-employment. It allows for starting and operating a business, while still receiving unemployment benefits. The rules have been modified to cater for self-employed.

In addition to the public entrepreneurship strategy, there are currently over 300 organizations supporting entrepreneurship in Denmark in many ways. Some of these private or semi-private organizations may provide support to the target groups, ie the network for female entrepreneurs Ladies First, or the Mind Your Own Business initiative to support immigrant boys in entrepreneurship.

> The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR)

The Danish Government does not have specific policies or programme to enhance entrepreneurship among women, seniors, the unemployed or people who experience disability. However, some of these groups are supported through The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR) – which is responsible for implementing and following up on employment policy in Denmark (including recruitment of necessary foreign labour). STAR generates and disseminates knowledge to support the Minister for Employment and efficient employment efforts. STAR operates a number of programmes, aimed at supporting in particular the unemployed, immigrants and handicapped, to gain access to the labour market.

For women entrepreneurs there are a number of private organizations working to enhance female entrepreneurship, and this has influenced the Foundation for Entrepreneurship and their programmes. However some stakeholders tend to call for more support for female entrepreneurs.

A number of entrepreneurship programmes are in place for students also. These include:

  • Foundation for Entrepreneurship
  • CBS Start-up for student start-ups from Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship and Copenhagen Business School to support their growth into sustainable business ventures.
  • DTU Skylab provides access to corporate partners, business coaching from advisors, expert-assisted prototyping and access to soft funding through a funding programme and provides incubator space.
  • Cortex Lab (Odense) offers workshops, offices and prototype facilities in a creative and business-oriented work environment where students, companies and researchers experiment together.
  • At Kickstart Aalborg, a group of volunteers who dedicate their time to organize relevant events, workshops and opportunities for entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey, for those who are on their way to start their own business, or anybody with interest in entrepreneurship.
  • The Innofounder programme for graduates –for starting up businesses. Overall, this entrepreneurship support for youth is comprehensive and schemes are generally well linked to complementary support.
> ‘Entrepreneur Denmark’ project

Funded by the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU) fund, the project empowers individuals to become entrepreneurs by providing a number of factors – like business guidance, economic support, and tailored competency development to ensure their companies’ survival and growth.

> PreFlight Odense

PreFlight Odense support startups from Odense with big ambitions and a dream to scale globally.

They focus on providing three factors which are crucial to moving and scaling ambitious startups. So, they provide – Training in business development and improving your startup, Access to a thriving startup ecosystem in Odense & also provide contact to partners and clients in Odense and internationally.

Business Link South Denmark is financed by the National Agency of Enterprise and Construction and the 22 municipalities in the Region of Southern Denmark.

Significantly, Business Link South Denmark provides purposeful guidance and clarification of problems for entrepreneurs and businesses which are ambitious about achieving growth and greater levels of success.


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