Sweden is home to the Nobel Prize, annually awarding some of the sharpest brains in the world within the fields of chemistry, physics and medicine. This is no coincidence. With a long tradition of innovation, Sweden has always rated science and technology highly.
Sweden is one of the top countries in the world in terms of R&D investments, in relation to GDP. R&D in the business sector ranks in the highest division, and the research performed by Swedish universities is cutting-edge. That has earned Sweden the position as the world’s 3rd most innovative nation, according to the Global Innovation Index 2015 by WIPO. Fostering entrepreneurship and strong business leaders in this environment of innovation and engineering, Sweden is home to global brands such as IKEA, Volvo, Scania, H&M, Ericsson, AstraZeneca, Electrolux, ABB and Atlas Copco. No wonder Forbes has listed Sweden among the top five best countries to do business in.
There is one more key to the success of companies doing business in Sweden: openness. Swedes have always been open to international trade, new influences and foreign people. With this comes a fine-tuned sensitivity and curiosity where new ideas, trends and technologies are welcomed. This is a country of “early adopters,” and Adidas, Coca-Cola and Samsung are just some of the international companies that use Sweden as a test market for new products and services. With openness and an appetite for innovation comes a natural interest in the digitalisation that is rapidly changing much of the world as we know it. This has paved way for new exciting companies such as Spotify, Skype, Truecaller, Klarna and Mojang, companies with global impact that are revolutionising their industries and changing the way we behave.
As a foreign investor, it is comforting to know that Sweden is one of the easiest countries in the world to do business in. There is a low level of bureaucracy; setting up a business is quick and straightforward, and corporate taxes are low (22 percent). As part of the European Union, Sweden provides easy access to a market of 28 countries and 500 million consumers. But, in the end, a business is only as good as its people. If a Swede makes a promise – you can be sure they’ll keep it. If, they are asked to achieve a specific goal – you know they will go to great lengths to attain it. Swedes are constantly striving towards improvement. With friendly people, free child- care, free education and an incredible nature accessible to all, Sweden offers one of the highest standards of living in the world. And they are happy to share it.
International companies are attracted to Sweden for numerous reasons. The country is a global leader in innovation with a highly skilled labour force, sophisticated consumers, smooth business procedures, openness to international ownership, and a stable economy.
A key feature of the Swedish economy is its openness and liberal approach to trade. Sweden has an international business environment that is modern, open and business friendly. Skilled professionals, polished business procedures, and receptivity to international partnerships make it an easy country to operate in.
Synergies generated by the close connection between Swedish universities, research institutes and the private sector leverage the R&D output. According to the Financial Times, Stockholm is the second most prolific tech hub globally, with 6.3 billion-dollar companies per million people, compared to Silicon Valley with 6.9. Spotify, King, Truecaller, Klarna and Mojang are just some of the Swedish start- ups that have received international attention in the last decade. Add to those well-known brands such as IKEA, Volvo, H&M and Ericsson and it becomes clear why Forbes has listed Sweden among the top five best countries to do business in.
Swedish labour costs remain competitive as Sweden has one of the world’s most well- educated workforces and at the same time the most productive and hard working. Empowerment of personnel and delegation of decision-making ensures a bottom-up, problem-solving approach that shows impressive results with regards to quality and productivity. The high usage of computers and IT-systems – Sweden ranks third on the Networked Readiness Index of the most networked economies in the world – has further improved productivity throughout the entire industry.
As part of the European Union, Sweden provides easy access to a market of 28 countries and 500 million consumers. The Nordic market only – Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway – makes up the 11th largest economy in the world, with a high level of purchasing power. The large amount of multinational corporations present in Sweden has not only created an important domestic market, it has also paved the way for a world-class infrastructure.
Sweden’s strong public finances, sound banking system, political stability and well-performing economy make it a robust place to run a business. Sweden boasts excellent infrastructure through extensive public investments. The Internet infrastructure is one of the world’s fastest and most extensive. Swedish companies are at the forefront in integrating a sustainable approach to business in their strategies and daily management.
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