A Guide to Starting a Business in Sweden
Sweden’s open economy and ease of conducting business make it a highly attractive destination for innovative entrepreneurs. In this guide, we will be covering the basic steps that you need to take in order to initiate a business in Sweden:
Steps Involved in Starting a Swedish Business:
Step 1 – Researching:
The online society in Sweden ensures free flow of information, which is why you can – and should – conduct adequate research before diving in.
Statistics Sweden, for example, is a gold mine of Swedish information, covering pretty much everything about the country’s demographics – from age and population to industrial capacity and business sentiment.
In addition, you can consult the relevant trade organization and see if it has any statistics or other information regarding the type and size of businesses in your chosen sector, along with the regulations specific to that industry.
Step 2 – Getting the network going:
Regardless of the country that you choose for your business, the right kind of network can significantly boost your chances of success.
One way to look for mentors and establish a network is through verksamt.se – a website established by three different Swedish authorities, namely:
This specific page will help you look for mentors in your particular region.
The Swedes love to be online, and therefore, as you continue to meet people, do not forget to use platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to track and improve your contacts.
Step 3 – Obtaining Permission:
There are some businesses that cannot be operated until you obtain a permit. Once again, verksamt.se can help you out with its list of all the businesses, professions, and trades requiring permits. In addition, you can also find the contact details of the issuing bodies for each permit.
Step 4 – Registering your company for tax:
Every sole trader business in Sweden is identified through a PIN (Personal Identity Number) which is allocated by the STA (Swedish Tax Authorities).9
If you want to start off as a sole proprietor, an essential step is to get your business registered for F-skatt. With an F-skatt, you are essentially saying that you will be operating as an entrepreneur and not an employee. This will make sure that the bodies contracting you avoid administering your social security or tax payments –since, as the businessperson, that is your responsibility.
You can find a starting point at the Tax Agency’s website for F-tax certification, including details regarding the application process. Since all the forms are available solely in Swedish, you might want to consider seeking assistance from an accountant, along with consulting the Agency to make sure that all the forms are correctly filled.
In addition, you can also benefit from the free-of-cost information meetings arranged by the Agency to walk entrepreneurs through the entire process of starting a business in the country. For convenience, these meetings are conducted in both Swedish as well as English.
As for residence requirements, the rules you are subjected to will depend upon your citizenship. Citizens of the Nordic region (Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Finland) do not require registration through the SMA (Swedish Migration Agency), neither do they need to apply for residence permits. Citizens belonging to the EU (European Union) or EEA (European Economic Area) are also exempt from registration, and are allowed to apply for personal identity numbers.
Swiss citizens intending to stay beyond three months will require residence permits.
Citizens not belonging to Switzerland, the EU or the EEA, will need to apply for residence permits if they wish to start a business in Sweden.
Temporary Sweden residents can place an application for co-ordination numbers with the Tax Agency – this number replaces the PIN and can be used to gain F-tax statuses.
Step 5 – Registering your company name:
Although this is not a mandatory step, we still recommend executing it. If you have a registered business name, no other business will be able to operate using the same name in Sweden.
Step 6 – Forming a business plan:
After deciding on the products or services for your business, you can now go ahead and start preparing your business plan. A comprehensive plan makes it easier for you to get attention from customers, banks, and investors.
A lot of entrepreneurs believe that business plans need to be lengthy, but that is not the case. After all, it is just a statement outlining your business intentions and your approach towards executing those intentions.
Just like a resumé, there is no correct format for a business plan, and you need to prepare it according to the country in which you are operating. For instance, some countries place a lot of emphasis on the business idea while others are more concerned with the business’ financial viability. If you are looking for some guidance regarding business plan preparation in Sweden, you can turn to verksamt.se and access their comprehensive guide on what Swedish authorities, investors, and bankers want in business plans.
Fortunately, starting a business in Sweden is considerably easier compared to many other countries in the world – and we hope that this guide will further ease the establishment process for your Swedish venture.