The start-up scene in Stockholm is not that interesting I thought to myself a couple of months back. I thought of innovation and entrepreneurship as something that is big in the Silicon Valley and in other places far from here, far away from me. But when I enrolled to this course and started talking to people about entrepreneurship I realized a lot of people have both ideas, the mindset and the connections to become entrepreneurs. My view started to change. I thought to myself, either the entrepreneurship level per capita is high in Sweden or I am randomly surrounded by many entrepreneurial people. I quickly searched for an answer and it turns out that Stockholm is the second largest prolific tech hub in the world, after the Silicon Valley (Source 1).
Thinking about it I realized that the city does have an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of innovative companies such as Spotify, Skype, iZettle, Soundcloud and Klarna. WIRED writes that “Stockholm has produced more billion-dollar unicorn startups per capita than any other city in Europe”. (Source 2) Start-up Europe club writes “Stockholm is one of the most booming entrepreneurial cities in Europe and the tech industry finds it really easy to find talent and potential in Sweden’s capital. Around Stockholm, startup hubs, activities, spaces and accelerators are now emerging, matching innovative companies with big industries’ need for innovation and new talents”. (Source 3)
Stockholm is such a small city; how can it be so high in start-ups? To me it is mind-blowing that Sweden, a country of 9.8 million people, has become the poster child of European innovation. The article in The Telegraph however explains that it is not despite of the small population of Sweden but because of it that innovation has bloomed in the country. Swedish companies have to think outside of their home markets in order to grow. That means that companies think globally much faster than companies in countries with larger populations. Sweden has a long history of being exporters creating globally-renowned brands leading to a better economy and a strong economical- and technical foundation for innovation. Johan Attby is quoted in the article saying that pre-Skype time Sweden wasn’t known for anything besides Abba and that “It’s totally different today. There’s more capital and better investors. It is now super credible being from Stockholm”. (Source 1)
Alison Coleman also wrote in her article that the reason Stockholm is the most vibrant start-up cities in the world is because “Swedish people embrace entrepreneurship. We don’t mind testing ideas out and giving them a go”. (Source 4) There is a Swedish mindset in Stockholm that seems to foster innovation as it is a driving force behind public policies such as paternity leave laws, equality incentives and readily-available affordable childcare which allow for a high quality of life and in turn thrives entrepreneurship.
In The Telegraph article mentioned another quote is that “Success breeds success”. Thinking about that, I started to wonder, does success breed innovation and entrepreneurship and does possibly also entrepreneurship simply breed entrepreneurship and is that why Stockholm is the startup city that it is.
Source 3: http://startupeuropeclub.eu/stockholm/
Source 7: http://sup46.com/startup-cafe-sup46/