EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Sweden: ERM Comparative analytical report on emerging forms of entrepreneurship

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 21 March 2011



About
Country:
Sweden
Author:
Claes Bäckman and Jan Persson
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The emerging forms of entrepreneurship are only mentioned sporadically and as a part of a slightly different debate. However, the debate about entrepreneurship in general, especially about micro-companies and business transfers is very much alive in Sweden. Entrepreneurship in general covers areas such as social security, labour market policies and educational policies. The part of the debate that has focused on the emerging forms of entrepreneurship has mostly been conducted by researchers. They have used the large quantities of data that are available to analyse micro-companies and (particularly) part-time entrepreneurs.

The questionnaire

Part I: Public/policy discussion

General policy discussions and policy approach

Do the public/policy discussions specifically deal with the different forms of business activities, since when and for how long?

Table 1: Presence of the different emerging forms of entrepreneurship in the public debate
 

Yes, continuously since xx year? (Please indicate year)

Yes, on and off in the last 10 years

(Please indicate yes where it applies)

Yes, has been on the public agenda, but since xx year it is no longer part of the agenda (Please indicate year)

No, it has never been part of the public agenda

(Please indicate X where it applies)

One-person enterprises /self-employed    

X (2005/2006)

 
Part-time entrepreneurs

X (2006)

     
Parallel entrepreneurs      

X

Serial entrepreneurs  

Yes

   
Business transfers and successions

X (hard to say exactly, but it has been part of the public discussion for at least 10 years)

     

For each of the entrepreneurship/business activities covered by policy discussions, which policy domains are they covered in? Please indicate with an ’X‘ where relevant.

Table 2: Policy domains engaged in the policy discussion of the emerging forms of entrepreneurship
 

Labour policies

Educational policies

Economic/Industrial policies

Innovation policies

Regional policies

Other (please specify)

One-person enterprises /self-employed

X

X

     

X (Social security)

Part-time entrepreneurs          

X (Social security)

Parallel entrepreneurs            
Serial entrepreneurs      

X

 

Access to venture capital

Business transfers and successions

X

         

In which media and forum do the public debate and policy discussions about the different types of entrepreneurship take place?

Please indicate whether they are implicitly (e.g. publications are covering entrepreneurs in general with implicit implications for the different forms of entrepreneurs/business activities) covered and/or explicitly mentioned (for instance parallel entrepreneurs are explicitly mentioned in publications) in these publications

Table 3: Media and forums discussing the emerging forms of entrepreneurship
 

Public media such as newspapers and magazines incl. electronic media

Policy documents and analysis

Proposed legislation and/or business support schemes

Others, please specify

One-person enterprises/self-employed

X (implicit)

     
Part-time entrepreneurs

X (implicit)

   

Scientific research (explicit)

Parallel entrepreneurs        
Serial entrepreneurs  

X (implicit)

X (implicit)

Scientific research (implicit)

Business transfers and successions

X (explicit)

   

Scientific research (explicit)

Specific topics to describe the different types of entrepreneurship

What has motivated the public debate?

Please specify for each of the five forms of entrepreneurship:

Table 4: What has motivated the public debate of the emerging forms of entrepreneurship

Type of Entrepreneurship

Motivator

One-person enterprises/self-employed

Higher employment for specific groups, such as women, youths and migrant, as well as a more general motivation about higher employment and the future of the labour market.

The discussion has also focused on how Sweden can stimulate growth in small companies, which implicitly covered one-person enterprises.

More explicitly, the debate has focused on social security for entrepreneurs. In Sweden, an entrepreneur can sometimes be caught between two systems and thus be overlooked which creates an uncertain situation for entrepreneurs which discourages growth and risk taking.

Another discussion which implicitly concern one-person enterprises is educational policies. In the recent years entrepreneurship in schools has been discussed and how to promote it.

Part-time entrepreneurs have been covered more in research and by government agencies than in the general media/policy discussions, and it is still a growing area of interest in Sweden. The motivator behind the discussion is the need to understand more about part-time entrepreneurs, and their future needs.

Also, they have implicitly been covered in the debate about entrepreneurship in general and as a mean towards higher economic growth.

See the discussion about educational policies above as well.

The main motivator has been innovation policies and access to venture capital. This could be seen as a market failure, where the government has identified an increasing need to provide access to capital and assist in the commercialization process.

Serial entrepreneurs are mentioned implicitly in this debate, especially with regards to commercialisation of research and the growth of companies.

Business transfers have become an increasingly important area in Sweden, due to demographic changes. The age structure and economy in Sweden is biased towards those born in the 1940’s; an age group which will retire in the near future. The debate has been going on for some time concerning how Sweden will handle the transition, and business transfers are becoming an increasingly important part of this. The debate has focused on these aspects, and the need for a smaller administrative burden concerning business transfers. The debate has identified problems with the current regulations, which could become troublesome due to the large number of business transfers in the years to come.

What has been the focus of the policy discussion?

To help you answer question 5, we list some examples of key issues that could be addressed in the policy discussion:

Please specify for each of the five forms of entrepreneurship:

Table 5: The policy focus in the public debate within each of the emerging forms of entrepreneurship

Part-time entrepreneurs
Parallel entrepreneurs

N/A

Serial entrepreneurs
Business transfers and successions

Type of Entrepreneurship

Policy focus

One-person enterprises/self-employed

Raising entrepreneurial spirit among certain population groups, e.g. women, youth, migrants

Financial incentives for business creation by unemployed people

Precarious work/social security – unemployment schemes, pension schemes, health and safety giving preferential treatment to entrepreneurs

Part-time entrepreneurs

Promoting entrepreneurship

Raising entrepreneurial spirit among certain population groups, e.g. women, youth, migrants

Ease the administrative burden of establishing (registration) a new company, running a company or closing/winding down a company due to bankruptcy or transferring ownership to a new owner, etc.

Precarious work/social security – unemployment schemes, pension schemes, health and safety giving preferential treatment to entrepreneurs

N/A

Access to finance – improving access to finance through grants, loans or equity capitalResearch and development such as supporting commercialisation of R&D through spinoffs partnerships, proof of concepts, IPR, etc

Ease the administrative burden of establishing (registration) a new company, running a company or closing/winding down a company due to bankruptcy or transferring ownership to a new owner, etc.

Has the public discussion resulted in a concrete outcome/impact?

No:

Yes: X

Please specify for each of the five forms of entrepreneurship:

Table 6: Outcome or impact of the public debate of the emerging forms of entrepreneurship

Parallel entrepreneurs
Serial entrepreneurs
Business transfers and successions

Type of Entrepreneurship

Outcome/Impact

One-person enterprises/self-employed

Report from the Government 2009/10:120: Social security for entrepreneurs (Trygghetssystem för företagare). Not yet implemented into legislation, but it is currently being considered by the Swedish Riksdag. Clearer rules and regulations concerning social security for entrepreneurs.

New business promotion schemes: A website for those who wish to start a new company (www.verksamt.se) and a support scheme for the unemployed via the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).

Also easier access to capital via ALMI, which is a state-owned finance institute, and websites to help an entrepreneur with both the start up and daily business. (www.verksamt.se)

N/A (Part of the more general debate about promoting entrepreneurship.)

N/A

The government instigated a programme to ease the administrative burden for small companies. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) is the agency in charge of this programme and they reported that the administrative burden decreased by 3.4 percent between 2006 and 2010. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), report that the burden is down 7.3 percent from 2006 to 2010, which is still far from the goal, which was 25 percent during the same period. T his programme has made it easier to transfer ownership of companies, mostly by easing the rules for the handling of stock certificates for stock companies.Furthermore, in 2005 the gift and inheritance tax was abolished, which made it more feasible to transfer family businesses.

Overall assessment

Within the last couple of years, to which extent has the public and policy discussion been more focused on the following different types of entrepreneurship compared to the business policy/entrepreneurship debate in general?

Table 7: Increased focus at the emerging forms of entrepreneurship?

Part-time entrepreneurs
Parallel entrepreneurs
Serial entrepreneurs

N/A

Business transfers and successions
 

To a low degree To a high degree

 

1

2

3

4

5

One-person enterprises/self-employed    

X

   
Part-time entrepreneurs      

X

 
Parallel entrepreneurs

X

       
Serial entrepreneurs      

X

 
Business transfers and successions      

X

 

Please list the main sources of information in the search for the above

Interview with Barbro Widerstedt, Growth Analysis - Swedish agency for growth policy analysis (Tillväxtanalys)

Interview with Jan Andersson, Statistics Sweden (Statistiska Centralbyrån)Trygghetssystemen för företagare (authors translation: Social Security for entrepreneurs), SOU 2008:89

Regeringens proposition2009/10:120 Trygghetssystemen för företagare Näringsdepartementet)Innovations and Entrepreneurship: Sweden’s future (authors translation: Innovationer och företagande – Sveriges framtid), SOU 2008:121

Entreprenörskap och innovationer för hållbar utveckling – policysammanfattning

Dagens Nyheter, 2007. ‘Företagare planerar inte för ägarbyte‘ Published 27 December, 2007

Svenska Dagbladet, 2009. ‘På dej för ägarbyte‘ Published 10 May 2009

Part II: Standardised structural data

Which standardised business statistics are available covering the different forms of entrepreneurship/business activities (explicitly or implicitly, i.e. also data that could be used to describe these forms of entrepreneurship without being published with this specific objective/heading)?

Table 8: Availability of business statistics about the emerging forms of entrepreneurship
 

Type of data available

Indicate access to data by an ‘X’ in the first column

First published

Indicate year

Time series of data

(Biannually, annually, quarterly, monthly, once only, other)

Data source for the data

One-person enterprises/ self-employed

Number of enterprises

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (Registerbaserad arbetsmarknadsstatistik, Register-based labour market statistics)

Enterprises by branch (please specify which NACE code digit level is available)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (down to 5-digit level available)

Availability of regional data (please specify)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (down to municipalities)

Type of ownership of enterprises (sole propriety, limited company, publically listed company, etc)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Economic performance e.g.:

Turnover

X

(SRU 1997)

Annual

SRU

Exports

X

2003

Annual

(Företagens ekonomi, Economies of Swedish companies) There could be problems with matching the two databases RAMS and FE.

Employment

N/A

     

Others: ___________

N/A

     

Sustainability:

Number of new enterprises (start-ups) by year

X

1985

Annual

RAMS

Number of discontinued enterprises, incl. bankruptcies –

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

survival rate of enterprises

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Others, specify: All variables from the balance sheet and income statement are included in the database.

X

2003

Annual

FE

Part-time entrepreneurs

Number of enterprises

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Enterprises by branch (please specify which NACE code digit level is available)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (down to 5-digit level available)

Availability of regional data (please specify)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (down to municipalities)

Type of ownership of enterprises (sole propriety, limited company, publically listed company, etc)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Economic performance e.g.:

Turnover

X

(SRU 1997)

Annual

SRU

Exports

       

Employment

N/A

     

Others: ___________

N/A

     

Sustainability:

Number of new enterprises (start-ups) by year

X

1985

Annual

RAMS

Number of discontinued enterprises, incl. bankruptcies –

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

survival rate of enterprises

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Others, specify: All variables from the balance sheet and income statement are included in the database.

X

2003

Annual

FE

Parallel entrepreneurs

Number of enterprises

N/A

     

Enterprises by branch (please specify which NACE code digit level is available)

       

Availability of regional data (please specify)

       

Type of ownership of enterprises (sole propriety, limited company, publically listed company, etc)

       

Economic performance e.g.:

Turnover

       

Exports

       

Employment

       

Others: ___________

       

Sustainability:

Number of new enterprises (start-ups) by year

       

Number of discontinued enterprises, incl. bankruptcies –

       

survival rate of enterprises

       

Others, specify:

       
Serial entrepreneurs

Number of enterprises

N/A

     

Enterprises by branch (please specify which NACE code digit level is available)

       

Availability of regional data (please specify)

       

Type of ownership of enterprises (sole propriety, limited company, publically listed company, etc)

       

Economic performance e.g.:

Turnover

       

Exports

       

Employment

       

Others: ___________

       

Sustainability:

Number of new enterprises (start-ups) by year

       

Number of discontinued enterprises, incl. bankruptcies –

       

survival rate of enterprises

       

Others, specify:

       
Business transfers and successions

Number of enterprises

N/A

     

Enterprises by branch (please specify which NACE code digit level is available)

       

Availability of regional data (please specify)

       

Type of ownership of enterprises (sole propriety, limited company, publically listed company, etc)

       

Economic performance e.g.:

Turnover

       

Exports

       

Employment

       

Others: ___________

       

Sustainability:

Number of new enterprises (start-ups) by year

       

Number of discontinued enterprises, incl. bankruptcies –

       

survival rate of enterprises

       

Others, specify:

       

Is it possible to crosstab or merge the demographic data identifying the individual persons running any of the five forms of entrepreneurships/business activities with the company data specified in question 9 in a common database for analytical purpose?

No:

Yes: For the two types of data which are available regarding emerging forms of entrepreneurship demographic data can found and merged to form a database. Statistics Sweden (Statistiska Centralbyrån, SCB) can provide the data and merge it with other databases at their disposal. They handle all the official statistics in Sweden from agencies and government institutions, and thus have a very large amount of data available for use ranging from for example tax records, surveys and social security.

Some of this data is free of charge, but creating a database of entrepreneurs and merging it with demographic data can be fairly expensive. There are limits to accessing RAMS (it is not free of charge and requires a data extraction made by SCB). Also, SCB states that some of the variables will have to be used in fairly large groupings in order to provide meaningful information.

Table 9: Availability of demographic statistics about the entrepreneur within the emerging forms of entrepreneurship
 

Type of data available

Indicated access to data by an ‘X’ in the first column

First published

Indicate year

Time series of data

(Biannually, annually, quarterly, monthly, once only, other)

Data source for the data

One-person enterprises/ self-employed Number of enterprises held by each entrepreneur/owner

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Gender

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the population register

Ethnicity

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the population register

Civic status (married, single, children)

X

1990

Annual

RAMS merged with LISA

Age

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the population register

Geographical location

X

1986

Annual

 

Educational background (last registered education)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the educational register

Current/previous employment of entrepreneurs (business experience)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Sector familiarity of the entrepreneur – branch/NACE

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (Probably only possible on a 2- digit level,

Working hours of the entrepreneur

N/A

     
Income of the entrepreneur

N/A

     
Other types of data (Specify):

N/A

     
Part-time entrepreneurs Number of enterprises held by each entrepreneur/owner

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Gender

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the population register

Ethnicity

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the population register

Civic status (married, single, children)

X

1990

Annual

RAMS merged with LISA

Age

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the population register

Geographical location

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Educational background (last registered education)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS merged with the educational register

Current/previous employment of entrepreneurs (business experience)

X

1986

Annual

RAMS

Sector familiarity of the entrepreneur – branch/NACE

X

1986

Annual

RAMS (Probably only possible on a 2- digit level, due to the size of the database)

Working hours of the entrepreneur

N/A

     
Income of the entrepreneur

N/A

     
Other types of data (Specify):        
Parallel entrepreneurs Number of enterprises held by each entrepreneur/owner

N/A

     
Gender        
Ethnicity        
Civic status (married, single, children)        
Age        
Geographical location        

Educational background (last registered education)

       
Current/previous employment of entrepreneurs (business experience)        

Sector familiarity of the entrepreneur – branch/NACE

       
Working hours of the entrepreneur        
Income of the entrepreneur        
Other types of data (Specify):        
Serial entrepreneurs Number of enterprises held by each entrepreneur/owner

N/A

     
Gender        
Ethnicity        
Civic status (married, single, children)        
Age        
Geographical location        

Educational background (last registered education)

       
Current/previous employment of entrepreneurs (business experience)        

Sector familiarity of the entrepreneur – branch/NACE

       
Working hours of the entrepreneur        
Income of the entrepreneur        
Other types of data (Specify):        
Business transfers and successions Number of enterprises held by each entrepreneur/owner

N/A

     
Gender        
Ethnicity        
Civic status (married, single, children)        
Age        
Geographical location        

Educational background (last registered education)

       
Current/previous employment of entrepreneurs (business experience)        

Sector familiarity of the entrepreneur – branch/NACE

       
Working hours of the entrepreneur        
Income of the entrepreneur        
Other types of data (Specify):        

Is the data freely accessible or does it require registration, payment and/or a special effort to access the data? Please explain the accessibility for each of the forms of entrepreneurs/business activities and datasets referred to above.

Table 10: List of statistical sources about the emerging forms of entrepreneurship

List data source/dataset

Explain the accessibility

Register-based labour market statistics (Registerbaserad arbetsmarknadsstatistik, RAMS), Statistics Sweden

RAMS requires both a payment and a special effort to access. However, it is compatible with many different sources of data and can thus be used for a wide variety of surveys.

Longitudinal integrational database for sick leave and labour market studies (Longitudinell integrationsdatabas för sjukförsäkrings- och arbetsmarknadsstudier, LISA), Statistics Sweden

LISA contains micro data that can be used by researchers, and access to the database requires both a special effort and payment.

Standardised tax records (Standardiserade räkenskapsutdragen, SRU)

The National Tax Board (Skatteverket) collects standardised tax records with coded variables where entrepreneurs/companies shall account for their business activities. SRU can be accessed through SCB in connection to RAMS and requires payment.

Economies of Swedish companies (Företagens ekonomi, FE) Statistics Sweden

This survey uses the income statements from Swedish companies to make a database and requires a payment in order to match it to the emerging forms of entrepreneurship. It is freely accessible on a more general level on SCB’s homepage.

   

Part III: Research

Please describe studies and research available nationally for each of the forms of entrepreneurs/business activities.

Table 11: List of studies and research about the emerging forms of entrepreneurship
 

List the references (author’s name, title of publication etc, year of publication, organisation)

A short summary of the contents (e.g. topic covered, methodology applied)

One-person enterprises/self-employed

‘Factors of business success’, 2008. Statistics Sweden

This report presents data over what distinguishes a successful entrepreneur and was part of a development programme commissioned by Eurostat. The purpose was to describe factors that distinguishe successful companies, with a focus on motivational factors for starting a new company, barriers and risk during the first years and future plans.

The data was collected using a questionnaire sent out to 16 726 companies in Sweden,

Part-time entrepreneurs

‘Changing entrepreneurship and employment’, 2003, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications (authors translation of the title)

Eva-Britt Hult, ‘Being both an entrepreneur and and employee – a Combinator’, 2005. NUTEK (now Tillväxtverket (authors translation of the title)

Delmar F, Folta T, Karl Wennberg, ‘The dynamics among entrepreneurs, employees and combinators’, November 2008, IFAU

‘Changing entrepreneurship and employment’

This study focused on the new forms of entrepreneurship that is starting to appear in the borderland between entrepreneurship and employment, and the main drivers behind the new forms.

The methodology used statistics from SCBs Labour Force Surveys and RAMS to analyse the situation and trends in Sweden.

’Being both an entrepreneur and employee – a combinatory’

This study examined part time entrepreneurship which is called a ‘Combinator’ in Sweden. The purpose was to examine what being both an employee and an entrepreneur in Sweden is like. The study used data from the study above and added the personal experiences of the author.

‘The dynamism among entrepreneurs, employees and combinators’

This study examines the sociological and economical theories which can explain the presence of ‘combinators’ in Sweden, by using data from RAMS. It shows that part-time entrepreneurship can be a stepping stone from employment to full-time entrepreneurship.

Parallel entrepreneurs

N/A

 
Serial entrepreneurs

‘Innovations and Entrepreneurship: Sweden’s future’ , December 2008, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications

‘Innovations and Entrepreneurship: Sweden’s future’

The study examines financial support measures in Sweden for SME’s, with a focus on functionality and interaction between the different measures. The methodology involved a close interaction with representatives from the business community as well as with both public and private financial intermediates. Although serial entrepreneurs were not specifically mentioned, the problems that they face are addressed in the study.

Business transfers and successions

‘Large values at stake in ownership transfers: a study among entrepreneurs in Sweden’, March 2009, Deloitte, SEB, Senior Work and ALMI.

The purpose of the study is to examine Swedish entrepreneur’s views about business transfers and the drivers, risks, preparations required and obstacles that are relevant.

The study was conducted by using a questionnaire sent out to 8,000 company owners in Sweden, whose companies had a maximum turnover of 500 million SEK. Only companies that were lead by the owner or by a relative to the owner were included. 468 respondents who stated that they had executed a business transfer or were planning to answered the survey.

Commentary

Although the general debate on entrepreneurship does not focus on the emerging forms of entrepreneurship that are mentioned here, they are implicitly part of the debate. Both one-person enterprises and part-time entrepreneurs can be included in the debate about micro companies and their possibilities for future growth, as well as in the discussions about labour market and educational policy. Business transfers is explicitly mentioned, but is still part of a larger and more diverse debate about the demographic challenges that Sweden face in the future. This debate has mostly focused on the labour market, but business transfers are gaining in importance.

Sweden also has a comprehensive database that can be used in order to analyse entrepreneurship, but it requires a fee. Some studies have already been conducted using the data from Statistics Sweden, but more remains to be done.

Claes Bäckman and Jan Persson, Oxford Research

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