Swedes shy away from entrepreneurship

Countries with medium incomes have more entrepreneurs than rich countries - and Sweden is way down the list when it comes to the number of people starting their own companies.

The league table was part of the Financial Times’ annual survey of the prevalence of newly-started companies around the world.

Venezuela, where around a quarter of the population are involved in some sort of entrepreneurial activity, came top of the list. In second place was Thailand, with 20.7%, and third was New Zealand with 17.6%.

At the bottom of the list were Hungary, Japan, Belgium and Sweden, where less than 5% of the population is involved in starting a new company.

According to the research, entrepreneurs from middle-income countries tend to create more innovative companies with a greater growth potential on average than those in richer countries.

On the other hand, new companies created in richer countries have a greater chance of surviving, said the FT.

The amount of risk capital floating around increased in 2004 for the first time since the IT bubble burst in 2000. The US invests 16 times more money in hi-tech companies than Europe. Only Sweden and Norway show signs of getting close to the US in terms of technology investment, wrote the paper.

TT/The Local


Swedish economy to grind to a halt as interest rates kick in

Sweden faces an economic slump next year that will see economic growth grind to a complete stop, Sweden's official government economics forecaster, has warned.

Swedish economy to grind to a halt as interest rates kick in

Sweden’s National Institute of Economic Research, which is tasked with tracking the business cycle for the Swedish government, warned in its quarterly forecast on Wednesday that greater than expected energy prices, interest rate rises, and stubborn inflation rates, Sweden was facing a significant downturn. 

The institute has shaved 1.6 percentage points off its forecast for growth in 2023, leaving the economy at a standstill, contracting -0.1 percent over the year. 

The institute now expects unemployment of 7.7 percent in 2023, up from a forecast of 7.5 percent given when in its last forecast in June.

“We can see that households are already starting to reign in their consumption,” said Ylva Hedén Westerdahl, the institute’s head of forecasting, saying this was happening “a little earlier than we had thought”. 

“We thought this would have happened when electricity bills went up, and interest rates went up a little more,” she continued. 

The bank expects household consumption to contract in 2023, something that she said was “quite unusual” and had not happened since Sweden’s 1990s economic crisis, apart from in the immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This was partly down to a five percent reduction in real salaries in Sweden in 2022, taking into account inflation, which the institute expects to be followed by a further two percent fall in real salaries in 2023. 

If the incoming Moderate-led government goes ahead with plans to reimburse consumers for high power prices, however, this would counterbalance the impact of inflation, leaving Swedish households’ purchasing power unchanged. 

The institute said it expected inflation to average 7.7 percent this year and 4.6 percent in 2023, both higher than it had forecast earlier.

Sweden’s Riksbank central bank this month hike its key interest rate by a full percentage point, after inflation hit 9 percent in August, the biggest single hike since the 1990s.