Swedish small business boom expected as rules change

Entrepreneurs across Sweden started 100,000 more new businesses in the past decade compared to the previous ten years, and the figure is expected to keep growing.

Swedish small business boom expected as rules change
It's becoming even easier to set up a private limited company in Sweden. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

In 2010-2019 almost 649,000 new businesses were set up in Sweden, according to a fresh report by accounting software provider Visma using statistics by the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket). That's a rise of 18.5 percent on 2000-2009, when 548,000 businesses were founded.

In the same period the number of new limited companies more than doubled from 212,000 to almost 435,000. The reason for the boom in such firms may be down to a rule change, according to Visma.

You used to have to invest a minimum share capital of 100,000 kronor ($10,650) to set up a private limited company, but this figure was lowered to 50,000 kronor in 2010 which is thought to be behind the increase.

“This shows that changes to laws and regulations actually have an impact and can provide a nudge in the right direction,” said Visma Spcs business expert Boo Gunnarson in a statement.

“That's why even more new businesses are to be expected now that the requirement for private share capital has been cut even further,” he added.


And it's becoming even easier to turn your business venture into a limited company. The minimum share capital was cut to 25,000 kronor as of January 1st, 2020, in order to boost small businesses.

There are around one million businesses registered in Sweden, with the majority small companies with fewer than nine employees. A total of 64,464 new businesses were started in 2019, a one-percent increase compared to the year before, when 63,620 new businesses were set up in Sweden.


limited company – (ett) aktiebolag

employee – (en) anställd

business – (ett) företag

share capital – (ett) aktiekapital

small businesses – småföretag

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Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”