copy the linklink copied!16. Denmark

This country profile presents current inclusive entrepreneurship policy issues and recent developments in Denmark. It also provides key self-employment and entrepreneurship data for women, youth, seniors and immigrants, benchmarked against the European Union average.


copy the linklink copied!Key trends

Danes were about half as likely to be self-employed as the European Union (EU) average in 2018 (7.2% vs. 13.5%) and the self-employment rate has been relatively stable over the last decade. This gap can be observed among women (4.4% vs. 9.6%), youth (3.1% vs. 6.5%), and seniors (9.5% vs. 17.7%), but is much smaller among immigrants (6.1% vs. 8.0%). While a smaller proportion of the population is involved in starting and managing new businesses (5.5% vs. 6.7%), the vast majority report that they are pursuing opportunities that they have identified. Only 5.0% of women and 8.6% of youth reported that they started their business due to a lack of employment opportunities, relative to 21.1% and 15.6% of women and youth across the EU.

copy the linklink copied!Hot issue

The government released the 2017 “White Paper on Growth and Competitiveness” to outline key policy priorities on entrepreneurship. The policy priorities are now being examined in light of the 2018 evaluation of the overall business promotion system by the “Simplification Committee” (Forenklingsudvalget), which was initiated by the Ministry for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs and also included representatives from the business sector and higher education system. It is expected that policy priorities revised around existing priorities such as entrepreneurship education, digitalisation and innovation.

copy the linklink copied!Recent policy developments

In line with national priorities on entrepreneurship skills development, two training programmes were introduced in 2017 by the Danish Business Authority to support students in entrepreneurship. The Teaching Entrepreneurship programme (Undervisning i iværksætteri) offers grants for projects that improve entrepreneurship training in vocational education. The Practical Start-up programme (Start-op i praksis) aims to encourage entrepreneurship in university students and help them acquire practical skills through internships and other means. Both programmes are co-financed by the European Social Fund.

This profile is based on a recent country assessment report, which can be found at:

copy the linklink copied!Key inclusive entrepreneurship data

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Figure 16.1. Entrepreneurship and self-employment data for Denmark
Figure 16.1. Entrepreneurship and self-employment data for Denmark

Notes: The self-employment rate is defined as the number of self-employed people (15-64 years old) divided by the number of people in employment. The TEA rate is the proportion of adults (18-64 years old) involved in setting up a business or managing a business that is less than 42 months old. Necessity entrepreneurship is defined as entrepreneurship activities that were launched because there were no other options in the labour market. Early-stage entrepreneurs are those who are in the process of setting up a business or managing a business that is less than 42 months old. The EU average in Panels D-F excludes Czech Republic and Malta.

Sources: Panels A and B: Eurostat (2019), Labour Force Survey,; Panel C: Eurostat (2018), Self-employment, Labour Force Survey ad-hoc module,; Panels D-F: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2019), Special tabulations of the GEM survey 2014-18.


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