Stockholm’s new initiative wants to bring women-led start-ups to the city

6 Mar 2020

Stockholm. Image: © Mikael Damkier/

The Stockholm Scaleup Program is seeking foreign-born women entrepreneurs to participate in an initiative that provides support, advice and networking opportunities.

The city of Stockholm has announced the launch of a new programme aimed at reducing inequalities in the region’s start-up scene. The programme will offer supports to foreign-born female entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses in the Swedish capital.

The announcement was made ahead of International Women’s Day, which will take place on Sunday (8 March), when many are highlighting issues that remain relating to gender inequality. The European Parliament published an infographic highlighting that women in the EU earn an average of 15pc less than men, despite the fact that more women are completing higher education.

Future Human

Equal representation is also an issue when it comes to start-ups, with Atomico’s most recent report on the European tech scene outlining that only 21pc of start-up founders that participated in its annual survey identified as female.

The report noted that $92 out of every $100 invested in Europe went to founding teams comprised entirely of men, a statistic that is unchanged since 2018. For every woman executive in European tech, there are 12 men, according to the report.

‘A Woman’s Place’

Anna König Jerlmyr, mayor of Stockholm, announced the launch of the Stockholm Scaleup Program, which provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to access support and advice from experienced mentors within the Stockholm start-up scene.

König Jerlmyr said: “Stockholm is already a front runner when it comes to creating a more gender-equal society. Together with over 100 companies, including unicorns like Spotify, Klarna and King, we have declared the city ‘A Woman’s Place’ to support equal opportunities for men and women.

“Now, with the Stockholm Scaleup Program, we take the next concrete steps towards a more inclusive and equal start-up scene.”

Under-represented when it comes to funding

The Stockholm Scaleup Program provides participating entrepreneurs with tailor-made advice on their growth strategies, knowledge-enhancing workshops, and opportunities to meet with investors, mentors and relevant networks.

Ariane Pousette, project manager for start-ups at Invest Stockholm, said: “Studies show that foreign-born women entrepreneurs are likely to hire at a faster rate, grow their business organically and create viable companies.

“However, they are under-represented among the companies that receive funding, which reduces their ability to scale up their operations. With the Stockholm Scaleup Program, we want to further the conditions for these entrepreneurs to develop their companies and contribute to the growth in Stockholm.”

The programme, which is run by Invest Stockholm with the surrounding municipalities of Botkyrka, Nacka and Sundbyberg, will support 100 companies over the next two years. It will also receive funding from the Swedish agency for economic and regional growth.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic