How to Start and Set Up a Business in Sweden?

Are you an expat moving to Sweden to start a business? Probably starting a company in Sweden or expanding your business by opening a branch in Stockholm? Well, starting and setting up a business in Sweden is quite a straightforward process, especially when you know what you are doing. The procedures for registering and running a business are simple and efficient. The Swedish business system is also transparent allowing expatriates to establish their new enterprises. Furthermore, opening a company in Stockholm or any of the other major cities can be an excellent way to propel your business to success.

To help you understand this process, this article will take you through what you need to know to start a business in Sweden. You will learn about the necessary rules governing businesses in Stockholm and Sweden, and the types of business that you can open.

How to Start and Set Up a Business in Sweden | Din Bokföring

Understand Swedish Residency Rules

Before you decide to move to Sweden and start a business in Stockholm or any other city, take time to understand the rules and regulations that govern Swedish residence. These rules and regulations depend on an individual’s citizenship and what they want to do in the country. For Nordic citizens (Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands), they are not required to apply for a residence permit or register with the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) or the European Union (EU) are also entitled to Swedish residence and can apply for a personal identification number without having to register with the Swedish Migration Agency.

To ensure your Swedish business runs smoothly, you should adhere to the relevant residency requirements. Luckily, the residency requirements are friendly enough help you start your own business in Sweden easily. If you are a Swiss citizen and wish to stay longer than three months, then you will need to acquire a residence permit. Those who are from outside Switzerland/EEA/Eu and want to start a business in Sweden are required to apply for a residence permit before coming to Sweden. If you a temporary Swedish resident, you can apply to the Tax agency for a coordination number that will replace the personal identity number, allowing you to apply for F tax status.

Prepare a Business Plan for Your Business in Sweden

Before starting up a business in Sweden, you need to develop and write a business plan that will act as a guide. A business plan, which is known as affärsplan in Sweden is a document that sums up your business and what it seeks to accomplish. Normally, this document includes information about the company’s main source of income, target market, marketing plan, budget and expected income, and the expected costs. Whether you aim at starting a small business in Sweden or going big, a business plan will act as a blueprint a guide to achieving this goal.

You can gather information about the Sweden business world by conducting online research. Statistics Sweden provides useful information about the country, its demographics, industrial capacity, age of business sentiment, and more (Statistics Sweden). Another source of information that help you craft a business plan is the trade organization (branschorganisation), where you can get information about the field of work you are aiming for. The site provides information about the type and size of companies involved in every sector, the general state of the market, and the regulations that you must comply with.

Other useful sources of information include the Swedish Trade Federation, the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Swedish IT and Telecom Industries, the Swedish Construction Federation, and Lantmännen. If you want to start a business in Stockholm, you can narrow down your research to information that is only relevant to the city.

Understand the Costs Involved

Although registering a business is relatively cheap, you need to prepare for the costs involved in setting up a company in Sweden and running it. The cost of registering a company is usually affordable for many people, especially for a sole proprietorship (enskild firma in Swedish). However, you will need an initial capital to cover the cost of living and running the business before it starts to generate revenue. You will also need funds to make initial purchases during the initial stages of your company. While the funds can be derived from own savings, alternative sources of finance are available including company loans and bank loans.

Understand the Costs Involved | Din Bokföring

Once you have estimated the cost that you will incur in starting up a business in Sweden, you need to consider building a network. Even if you have colleagues, friends or relatives in Sweden, the success of your business is pegged more on having a network of people with ideas similar to yours. One of the best sources for networking is the Swedish Jobs and Society Foundation (Nyföretagarcentrum), where you can seek advice on running a new business and attend their regular events across the country. Alternatively, you can connect with other companies through Business Sweden.

If you are looking for advisors, you can visit the verksamt website to find the right connections for your business. Social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn are also viable places to grow your business network in Sweden. It is usually easier to build networks on social media for expats who decide to start their businesses in Stockholm due to the high number of internet-savvy people.

Come Up with a Name for Your Company

The name that you choose for your company is crucial because it represents your brand. For instance, when you register and start a business in Stockholm, you will want a business name that customers can use easily to find you. The name should be unique and easy to remember to beat competition. It should also say what your business does and paint a clear mental picture of your business. Although it should not be too specific to make harder for you to expand your proposition, it should relate to what you intend to do with your business.

Before settling on any name, make sure it is unique and has not been taken already by another company. Search for the name on Google and confirm whether it is unique by checking the name on Bolagsverket. Bolagsverket is the Swedish Companies Registration Office and has a database of the names of all companies registered in Sweden. Also, make sure that you get a suitable domain for your company name, preferably a domain with the se. suffix to attract local traffic. If your business will be based in Stockholm, you can use Google business to ensure you have selected a unique name.

Choosing a Company Type For Your Business

Once you have settled on a name for your company, you need to choose the type of company you want to register. While the process of setting up a business in Sweden is quite straightforward, understanding the types of businesses allowed will only make the process easier for you. This decision should be guided on several factors including whether you are planning to run the business alone or with associates and whether your business ia capital intensive. Other factors whether you are selling products or services and the amount of capital you have at startup. The most common types of companies in Sweden include:

  • Sole Proprietorship: The Swedish name for this type of business is Enskild näringsverksamhet or Enskild firma. This is a type of business owned by a private individual, who is also personally responsible for all the business agreements and debts. Although it is not a requirement to register a sole proprietorship, doing so protects your company’s name to ensure that no one else can register a company in Sweden with the same name. A sole proprietorship will be identified by your personal identity number (personnummer), issued by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatterverket)
  • Joint-stock company/Partnership: This type of business is known as Handelsbolag in Sweden. It is a business type ran by two or more partners, who are responsible for all its assets and operations. The partners can either be individuals or legal persons (Juridisk person).
  • Limited Company: In Swedish, a limited company is known as Aktiebolag. To start ltd Sweden (Start your limited company here), you are required to have a capital of SEK 50,000. You will be required to provide a founding document containing the company’s rules and send an application for registration to the Swedish Companies Registration Office. Once the company gets its name approved, it will be assigned an organization number to start operations. The company will need to have a manager and a board of directors. Although it can have a branch registered outside Sweden, a limited company is required to have its accounts and a managing director separate from its foreign parent company. If the company will have more than 10 employees, it is required to have a company secretary (clerk) and comply with Swedish accountancy regulations.
Registering a Swedish Company and Applying for F Tax | Din Bokföring

Registering a Swedish Company and Applying for F Tax

Having gathered all the prerequisites needed to start company Sweden, it is now time to start the registration process. For sole proprietorship form of business, you will only need to register at Swedish tax Authorities (Skatteverket). If you choose to open a partnership or a limited company, then the registration will take place at the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket). It will also save you a great deal if you register a domain name for your business at this stage to prevent someone else from taking it.

When it comes to taxation, sole proprietors are required to apply for F tax (F-skatt) if their business is the only source of income or for FA tax (FA-skatt) if they also have employment as a source of income on the side. Both F and FA tax are forms corporate taxation for the self-employed in Sweden. They mean that you can pay your taxes and social fees whenever you a customer or client hire for a job. In other words, you undertake your work as an entrepreneur and not an employee. As such, those who contract or hire you do not administer you tax or social security payments as this is your responsibility. If you do not have F tax, the customer is required to account this during payment. The good this is that applying for both F and FA tax is free of charge. It is also the only thing apart from registration at Skatteverket that you are required to register before starting a sole proprietorship in Sweden.

Comply with Any Permits or Qualifications Needed

Starting business Sweden is regulated by the law, which means expats need to adhere to certain conditions or get approval to conduct certain income-generating activities. You can get information about the various types of businesses, professions, and trades that require permits on Verksamt.se. This information can also be availed by contacting the specific bodies that issue them or regulate the field your business will be operating in.

Before you open a company in Sweden and start running business operations, ensure that you have adhered to all the necessary permits and qualifications. For example, if you are planning to handle animals or open a restaurant in Stockholm, ensure that you have applied for the needed permits and got the appropriate approvals first. Some types of businesses like electricians also require that you provide some formal qualifications.

Acquire an Swedish Accounting Software

Every Swedish business is required to follow the Swedish Book-keeping Act Bokföringslagen in keeping its accounts (Bokföringsskyldighet). While you could opt to manage your books of account by yourself or employ an accountant, the law requires that you have an accounting software (ERP) for managing the numbers. For an expat, it is advisable to choose software that complies to Swedish laws and operates in the English language as well.

Acquire an Swedish Accounting Software | Din Bokföring

Decide Your Form of Payment

Opening a business in Sweden is just one part of the equation. Choosing your payment methods is the other part for a successful business, especially if you are starting a business Stockholm and other major cities. You will want to choose a method that is easy and smoother to use while giving your customers a good experience. Swedish businesses enjoy a wide array of payment options that they can offer their customers. To minimize the risk of errors and reduce having to fill the numbers manually, choose a method that connects easily with your incoming payments.

Decide Your Form of Payment in Sweden | Din Bokföring

Hire Personnel Legally

If you need to hire people in your business, make sure you do so legally. The Employment Protection Act (Lagen om Anställningsskydd) governs and regulates employment conditions in Sweden. According to this Act, employment contracts in Sweden are for an indefinite term unless the employment contract explicitly states otherwise. Under the Act, there are four types of fixed-term employment, including temporary replacements and work for those over the age of 67 years.

Conclusion

Although this is not a comprehensive guide, it sure gives you a clear picture of what to expect for those who want to start a business in Sweden. Whether you want to start your business in Stockholm or any other city in Sweden, the above points will make the process easier for you.  

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