By Salome Pkhaladze, photos by Salome Pkhaladze and Business Aarhus
Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, has two official services for international entrepreneurs or companies who wish to start or expand their business in Aarhus: Startup Aarhus (Startvækst Aarhus) and Business Aarhus. Startup Aarhus is for the early stage international entrepreneurs with Danish CPR number (personal registration number) and small business companies with Danish CVR number (Company/business registration number) whereas, Business Aarhus offers its service to bigger business companies.
Startup Aarhus offers three free of charge services in cooperation with business, corporate and public sectors: counseling, startup meeting and specialist meeting.
Those who are willing to start up a new company in Aarhus region can get support from an experienced business consultant. There are no set-up dates. Business individuals or companies should fill out and send a one-page mini business plan available on the Startup Aarhus website. After this process, Startup Aarhus representative will get in touch and appoint a meeting.
Startup meeting is a one and a half hour crush-course, which introduces Danish regulations and rules in the business sector and gives an overview of the tax and VAT registration forms. Meeting attendants are also informed regarding the local entrepreneurial activities. Startup Meeting takes places at Dokk1 several times in a year; fixed dates are published on the Startup Aarhus website.
The specialist meeting offers consultation from lawyers, accountants, marketing and insurance experts and other business advisors. The specialist meeting takes places at INCUBA twice a month, fixed dates are published on the Startup Aarhus website.
According to the consultant at the Startup Aarhus, Betina Møller, it is advised for entrepreneurs or business company representatives to do a basic research before they reach out and attend their meetings. “We need some background information about the business idea: what it is about, why it is a good idea and if there is a need for it. We are not asking for a comprehensive business plan, entrepreneurs can simply fill out a mini business plan on our website, describe their idea and then send it to us. A lot of things are going on in the business sector of Aarhus, and we can help with networking opportunities” says Møller.
Møller adds that it makes a great company when international entrepreneur collaborates with Danes and international perspective is mixed with the local knowledge.
One of the examples of the company who successfully used Startup Aarhus services and put together international and local skill set is Aarhus Makers. Aarhus Makers promotes local artists, craftsmen, and creative entrepreneurs and helps them to sell their products and to share their passion, for art and design. The two founders of Aarhus Makers are international, but upon securing the investment they hired a Danish specialist and local to Aarhus.
Another success story is My Danish Family. Similarly to the Aarhus Makers, My Danish Family also got support from the Startup Aarhus before setting up the business. My Danish Family offers consultations to companies which recruit international talent in Denmark. It also provides soft-landing solutions to new international families and helps them in transition and adaptation. Founder and owner, Danelia Trifiletti, originally from Columbia gives advice to entrepreneurs from her own experience: “Before starting a business company, I would recommend people to have a Danish friend/partner that can assist them through the process. Most of the documentation about company registration categories, taxes and general regulations are in Danish, hence local knowledge will be a great boost in the process.”
Bigger companies who want to locate their business in Aarhus can apply for the Business Aarhus consultation, which is the official service and investment unit in Aarhus. There are no specific selection criteria of how big an international company should be, but these should to be established and functioning for, at least, three years.
Business Aarhus offers assistance when international companies want to expand or move their headquarters in Aarhus. Companies are provided with the networking opportunities, and also with the information and analysis that is in accordance with their business case. Assistance packages for each case vary since they are different needs and circumstances.
During the consultations and negotiations with the Business Aarhus, CVR number is not necessary but it is needed to be obtained once international companies start their business in Aarhus. However, there are no residency requirements for management and the board meetings can be held electronically.
According to the Business and Urban Development manager at City Hall, Søren Boel Pedersen, either international business companies approach them through the networking, or the Business Aarhus representatives itself reach out to them. Business Aarhus representatives find international companies from the public database, get in touch with them and ask if they need any assistance in terms of business development in Aarhus.
“It’s easy to start a business here. We have relatively stable business and political environment, which is crucial for success and development. For years, World Bank has been nominating Denmark in the top positions when it comes to doing business. What Aarhus can provide for international business companies is clever minds, innovative ideas, and flexibility”- says Pedersen.
Some of the examples of international companies located in Aarhus are Google, Du Pont, and Jonson Controls.
For further information visit Startup Aarhus and Business Aarhus websites.