First Steps to Starting a Business in Copenhagen

There are lots of considerations when starting a business. We were lucky because our launch coincided with the Copenhagen Business Service (Københavns Erhvervsservice) start-up competition, a contest and course combination in which you can take business classes such as Tax, How to Write a Business Plan and more in English (for free!).

When we started Scandinavia Standard, we walked in with eyes open, thanks in part to the information provided by the Copenhagen Business Service. That isn’t to say that our vision didn’t change in a million small ways once we started, but that’s part of the growth process.


So how do you go about starting a business?

Well, a business idea helps. That sounds obvious, but a strong idea is hard to come up with. Start by simply talking it out. If you have a business partner or partners, this is the best person to do it with. If not, ask a friend or family member who has some business experience. Whittling down your thoughts and answering critical questions can help your idea take shape. Alongside this back-and-forth, do a bit of research; we ran a focus group that was extremely helpful in molding our direction.


The next step is writing a business plan

This was probably the most formative step for Scandinavia Standard; when we sat down to create our business plan, we had to take our initial idea a few steps further, make a long-term (in our case, five year) plan and create a series of budgets. Seeing our 35 pages of planning all at once suddenly made the journey seem much more real.

Fortunately for us, we also had a deadline to create this plan because it doubled as the application for the Copenhagen Business Service Start-up Competition. Shortly after we submitted, we found out that we’d made it to the second round. For this, we had to make a 10 minute presentation in front of a panel of judges. It was exciting, nerve-wracking and ultimately extremely rewarding. Soon after presenting, we found out that we were in the final round and were scheduled to make three minute presentation in front of over 150 people.

I’d like to sidebar here and exhort the benefits of a finely-tuned “elevator pitch.” Your pitch is a few sentences that sums up your business perfectly; it’s the way you sell yourself in a minute flat. If you can show your mission and your passion within one succinct answer to the question “what do you do?” then you’re at least part of the way to success.

We didn’t win the Start-up Competition but we met some fantastic entrepreneurs and got a boost of confidence from our warm reception by the start-up community.

Yes, starting a business is tough work. Exponentially more so when you don’t fluently speak the native language of the country. That’s why we’re so grateful to Copenhagen Business Service, who not only run the Start-up Competition, but also offer consultations, mentoring opportunities, networking fairs and various classes.

We can talk about our start-up process all day (seriously sometimes we do), but there’s nothing like advice from experts. Copenhagen Business Service has recently moved from Islands Brygge to the International House, which means that new residents can get loads of immigration, business and social networking information in one place!


Copenhagen Business Service

Københavns Erhvervshus
Nyropsgade 1
1602 København V
Tel: +45 33661000

Next steps? Find out more about creating a Business Model Canvas. Then make a killer Scandinavian minimalist website!

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The Business Model Canvas
& More

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Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.