There is no shortage of opportunities for Swedish entrepreneurs to network in a coworking space, or to join an accelerator to take their business to the next level, and generally enjoy the Swedish startup ecosystem.
But how to get started with an idea? For very early startup projects, an incubator might be the best place to start. Which is why we’ve compiled this list of the best ones available across Sweden right now in no particular order.
The Arctic Business incubator, affiliated with Luleå University of Technology, has been voted the 7th best incubator in the world. Their goal is to help create new and innovative companies in Northern Sweden aimed at meeting the UN’s Agenda 2030, focusing on sustainable development.
The startups to go through the Arctic Business Incubator, and possible accelerator, are known to secure vast amounts of investment. Some of their most notable alumni include i.e. Behaviosec and BioCool.
An incubator and catalyst for “those who want to create a prosperous and growing innovative companies”. Inkubera has a proven track record of creating 40 innovative companies in the past 5 years, all of which secured nearly 100M SEK in sales. The alumni include amazing startups like Yobber and BioImpakt. Inkubera accepts 15 new companies each year, without taking any equity or ownership. These companies will benefit from complete access to their network of experts, advisors, entrepreneurs, and other entrepreneurs who will share their own energy, knowledge and experience.
Umeå Biotech Incubator, or OBI as it is known for short, is a state of the art biotech incubator in the heart of Northern Sweden dedicated to turning innovative ideas into real-life benefits for patients and society as a whole.
Since 2004, UBI has helped launch 15 companies with financial grants from VINNOVA, and their close partnerships with Umeå Universitet, Västerbottens läns landsting (VLL), Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet (SLU), Norrlands Universitetssjukhus (NUS) and Försvarets forskningsinstitut (FOI).
The Game Incubator comes from a non-profit organization designed to expand the Swedish game industry. Since its launch in 2004, the incubator has helped create 100 companies, and created 500+ jobs for designers, developers, and entrepreneurs in the gaming niche.
There are two locations in Sweden, Science Park Skövde (Skövde) and Lindholmen Science Park (Göteborg), hosting together 18 studios at all times. They do not take equity, bit there might be a small fee to pay depending on the size of your team. You will have to attend some workshops and other events in person, but you don’t need to be located in either cities otherwise.
BizMakers incubator is designed to help entrepreneurs develop new ideas into growing companies. The program is primarily focused on supporting startups with green and technology based innovations. To apply, your product or service should be sustainable, scalable and have an international market potential.
The incubator is physically based in the middle of Sweden (Headquarters in Sundsvall) and gives you access to business advisors, office space and support based on your individual needs and phase. With a high range of corporate partners and expertise on board, your startup can also get access to specific industry knowledge, test environments and technology platforms to help you take your ideas to the next level.
Brewhouse is an incubator for cultural and creative industries focusing on architecture, design, performing arts, cultural heritage, literature and multimedia, amongst others. An important part of the Västra Götaland region startup scene, it has helped launch 250 projects, 60% of which are still active today.
The incubator is available by application. If you are selected, you’ll get a permanent or flexible workplace in their coworking office, and access to Brewhouse's growth program, regular business development support, coach calls and access to the entire Brewhouse network.
A value-based incubator focusing on growth through sustainable economic and equal values, Framtidens Företag doesn’t have a specific programme as each one is tailored for individual startups.
The incubator takes place in Gothenburg and you’ll get an office space, network access, and a chance to join the managing director’s meetings - a forum where you can pitch your ideas and get real-life feedback from successful fellow CEOs and directors.
A successful program with ties to Silicon Valley, the Blekinge Business Incubator (BBI) is divided into two parts: a Startup Academy and Scaleup Fasttrack. There is a thorough evaluation of your idea through small, 24-48 hour workshops, and if you are selected you will join the ranks of dozens of companies like ForgottenKey that blossomed after joining the BBI program.
This incubator, based in the textile capital of Sweden, Borås, supports entrepreneurs and innovators in technology, textiles and fashion with business development – from business concept to market launch. Boras Ink offers financing, technical and commercial networks and a creative growth environment in the Textile Fashion Center, where you’ll have access to office space, studio, and machinery.
In fact, one of their main goals is designed to fast-track your idea towards investment with their own company InkInvest, which takes a 10% stake in your company and provides professional knowledge.
Ideon Innovation, located in the middle of the Ideon Science Park, offers a nurturing environment for innovation and collaboration where more than 206 startups were incubated since 2001. These companies have gone on to create 2835 job opportunities, and collectively earned 2,7B SEK in revenue.
As one of the incubees, you’ll get to sit in their creative office space, join a vast network of experienced business coaches, and access all the networking events the Ideon Science Park has to offer.
A great way to create impact is to commercialize your tech, which is exactly what Chalmers Ventures sets out to do with their various programmes including pre-seed, accelerator, and of course incubator.
The first step will be to match your tech with a team of entrepreneurs from the Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship, and see if you qualify for their programme. It is designed to bring your 100-day implementation to life, with a focus on launching a viable product.
The Karolinska Institute (KL) for innovation has a dedicated incubator program called DRIVE. It is designed to support the successful commercial development of businesses within life sciences.
That is to say, it’s ideal for scientists, researchers, or even academics who have come up with a brilliant idea on how to help patients and society as a whole, but have no clue on how to turn it into a successful, profitable product or service.
LEAD is the only incubator on this list that focuses on how startups operate rather than their niche. It’s a great idea, which will help B2B entrepreneurs gain real-life expertise in a variety of domains such as sales training, marketing and PR, and customer service, amongst others.Once selected by LEAD, you will become a member with access to community breakfast and events, a dedicated business coach, skills and development programs from fellow CEOs and sales teams, amongst others.
A non-profit business where all resources go back into incubating new projects, the Create Business Incubator isn’t free (you need to pay 5,000 SEK a month), but you get a ton in return.
That includes 50 hours of business development, coaching, expert support, and access to events at Västerås Science Park, Munktell Science Park in Eskilstuna and Sörmlandsfonden. They do not take any equity, and in fact Create has been awarded a grant of SEK 6.5 million by Vinnova for the years 2016-2020 that startups can apply in order to develop as part of the incubation process.
One of Sweden's most recent newcomers to join the accelerator community is the Leap Accelerator owned by Business Sweden. Commissioned by the Government and the Swedish industry, the Leap Accelerator is a global accelerator program that represents an international network of over 50 markets.
The accelerator program aims give global access to startups to help them internationalize with tailored expansion strategies. The program is completely free and consists of five sessions spread out over two months. The two most noteworthy alumni coming out of the Leap Accelerator are Abigo Medical and ReVibe that has made sustainable goals part of their mission.
You can apply directly through their own website here.
If you didn’t find the incubator of your dreams in that list, make sure you keep an eye on Swedish university websites. For instance, the Stockholm University Incubator, which goes through the SU Innovation Office, can offer startups the equivalent of products and services worth 300,000 SEK. You can see if your startup aligns with the ones currently part of the programme here.
The Stockholm School of Economics also has an incubator that runs for up to 18 months. You might have heard of Klarna, Yollibox, Budbee and Voi Technology, all companies that were incubated there since 2001.