Among the Nordic countries, Norway is the richest. In fact, it is one of the richest countries in the world. Oslo has been recognized as one of the top start-up hubs and is also known as Europe’s fastest-growing city. Apart from these amazing facts, Oslo maintains a friendly environment, a strong economy, a stable government, and is increasingly digitally advanced.
Generally, big business opportunities in Norway have been generated by its three world-leading sectors. This is followed by the other three emerging industries, such as renewable energy, the clean tech industry, and medical/biotechnology. Traditionally, metals, materials, and clean energy have shown strong advantages in Norway. Following the global technological transformation, Norway has recently developed strong and distinguishing industry clusters and environments in finance, IT, and knowledge-based services. The strategic business circumstances of Norway are quite impressive, and beneath them, we have gathered a more in-depth look at business opportunities.
The External Strategic Environment for Your Business in Norway
Geographically - Norway, as a Scandinavian nation, is bordered by Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Denmark. Norway is also a member of the European Union. Oslo is the capital city of Norway, and its official languages are Norwegian and Sami.
Socially - 2020 global statistics showed that Norway is the second happiest country in the world in terms of the Better Life Index. Norway is also the fourth wealthiest country in the world. Norway is ranked as the country with the highest Human Development Index and the highest standard of living in the world.
Politically - Norway is a constitutional monarchy country and a member of NATO, the UN, and the European Free Trade Association. According to the Norwegian Digitization Directorate (DigDir), Norway has announced some new guidelines and changed regulations in regard to public procurement to facilitate innovation, with a distinct emphasis on the option to digitize entities available for digitization.
Economically - Norway’s economy is mainly driven by the petroleum, natural gas, mineral, seafood, and hydropower industries. For example, the petroleum industry contributes over 25% of Norway’s gross domestic product. The higher level of economic growth of a country can be determined by its higher GDP per capita, which also results in the higher economic wealth of its citizens. Global statistics of 2019 stated that Norway is ranked as the fourth highest per capita income in the world as of 2021.
Financially - The high living standard and modern integrated welfare system of Norway have relied on a strong financial reserve backed by the exploitation of natural resources. Norway’s strong financial state can also be seen by those key figures in Figure 1 below.
Key Figures of Norway’s Financial System (data source-Norway Central Bank)
By the above standards, Norway can be considered a highly attractive place for the establishment of businesses, not only among the Nordic countries but also in the whole of Europe.
The Advantages of Running a Business In Oslo
Safety: Norway is ranked as the second safest country in the world by Gallup’s Law and Order Index. Norway’s stable political situation, supportive regulations, and friendly social environment are the most important strategic environmental factors for safely and easily running a business or venturing into an investment.
Purchasing power and consumption habits - First, despite its small population of 5.3 million, Norway’s purchasing power is comparable to that of larger economies due to its high standard of living and evenly distributed wealth. Secondly, Norway’s preference for quality shopping and consumption can be seen as an important, positive factor in conducting business in the country.
Social and technological environment - As we have already mentioned, Norway has been ranked on top for its most friendly, happy, and wealthy social environment with digitally advanced citizens. The World Bank rated Norway 9th among 189 countries in ease of doing business.
Disadvantages of Doing Business in Norway
High Cost of Living - In terms of rent, food, and transportation, Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The Highest Start-Up Capital of 30,000 NOK - Compared to other European states, such as the UK, where setting up the same legal structure costs only £15, Norway requires the highest start-up capital for companies to have the bank to incorporate a limited company.
High Labor Costs – Generated by the high cost of living, Norway has a higher cost of labor, rentals, and income taxes.
Top 10 Small Business Investment Opportunities in Norway
Oil and Gas Servicing Company
The oil and gas industries in Norway are the world's leading industries. It has been the most stable and profitable sector in Norway. Establishing your own oil or gas servicing company is the best and quickest way to invest in this sector.
Shopping Mall Business
With the fast development of the country’s economy and the notable growth of consumers, investing in building a shopping mall in any of the busiest cities in Norway can be considered the next best business opportunity.
Nail and Beauty Salon
As Norwegian citizens have a higher purchasing ability and a more leisurely lifestyle, opening a nail and beauty salon is a very thriving business opportunity in Norway.
Sandwich and Café Bar with Accommodations
Compared to other west and east European countries, there are so few Sandwich & Cafe Bar shops and boutiques in Norway; also, in other Nordic countries. Those existing ones are not so attractive in our private opinion. So, those situations are generating great business opportunities in Norway, especially in the country's largest city, Oslo.
Real Estate Business
As with most other countries, the real estate industry is heating up in its major European markets. According to a joint survey by PWC and the Urban Land Institute, Nordic countries came out on top after Germany with emerging trends in real estate. From the point of view of capital risk, Norway can be considered the safest destination with Its continuously growing economy, supportive regulations, stable policy, and wealthy finance.
Like sandwich and cafe bar shops, running a convenience store in any city in Norway can be considered a stable and profitable business.
Technology Products Shop
Following the speed of digitization, new guidelines, and supportive regulations for innovation, developing & selling technology products, and running technology-related businesses has been another promising opportunity in Norway.
The ban on smoking in public places in Norway has given way to cigar lounges opening in various locations in major cities throughout the country. Opening one of these lounges has proven to be a necessary sub-service for Norwegian citizens.
Seafood has been the most important, favorable, and elegant dish in a Norwegian meal. Running a seafood mall in the heart of a town, with local production and customer dining preferences is a golden business opportunity in Norway.
Auto Servicing and Repair Garage
It has been a quite stable and profitable business in almost every country, with a growing number of automobile owners. In Norway, considering its geographical location, cold weather, and social culture, it can be a more attractive business. High-quality service with an easy-to-reach facility and trained technicians is a highly profitable entity in Norway.
Although Norway has been recognized as a safe, friendly, and wealthy country with a stable political and technology-based structure, there are still some suggestions for newcomers looking to start a business in Norway, especially in the cultural sectors. The Norwegian people respect and cherish the culture. It is very important to learn about, appreciate, and adapt to the local culture in business. The culture appears in every corner of business, mainly: Always be friendly, honest, and direct when conducting business or social opportunities.Cultural facts are very important when purchasing and consuming.Working culture: A healthy working attitude, passion, and a suitable methodology are more appreciated. Little bargaining happens during business transactions in Norway. Frankness and straightforwardness are what are valued most. The balance between work and life is important to Norwegians. A workaholic is not appreciated. On the contrary, it is considered an unhealthy working or living attitude. Biking, running, sailing, and skiing are wildly popular within the business world. Aizen ConsultingIf you are among the many looking to capitalize on the thriving business economy in Norway, we can help. At Aizen Consulting, you are not just another client, but a person we can help with a range of services. Specifically, our consulting services will greatly help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of business in Norway. We know how to help you succeed, so contact Aizen today.
Araujo, F. (2021) Digitization of public procurement in Norway made easier by CEF’s Big Data Tool. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/cefdigital/wiki/display/CEFDIGITAL/2021/03/07/Digitisation+of+public+procurement+in+Norway+made+easier+by+CEF%27s+Big+Data+Tool [Accessed 10 December 2022]
IMF (2021) World Economic Outlook Database. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/weo-database/2021/October/ [Accessed 10 December 2022]