Start-up Denmark lets you live and launch your start-up in one of Europe’s most entrepreneur-friendly countries.
It is a start-up visa scheme for talented entrepreneurs who want to grow high-impact start-ups in Denmark.
Accepted applicants get a residence and work permit for Denmark valid for two years plus possibility of extension. And this is much more than just a permit: It allows you to build your business in a renowned entrepreneurial ecosystem supported by great public business development initiatives and access to the European Single Market.
Besides access to various programmes and subsidy schemes this includes free tailored counselling in public business development centres. Here, consultants can boost your start-up and guide you through Denmark’s vast opportunities for entrepreneurs, such as accelerators, co-working spaces, investment funds and grassroots initiatives.
Moreover, you get access to most welfare benefits – such as healthcare and education. This also applies to accompanying spouses and children.
Start-up Denmark is co-led by the Ministry of Business and Growth and the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing.
YouNoodle runs this website and provides application handling services.
– GEDI 2015
– Forbes 2015
– Monocle 2014
– World Happiness Report 2016
Denmark has a large network of public and private entrepreneur supporters, accelerators and incubators. You will have access to pitch competitions, investment funds, collaborative research centres and much more to unleash the potential of your start-up.
Denmark is a hub for cutting-edge companies in a variety of industries. This includes some of the European Union’s top clusters regarding life science, ICT, design and clean-tech & sustainable energy.
Linking continental Europe to Scandinavia, Denmark has a unique geographical location. This is facilitated by an excellent infrastructure that not only connects your start-up with 500 million European consumers, but also offers you the best IT infrastructure in Scandinavia.
Dealing with Danish authorities, you experience one of the world’s most transparent public systems with virtually no corruption. Bureaucracy in business, government and the daily lives of Danes is very limited, and Denmark’s business regulation is known for its low level of red tape.
Start-up Denmark is your gateway to one of the world’s richest countries and has a highly developed welfare system. As 86% of Danes speak English, communication ought to present no problems. Denmark also ranks as one of the world’s safest countries, offering an easy-going and sophisticated lifestyle.
Informal is the essence of Danish work culture. In fact, the Danes enjoy the best work like balance in the OECD. Dress is casual, work hours are flexible, and discussions are open. Danes take long holidays and prioritize time with friends and family, but also represent a highly productive and innovative work force.
Start-up Denmark is a visa scheme launched by the Danish Government to allow talented entrepreneurs to relocate and grow high-impact start-ups in Denmark.
You apply on the basis of a business plan which is evaluated by an expert panel. If the panel approves your business plan, you are eligible to apply for a residence and work permit as a self-employed entrepreneur. The permit is granted for a period of up to two years with the possibility of extension for three years at a time.
Start-up Denmark is for self-employed persons, and only non-EU (European Union) and non-EEA (European Economic Area) citizens can apply.
Up to two non-EU, non-EEA citizens can submit a business plan together on this website, but must apply individually for a work and residence permit, if their business plan is approved by the Start-up Denmark expert panel.
A non-EU, non-EEA citizen can submit a business plan together with an EU/EEA citizen. EU/EEA citizens do not need residence and work permits for Denmark due to the EU rules on free movement of persons and services.
Start-up Denmark is for innovative, scalable and, ideally, tech-driven businesses with a clear growth potential. Therefore, businesses such as restaurants, consultancy firms, retail shops and import/export enterprises will generally be rejected and thus not presented to the Start-up Denmark expert panel.
All business plans are assessed by five members of Start-up Denmark’s independent expert panel. Assessments are based on scores from 1 to 5 given in relation to five evaluation criteria. To receive an approval you need both at least 3.0 in average score for all five criteria and additionally at least 4.0 in the recommendation criteria.
The criteria are defined as follows:
1. How innovative is the business model?
The expert panel is looking for fundamentally clever business models that seize an opportunity and accelerate the development of a new market or industry. Applications are evaluated in terms of their level of innovation and introduction of new products, services or processes within their field.
2. How attractive is the market?
When evaluating the attractiveness of a market, the expert panel focuses on market size, commercial potentials and barriers of entry. Additionally, the panel evaluates the level of competition in the market and how applicants plan to enter and address the market.
3. How capable is the applicant or team?
Applicants need not only to conceive a great business model, but must also be capable of building a successful business in practice. Therefore, the expert panel assess whether applicants have the skills, competences and experiences needed to turn their business plan into a viable venture.
4. How scalable is the business model?
The expert panel selects start-ups with a clear potential to create jobs and growth in Denmark. For this reason the panel values scalability. Hence, it should be demonstrated that the business model is built to scale up, that it is highly expandable, and that it represents a significant growth potential.
5. Can this start-up be recommended for Start-up Denmark?
Start-up Denmark aims to attract growth-oriented, innovative and, ideally, tech-driven start-ups that bring ideas, network and knowledge about new markets to Denmark. Consequently, the expert panel estimates the degree to which start-ups contribute to this end. The recommendation score sums up the panel’s assessment of the first four criteria taken altogether. It is thus an expression of the panel’s overall perception of the quality of the business plan and the applicant(s) behind it.
Your business plan is typically evaluated by the Start-up Denmark expert panel within six weeks of submission. You receive the outcome of the panel’s evaluation from the Start-up Denmark Secretariat.
If your evaluation is positive, you can apply for a residence and work permit according to the Start-up Denmark scheme at the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration. The agency usually considers applications within four weeks of submission.
You can read more about residence and work permits for entrepreneurs here.
The Start-up Denmark expert panel evaluates your business plan. It is staffed by experienced and independent business consultants. All experts are volunteers recruited from publicly funded regional business development centres.
Submitting a business plan to Start-up Denmark on this website is free of charge.
However, if your business plan is approved by the expert panel, and if you choose to apply for a residence and work permit at the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration, a fee of DKK 1,750 (approx. EUR 235/USD 260) is required for submitting an application for a Start-up Denmark residence and work permit at the agency.
If your business plan is approved by the Start-up Denmark expert panel, you receive an approval letter from the Start-up Denmark Secretariat.
The letter entitles you to apply for a residence and work permit as a self-employed entrepreneur at the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.
In other words, the approval of your business plan does not in itself imply a residence and work permit. The approval is a precondition for applying for the residence and work permit.
Yes. All applicants are notified about the outcome of the evaluation of their business plan. In most cases, you’re notified within six weeks of submission.
Please note that the Start-up Denmark expert panel can only evaluate your application, if the information you provide is sufficiently clear. Therefore, the Start-up Denmark Secretariat can reject an application on the basis of insufficient information. In this case, the application is not presented to the expert panel. The Secretariat informs rejected applicants.
If your application is rejected by the Start-up Denmark expert panel, you may choose to improve your business plan and apply again any time when convenient.
It is possible to complain against rejections to the Danish Business Authority. Complaints are assessed by five members of the expert panel with no previous insight in your original application. Instructions for filing a complaint can be found in rejection emails from the Start-up Denmark Secretariat.
No prior investment in your start-up is required to apply.
However, if your business plan is approved by the Start-up Denmark expert panel, and if you submit your application for a residence and work permit, you must document that you can support yourself financially for at least one year in Denmark.
This requirement applies both to each applicant, if more than one, and to accompanying family members.
You can read more about the amounts required and necessary documentation here.
Yes. Please read more here.
No. Start-up Denmark only provides work and residence permits to accepted applicants. Entrepreneurs are themselves responsible for raising all required capital and must be able to sustain themselves financially.
You can read more about financial requirements here.
No, only applications submitted in English will be accepted for evaluation.