Sweden helps workers launch their own business
This is the only country that offers a legally-enshrined right to take a leave of absence for entrepreneurship
- February 16, 2019 15:00
- Olya Georgieva
Sweden is the birthplace of many of the world’s biggest tech giants and Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley for the number of unicorns (billion-dollar tech companies) it produces per capita. The government, unions and employers in Sweden support the right to take time off as a way of promoting mobility in the labor market. There is strong evidence showing that removing career risk can actually spur entrepreneurship.
For the last two decades, full-time workers with permanent jobs have had the right to take a six-month leave of absence to launch a company. The unpaid sabbatical, or tjänstledighet, as it’s called in Swedish, encourages people to try new things. Bosses can only say no if there are crucial operational reasons they can’t manage without a staff member, or if the new business is viewed as direct competition. The scheme is part of a series of rights employees enjoy in Sweden including requesting time off to study or care for a family member.