When you think of technology giants, your mind likely goes to companies in the U.S. Who hasn’t heard of Apple or Microsoft? While these are certainly impressive companies, the U.S. does not have a stronghold as the birthplace of innovation or even the home of the most prolific tech companies.
There is another country quietly making its mark on the scene and taking over industries in which the U.S. used to be untouchable. It may be shocking to find out that country is Sweden.
It may seem unassuming. You may even forget about it as a global player, but the chances are good that you have used or are currently using technology that comes straight from this Nordic country.
What Is So Impressive About Sweden?
Sweden is home to many well-known and successful technology companies, including Skype and Spotify. What you may not realize is the country is also the home to gaming companies, such as Mojang and King. Name recognition is driving the country to stay on top because it is quickly becoming a leader in technology around the globe.
You may have heard of the term unicorn, which is a startup company with a $1 billion or more value. When looking at Sweden, you will see that Stockholm alone is turning out unicorns at an impressive rate. In fact, tech Crunch notes that the city is the world leader in unicorns, which shows that the country is doing something right when it comes to tech.
All of this is huge for a country that isn’t really that big. However, a lot of the success is because of the government leaders who are creating an environment that not only encourages innovation but also safeguards it. The Swedish government has introduced laws to help stabilize inflation and keep the national debt low. It also provides startups with support and encouragement, including investments in research and development. The government provides seed fund program and grants. It funds programs to help with entrepreneurship.
There is a huge investment in innovation and technology in the country, helping to cultivate this encouraging and supportive environment in which companies can thrive. Companies, such as Axo Finans, follow the lead of the government to assist the industry with moving forward and getting ahead.
Tech companies are doing their own part to help. They are notoriously conservative when it comes to finances. These companies will monitor spending and curb excessiveness at every level to ensure they spend money smartly. They avoid flash for practicality. They also focus on building company culture and creating good workspaces.
The combination of everyone working towards the same goals and having the same values equals a country that looks as if it will not stop and nobody will be able to steal its crown as the tech world leader anytime soon.
How Is Sweden Leading the World?
The Independent reports that Spotify is an impressive tribute to the powerhouse that is Sweden. It is second only to Netflix when it comes to subscribers, recently hitting 140 million users. The company is on fire, surpassing the performance of other top tech companies, including Google and Apple. Winning against U.S. top performers is a huge accomplishment.
How is Sweden beating the U.S.? It seems to be a combination of Swedish success and American failure. The countries are at odds when it comes to government involvement in business, tax rates, and social programs. Perhaps the biggest difference is that Sweden makes it okay to take a risk because it supports its citizens, and failure does not mean a person is left in the poor house.
This is something the U.S. does not offer its citizens, which means there is only a small percentage of people who can afford to take the risks needed to bring about innovation. If you fail in the U.S., it will usually lead to financial devastation unless you have the money to lose. Most Americans simply do not have those types of finances, and there are limited programs available that can help someone who wants to try something but may fail. This leads to a population who is simply too afraid to take a chance, and therefore, the world never gets to see their exciting ideas.
The government in Sweden has put safety nets in place that allow people to take a chance on a tech startup without the worry. They provide support and financial help at every step to encourage people to chase their dreams. In addition, the country creates a better environment in which to nurture creative minds by offering free higher education without the burden of student loans.
This is not to say that American tech companies are lacking or that they do not do a good job. There is no doubt these tech giants are doing amazing. It is, however, showing how future growth may not be as good in the U.S. as it is in a country like Sweden.
Look to the Future
Knowing how Sweden got to where it is today lets’ you understand why many experts predict it will continue to grow and influence the tech industry in the future. There is little doubt that the country has created an environment in which the sky is the limit when it comes to innovation. With this background and encouragement, the only thing we can do is look ahead and project what amazing technology will come out of Sweden next.