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Billede af: Kim Vadskær

ADVICE FROM A NON-DANISH SPEAKING ENTREPRENEUR IN DENMARK

As a Dutch native Gaby did not know the Danish language or of the system regarding entrepreneurs. Still she succeeded in launching a cleaning company. She shares five pieces of advice if you too want to start your own business in Denmark.

Looking for jobs - 21. August 2020 -

When Gaby Van Zon came up with the idea of starting her own company, she had to start from absolute scratch.

This is of course the case for many new businesses but being Dutch meant that Gaby had to overcome some initial obstacles that Danish entrepreneurs may not come about.

Here are five advice that she thinks you ought to know when you follow your dream:

1. Attend meetings

There is free help to seek out. Talk to your municipality or your a-kasse as they might have some courses where you can get information and directions on how to do things.

“I attended meetings with both the municipality of Copenhagen and FTFa, my a-kasse. My experience was that at the municipality they were really good at explaining basic information, like, where to find things or seek out communities for entrepreneurs,” Gaby says.

“In the a-kasse they also guided me on the basics but the courses I went to were also very hands on. There was interaction between the participants as we made pitches and got feedback on our ideas. There was much more of a focus on my individual needs”.

Up until the course at FTFa, Gaby had only told friends of her business idea. They had supported and encouraged her but at the course, she found the importance of unbiased input.

“It was terrifying for me to set up my business but in my preparation, input from outsiders really helped me in making my planning even stronger. Where I started out confused about it all, my perspective broadened after the courses.”

2. Write down everything

“I came to experience that my head was always buzzing with ideas, questions or things I had to find out. This is why I would recommend everyone to write down his or her thoughts.

You will have a lot on your plate so by writing things down you can take the storm out of your head because you won’t have to spend your energy remembering all of your ideas or tasks.”

3. Ally yourself with a Danish-speaking friend

Throughout her five years of residence in Denmark, Gaby has been to Danish classes but not learnt the language fully. Also, what she was taught in Danish class, were not the words or sentences she needed in order to start a business.

So instead, she teamed up with a Danish friend who helped with both the language and other practical matters:

“I am lucky to have a Danish friend who has helped me immensely. Not only with translations but also with applying for a CVR number which was very difficult for me to fill out on my own. He has been a great support to me.”

4. Expect more work than you think

Starting up on your own takes quite a lot of work. This was not surprising to Gaby but she was still overwhelmed at the many different tasks she had to deal with.

“I don’t think that you will ever really be set to go. Even though I had made a lot of research, starting up my own business definitely was more stressing than I has expected. There were just so many things to get a hold on. From marketing, to checking out the prices of my products or sending invoices – the list went on.”

“I was working 24-7 when I was just starting the business, and being fortunate with my success, I soon had to employ other people as well.”

Gaby became a member of Danish Industry around that time because she found that they could help her out on legal business regarding contracts and so on.

5. Get to know the system

When becoming an entrepreneur, there are new systems that you have to know more about. The big one for Gaby was taxes.

“Taxes really terrified me so I got an accountant to make sure that I would not suffer any unwanted financial consequences.”

“Then there is the salary system which was surprisingly difficult to get my head around due to AM-contribution, vacation money, pension and so on. Salary was important for me to know seeing, as I needed to know how many expenses I would have when hiring a person.”

The CVR-registry is another system that Gaby had to learn more about. She was burned when she registered there, since she lost her rights to the vacation money she had saved up from her previous job. This is why her final advice is: “Always ask, even if you think you know the answer because it is so hard to figure out all the consequences.”

 

Gaby’s company Mies verden was launched in the spring of 2019. It is a cleaning company with specialized in green cleaning with as little impact on the environment as possible. Since then, Gaby has hired four staff.