The first step: How to start a company?

Workshop greenerevents4 Julie Hrncirova
Image: Gorm K. Gaare/ Oslo Innovation Week workshop

Published by Oslo Business Region, 21 August 2020

Starting a company in Norway is easy. The regulatory setup is transparent and you can do everything online, from establishing the company structure to managing all the administration. You have your idea - we help you getting started in just a few steps:

Business plan

How will your business deliver value for itself while delivering the product or service to your customers?

Create a plan that covers what you want to achieve with the business and how - the concept, a definition of your market, target audience and competitors, how much money you need and how to get them, and details and timing of desired progress. This plan needs to be dynamic and frequently updated to stay relevant for your company in every stage.

Legal type of company

Decide between Aksjeselskap or Enkeltmannsforetak – the two most common ways of organising a business.

Aksjeselskap (AS) are privately owned limited liability companies, where individual shareholders have no personal liability for the company’s obligations to creditors. To start an aksjeselskap, you need a share capital of at least NOK 30 000, for investments or payments in the startup phase, and as security for the company’s creditors. Then the company is responsible, and you cannot loose more than the value that is in the company. You can hire yourself in as an AS, to get rights to holiday pay, sick pay and so on. More than half of the board of directors have to be Norwegian or EEA citizens.

An Enkeltmannsforetak is privately owned and run by one person, with normally no employees, and you do not need any capital. This means that the owner have a personal liability for the company’s obligations to creditors.

Legal registration

Register your business online at Altinn to get your enterprise number. Most businesses must be registered in the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities (Enhetsregisteret) and many also need to be registered in the Register of Business Enterprises (Foretaksregisteret). All the required documents have to be filled out in Norwegian.

Company address - office space

Make sure you have a Norwegian company address with a postal address, post number and city – a post box does not meet the requirements. Do you need help finding office space in Oslo? There are more than 50 professional hubs and spaces to choose from!

Share and protect

Don't be afraid to share your idea, but use common sense when determining who you can trust. If your idea needs to be protected you can do this through the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (Patentstyret). There are 3 main types of protection: Patent, Trade Mark and Design protection.

Secure funding

How will you finance the startup capital? And where will the funding come from? You need a clear, realistic idea of how much money it will take to get the business up and running and keep you going until you start making a profit.

Accounts and taxes

When you start making money - make sure you document all your incomes and costs in an approved accounting system and keep all tax deadlines set by the Norwegian Tax Administration.

Useful resources when starting a new business

Below you will find links to other organizations who have created tools and things to consider when starting up.