To increase business cooperation and export between SMEs in Sweden and Norway
The project Border opportunities address border obstacles between Sweden and Norway. During the implementation the project identified that some of the obstacles where more of mental character than legal, physical or political.

The project decided to make a survey and analysis to identify and define what these mental border obstacles consist of between Norway and Sweden regarding business cooperation and suggest some recommendation for the further work.
50 business owners and cross border organisations in both countries were interviewed.
The findings made in this survey has contributed to a definition of mental border obstacles and more than 20 recommended activities to enhance the businesses between SMEs in Norway and Sweden.

Information about the report and the findings are shared with SMEs and their awareness about the differences and similarities between the countries have increased.

The main beneficiaries of this study are SMEs in Sweden and Norway, but also SMEs support system who has the role to facilitate businesses between the countries.

Resources needed

30000 euro for the research team

Evidence of success

The project experience more interest among SMEs to join the seminars on the theme “how to do business in Sweden/Norway” since the topic mental border obstacles was introduced into the program. If the export or business cooperation among SMEs between the countries has increased is too difficult to measure.

Potential for learning or transfer

Sweden and Norway might have a unique situation due to similar language, peaceful relations for more than 200 years. We share many similarities and we think we are very much the same in all aspects. So when business go to the other country they tend not to prepare themselves as they would have done going to China for business. But arriving in the other country the SMEs find that there are differences that you need to know about and prepare for. But when you are aware and have the knowledge about the differences you are better prepared to do business in the other country. We think that more knowledge about the neighbouring countries and regions could remove some of the “mental border obstacles” that could sometimes damper the business cooperation between countries. This survey and analysis is a suitable to be transfer to other regions that need more elaborated knowledge about the perceptions of the neighbouring country among SMEs and existing mental border obstacles.
Main institution
Hedmark County Council
Hedmark og Oppland, Norway (Norge)
Start Date
October 2017
End Date
May 2018


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Amaya Gurbindo

Government of Navarra