Regional business policy

The Danish government, the Danish Board of Business Development and the regional and local parties in Denmark share the task of creating the best foundation possible for growth and business development all over the country. The initiatives of the government are often aimed at improving the overall framework for the growth conditions of companies, while the efforts of the Board and the decentral operators focus on the special challenges and possibilities of each region or local area.

  • Opdateret 7. februar 2024

In order to obtain the best possible effect of the joint efforts, it is important that the various parties agree on the direction of the initiatives for business development and growth. This calls for special attention on specific business strengths and growth potentials, both relating to exports and in the creation of jobs within Denmark.

The Danish Board of Business Development is responsible for the decentralised initiatives for growth and development including a joint strategy for the decentralised business promotion in all of Denmark.

Denmark is scheduled to receive approx. DKK 3,3 billion divided between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), and the Just Transition Fund (JTF) during the period 2021-2027.

This is the result of the multi-annual agreement covering the EU budget and the approval of the fund regulations. 

Anticipated allocation of funds under the national programmes

The ERDF is receiving approx. DKK 1,8 billion, the main objective of the ERDF is to develop and prepare small and medium-sized enterprises which play an important role in creating growth and jobs in Denmark. In addition, the ERDF invests in digital solutions which drive enterprises’ digital transition, and physical infrastructure that can strengthen sustainable local development. 

The ERDF programme “Strong enterprises through innovation, digitalization and green transition” focuses on seven objectives and goals:

  • Promote circular economy
  • Strengthen the enterprises’ innovation capacity and development of new solutions
  • Strengthen enterprises’ competitiveness
  • Develop a welfare technology position of strength
  • Promote sustainable development of living city centres in small and medium-sized cities
  • Attract private investments through tourism infrastructure development
  • Drive the digital transformation of the enterprises

The ESF+ is receiving approx. DKK 891 million and strives to ensure that the enterprises have access to qualified labour, and that the individual person has the demanded skills and is well qualified. ESF+ must ensure that employees, students and the unemployed have the right competences and skills to support the enterprises’ transition to a greener and more digital future.

The ESF+ programme “A stronger Denmark through education and skills” focuses on seven objectives and goals: 

  • Get more people to take vocational training or higher education
  • Raise the competences of the workforce through targeted and flexible continuing education
  • Promote entrepreneurship
  • Retain and include citizens in the labour market
  • Ensure that young people have skills that prepare them for the future
  • Support equal access to education
  • Promote the social integration of citizens who are homeless or at risk of homelessness

The JTF is receiving approx. DKK 636 million and is targeting North and South Jutland. The fund will play a central role in Denmark’s transition to a climate-neutral economy. JTF will, among other things, invest in projects with a potential to ensure the development of CO2 capture and storage and hydrogen-related technologies, including Power-to-X.

The JTF programme “Green Technologies and Skills for a Just Transition” focuses on five objectives and goals: 

  • Create a coherent Denmark with strong local business lighthouses
  • Ensure better conditions for a green transition in Danish SMEs
  • Support the development of brown biorefining such as pyrolysis
  • Ensure the development of CO2 capture, storage, and hydrogen-related technologies
  • Promote green and circular technologies

Abridged programme versions

If you are looking for a quick overview of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund Plus you can read the abridged versions below, where the main focus is on the programmes' efforts and activities.

Please note, that you still need to know the full programmes when you apply for funding.

Denmark is scheduled to receive approx. DKK 3 billion divided between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) during the period 2014-2020 (current prices).

This is the result of the multi-annual contract covering the EU budget and the approval of the fund regulations.

Anticipated allocation of funds under the national programmes

The funds under the national programmes are implemented in order to support growth and employment across Denmark e.g. through innovation, entrepreneurship, green growth initiatives, education, and job creation.  

In 2014-2020, five percent of ERDF will be used for sustainable urban development of cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, while ESF – through the EURES measure – will contribute to increase mobility on the labour market. 

Furthermore, the funding within each programme has been limited to a number of priorities.

The ERDF programme, ”Innovative and Sustainable Enterprise Growth”, focuses on four objectives and goals:

  • Increase the number of innovative SMEs
  • Increase the number of high-growth enterprises
  • Improve the efficient use of energy and resources by SMEs
  • Reduce energy consumption and increase the number of innovative SMEs in urban areas with a population of more than 30,000

The ESF Programme,”Growth via Education, Training and Entrepreneurship”, aims at improving the competences of the work force. The programme focuses on four investment priorities and goals:

  • Increase the number of self-employed, the survival rate and the employment in ESF-supported enterprises
  • Increase transnational labour mobility
  • Increase the employment rate of individuals in the margin of the labour market
  • Increase the number of individuals with vocational training or tertiary education

A decentralised effort for business growth and development will ensure a more focused effort, e.g. by concentrating on the needs of the enterprises and the regional differences in order to increase business growth and development in all of Denmark The Board has the task of ensuring that the decentralised business initiatives are coherent across different sectors - state and municipalities.

The establishment of the Danish Board of Business Development is part of an effort to simplify the services available for business. This simplification focuses on four main areas:

  • High quality and availability in the business service provided. Business Development Centres have been established across municipalities along with a digital platform for the promotion of trade.
  • One coherent decentralised business promotion. The Board takes over the responsibility from the Regional Growth fora, and the efforts regarding clusters are strengthened.
  • Simplification of the business promotion on state level. The initiatives in the area of knowledge-based entrepreneurship are strengthened.
  • Stronger tourist destinations and better coherence within the efforts of tourism.

The Danish Board of Business Development will contribute to making Denmark on of the most competitive countries in the world. All parts of the country must be prepared for global competition.

The Board will hold meetings approx. six times a year and will have a secretariat in the Danish Business Authority.

The establishment and remedies of the Danish Board of Business Development appears from the Danish ”Business Promotion Act”, passed on December 13th, 2018.

You can read more about the Danish Board of Business Development including current initiatives as well as information about the specific composition of the board on the website

Cross-border Programmes

The cross-border and transnational measures consist of several programmes also supporting growth-oriented cooperation between Denmark and its neighbouring countries.
The cross-border measures aim at promoting an integrated, regional development between border regions in at least two countries.
The programmes focus on:

  • Innovation
  • Research and Development
  • Green economy, e.g. the transfer to low a emissioneconomy
  • Climate changes and risk management
  • Environment and resource efficiency
  • Job creation, e.g. the support of labour mobility

Cross-border cooperation is organized in the programmes:

  • Interreg Deutchland-Danmark – a Danish-German programme
  • Interreg Øresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak – a Danish-Swedish-Norwegian programme
  • Interreg South Baltic Programme – a cooperation between Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden

Transnational Programmes

The transnational cooperation programmes cover large transnational areas. Denmark participates in two programmes, both focusing on innovation, research and development, climate and environment:

  • The Baltic Sea Region Programme – covering all countries by the Baltic Sea
  • The North Sea Programme – covering countries by the North Sea

Furthermore, four interregional cooperation programmes aim to improving the efficiency of the regional policies by promoting cooperation between regions across the whole union.

EU fundings boost the development of Danish entrepreneurs and SMEs

Every year, Danish entrepreneurs and SMEs receive EU support to boost their development. Meet five of them here.

Meet five entrepreneurs and SMEs who have received support from EU for business- or competency development in 2014-2020.

REACT-EU helps Danish entrepreneurs on their way

Supported by REACT-EU, IværksætterDanmark helps Danish entrepreneurs throughout the country with networking and sparring.

Meet four entrepreneurs here who have all participated in a course in IværksætterDanmark, the commercial houses' nationwide entrepreneurial project, which REACT-EU has just supported with DKK 60 mio.

Companies and the EU Regional Development Fund make Denmark greener

The EU Regional Development Fund in 2014-2020 invests in green transition in Danish companies. In seven short videos, we put the spotlight on some of the companies that have received funding to develop and restructure their business in a green and sustainable direction – for the benefit of both the bottom line and the climate.

Our short videos offer an insight into the difference that funding from the EU Regional Development fund has made for several Danish companies in the various business hub areas.

The European Structural Funds – How is the money spent?

The European Structural Funds consists of the Regional Development Fund and the Social Fund. From 2014-2020, The Regional Development Fund and the Social Fund have a total of 3 billion DKK from EU combined, which goes to e.g. innovation, entrepreneurship, green economy and education in Denmark.

In this campaign, you can see some examples of how the money is spent for the benefit of people all over the country. 

The campaign is centred around six videos which explain the purpose of the European Structural Funds and also illustrate how the money is spent in various parts of Denmark.