Small-medium businesses driving job growth in Gothenburg

Life science

Gothenburg’s business environment has become more robust as small and medium-sized enterprises have grown strongly and become an increasingly important driver of the region's economy. During 2021, employment in the region increased by 3 per cent, with all of the growth coming from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), shows a new report from Business Region Göteborg.

The report, Företagande 2022, shows that Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group remain the Gothenburg region and Sweden’s largest private employers. Both are also big exporters, and this has a large impact on the economy in West Sweden.  

The Gothenburg region is export intensive and has 4,900 export companies. An effect is that Gothenburg is the only metropolitan region in Sweden that is a net exporter. The value of exports from the Gothenburg region was SEK 54 billion more than the value of the region’s imports.

“We have many companies here which are exceptional at refining inputs, which creates great value added for the region. They ensured that our exports grew and that the Gothenburg region, with its positive trade balance, was the biggest contributor to Sweden's GDP growth in 2021,” says Peter Warda, senior analyst at Business Region Göteborg.

The business environment is becoming more diversified

Since 2003, the 100 largest companies’ portion of the total employment in the Gothenburg region has fallen from 23 to 19 per cent. Meanwhile, SMEs with up to 250 employees have become increasingly important for the region’s economy and employment. In total, SMEs employ 233,000 people in the region, and account for 43% of the total employment.

“With more growing small and medium sized companies, the region gets a better balance. This has a lot of value. The region becomes more robust during economic downturns, and structurally the risk for crises is reduced,” says Andreas Göthberg, director of business development services at Business Region Göteborg. 

The report also shows that 92 per cent of Sweden’s industries are represented in the region. The region’s total value-added was SEK 603 billion, of which SMEs account for 51 per cent.   

“SMEs in the region contributed SEK 308 billion to the region's value-added during 2021. The biggest contributors were the business services sector, followed by the commerce, construction and property sectors,” says Peter Warda. 

SMEs also accounted for SEK 448 billion in turnover, around a third of the region’s total during 2020.

The report also shows that the number of newly started companies has also increased. 8,777 companies were started in the region during 2021, which is 7 per cent more than in the previous year. Worth noting is the strong increase of new companies within programming and information services, where 109 companies were started, 24 per cent more than in 2020. 


Read Företagande 2022, only available in Swedish. For more insight into Gothenburg's business environment, visit the Insights section of this website. Here you can access our reports and publications in English, our GIS planning tool (Explore Gothenburg) and much more. 


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