Nordic Capital backing Superentrepreneur Research

Europe’s entrepreneurial equality paradox


The 2022 Superentrepreneurs Index is published by the European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform (“ECEPR”) in collaboration with European private equity firm Nordic Capital. 

The superentrepreneurs project is about studying high-end entrepreneurship and focuses on the close to 2 500 individuals in the world who have built up billion-dollar fortunes, by creating new companies or growing small businesses into large successful ventures. The point is to measure the tip of the iceberg; by looking at superentrepreneurs, we can understand which countries are more conducive to free enterprise in general.

Klas Tikkanen, Chief Operating Officer for Nordic Capital explains “There is a strong link between high-end entrepreneurship and job growth. Countries that have high levels of superentrepreneurs per capita, also have lower unemployment. Higher level of entrepreneurship is linked to lower unemployment amongst all groups, and those who benefit most are the broad middle class.”

The top 10 ranking of countries with the most superentrepreneurs per capita includes Switzerland and Cyprus on top, as well as Sweden, Ireland, and the UK. Yet while half of the top 10 list is made up of European countries, Europe is lagging considerably behind. The reason is that large European countries such as France, Spain, Italy, and even Germany are largely relying on old economic structures—and have a deficit of superentrepreneurs. While the eastern European economies are growing, and largely embracing free market policies, they lack both the size and research and development investments, to give rise to more than a few high-impact entrepreneurs.

“High-end entrepreneurship is important for creating the jobs of the future, something that is needed throughout the world in a time when many old jobs become obsolete,” says Nima Sanandaji, president of European Centre for Entrepreneurship and Policy Reform (ECEPR).

Internationally there is a strong link between unemployment and the share of superentrepreneurs. Each superentrepreneur more per million adult inhabitant, is linked to 0.9 percentage points lower unemployment in total – and 1.1 percentage points lower unemployment for the middle class.

“By focusing on the superentrepreneurs we measure the tip of the iceberg”, explains Kristoffer Melinder, Managing Partner at Nordic Capital. “For jobs and the technologies of the future to grow, countries need to stimulate entrepreneurship so that more companies can grow, which in turn would create more superentrepreneurs.”.

Countries that have many superentrepreneurs per capita are those that have strong property rights, lower taxes on profits and capital gains, where it is easy to do business, and where pupils have good grades in the international school study PISA. It is a combination of knowledge and a good business climate which is needed, to stimulate high-end entrepreneurship. The United States has the highest concentration of superentrepreneurs, amongst the big countries in the world, followed by Canada, Russia, and Oceania. China has the same concentration of superentrepreneurs as does Europe. In Asia except for China, South America, and Africa, the concentration of superentrepreneurs is currently much lower – while the potential for future growth is strong.

For more information, contact Nima Sanandaji at

Link to the full report