Starting a business in Iceland

This guide aims to outline what your options are and how to identify, find and navigate the relevant information from the various different authorities you will need to deal with when starting your new business. It gives some basic guidance on business planning for startups, financial and legal requirements, and some useful resources to help you start your business.

Funding and grants

Innovation Center Iceland is an important link in the support environment for innovation in Iceland. Specialists at Innovation Center Iceland can mentor entrepreneurs and small businesses on possible routes for financing at the first stages of implementation of their business ideas.  Innovation Center Iceland oversees allocations from several funds, in addition to possessing detailed information on other funding sources.  

Examples of some possibilities within Iceland:

  • Action for Job Creation: Grants to innovation projects and marketing activities of entrepreneurial and innovation start-up businesses, which could receive further funding from funds and investors.
  • Enterprise Investment Fund: Grants to businesses operatingin regional Iceland for development of services or products, either for the domestic market or for export.
  • Support to entrepreneurs: Grants to individuals and SMEsin regional Icelandfor implementation of innovative ideas.
  • Power to work: Collaborative project between Innovation Center Iceland and the Labour Directorate which makes it easier for businesses to hire job-seekers. Participation is open to to businesses and individuals with operations throughout the country.

Specialists at Innovation Center Iceland possess a wealth of information on Nordic and European grants. Please conntact Enterprise Europe Network for further information at

European support and network:

  • Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) EU (2007-2013): Main EU tool for financing research in Europe. Individuals, businesses, universities, research institutions and various other organizations in Iceland can participate in the 7th Framework Programme for Research.
  • EUROSTARS: Support to research and development projects that are developing new products, processes or services in any technology sphere. Further information is available from Snaebjorn Kristjansson at Innovation Center Iceland on tel. 522 9372 /
  • CIP – Competitiveness and Innovation Programme EU (2007-2013): Programme intended for SMEs. CIP consists of three operational programmes: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), Information Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP), and Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE).
  • EUREKA: Intergovernmental partnership of 39 European countries and the EU on technical and industrial development. Contact Snaebjorn Kristjansson at Innovation Center Iceland for further information, on tel. 522 9372 /
  • COST: Intergovernmental cooperation of 35 COST countries, consisting of network cooperation in the domain of scientific and technological research. More information is available from Katrin Valgeirsdottir at Rannís, or tel. 515 5800.
  • EC homepage on funding possibilities for SMEs:  Information on where different types of SMEs can apply for support.

All further information is available from the Information Officer at Enterprise Europe Network at Innovation Center Iceland

Starting a business


When a decision has been made to begin an operation, many things must be kept in mind. The better the preparatory work done on the idea, the greater the possibility of achieving success. Thus, it is essential to work thoroughly with the idea before venturing out into the actual business. One needs to look into what sort of legal structure is best suited to the idea and what licences are needed for the business to begin.

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