FAQ for Norway in English

What type of business (business format) can you set up in this country and what are the differences? 

In Norway the most common business formats are:

  • Sole proprietorships (Enkeltpersonforetak)
  • Private limited companies (Aksjeselskap AS)
  • General partnership (Ansvarlig selskap (ANS/DA))
  • Co-operatives (Samvirkeforetak (SA))
  • Foundations (Stiftelse)

Norwegian branch of a foreign company (Norsk avdeling av utenlansk foretak (NUF)).

More information
Here you find some more information about the most common business formats in Norway:

  • Sole proprietorships (Enkeltpersonforetak)
    A sole proprietorship is often the simplest way to set up a business if you are planning to start up a business on your own.
    This organisational form has some advantages, but also some disadvantages. It will give you a lot of freedom, but it could also entail considerable risk for you because you will be personally liable for your proprietorship’s finances.
    The key features of a sole proprietorship are as follows:

    • Unlimited personal liability (the more financial risk your enterprise takes on, the more you should consider choosing an organisational form with limited personal liability)
    • Owned by a natural person, i.e. you will run the business on your own account and at your own risk (corresponding starting point where spouses run a joint business together)
    • Owner cannot be an employee of their own sole proprietorship (But you can have employees).
    • Owner has inferior social security rights compared with employees.
    • Not a separate legal person.
    • Not very investor-friendly.
  • Private limited companies (Aksjeselskap AS)
    A private limited company may be an appropriate organisational form for you if you plan to start up a business on your own or together with other people, and the business entail commercial risk, and you want rights as an employee, and the opportunity for others to invest in your company.
    The key features of private limited companies:

    • Limited personal liability.
    • Rights as an employee.
    • Separate legal person.
    • Investor-friendly.
  • General partnership (Ansvarlig selskap (ANS/DA))
    You should consider establishing a general partnership if there are at least two people who want to start up their own business, and you work well with the person or people you want to set up a business with, and the business will entail few investments and little financial risk.
    The key features of general partnerships:

    • Unlimited personal liability. The business is carried out on the owners’ own account and at their own risk.
    • Owned by at least two people. (Natural and/or legal persons).
    • No requirement for invested capital.
    • Partners cannot be employees of the partnership. (But it is possible to have employees).
    • Partners have inferior social security rights compared with employees.
    • Not very investor-friendly
  • Co-operatives (Samvirkeforetak (SA))
    A co-operative may be the best organisational form for you if two or more people want to run their own business, or you are already an established business and want to work together in order to improve your products or services, and you need to carry out shared tasks.
    The key features of a co-operative:

    • No requirement for contributed capital, but the co-operative must have adequate equity.
    • User benefits and cooperation more important than return on capital.
    • Separate legal person.
    • Possible to be an employee.
    • The co-operative’s wealth belongs to the co-operative and not the owners.
    • Not very investor-friendly.
    • Surpluses are shared between the members according to their transactions with the co-operative.
    • Democratic – one member normally only has one vote.
    • Cannot be bought out by external parties
  • Foundations (Stiftelse)
    A foundation may be the most appropriate organisational form for you if you want to donate or give money to a particular non-profit, humanitarian, social or other purpose, and you want to transfer the rights to your assets to a foundation and its purpose.
  • Norwegian branch of a foreign company (Norsk avdeling av utenlansk foretak (NUF).
    Foreign companies wishing to carry on commercial activity in Norway either in the form of individual assignments or on a more permanent basis must have a Norwegian organisation number. In order to obtain a Norwegian organisation number, the enterprise must establish a branch of the foreign company in Norway or alternatively separate Norwegian company.

As soon as you have registered a business name with organization number, this name cannot be used by others. Business names are unique in Norway. Logos, domain names, etc. must be registered in addition to the business name.