In the picture: Ms. Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Minister of Justice, Ms. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation, Mr. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic affairs.
The Government of Iceland just announced that non-EEA (European Economic Area which means all other countries) citizens can bring their work to Iceland for 6 months. This is a major announcement and something a lot of people in Iceland have been asking for since before the pandemic. I am really excited about this announcement as it opens the door for anyone, anywhere in the world to come and work from Iceland.
Coming to my tribe, which is the tribe of founders and those who are helping founders, this broadly includes investors and other stake holders as described by Brad Feld in his book Startup Communities. The mission of Startup Iceland has always been to build a vibrant startup community and this new announcement by the Government is probably one of the best things that could have happened. There are founders all over the world and they are building ground breaking technologies and companies, I believe a cohort of those founders would want to come and build their companies from Iceland. This enables those founders to try Iceland as a destination.
I have been fortunate to have seen this trend over a decade back and I have been lobbying anyone and everyone who would listen. I am happy to see a number of people worked on it and now this is a reality. In a number of conversations that I have had over the last decade of working with founders and being an investor in Iceland, a lot of Icelanders have asked me, do we have the talent or people to build great companies? My answer has always been YES! if we are able to encourage founders to work on hard and interesting problems then it is inevitable that they will build great companies. I am not saying that this path is easy, all I am saying is that it is simple. The foundation of my investment thesis when I started as an investor in Iceland was that.
If you are founder working on a hard problem using technology reading this then Iceland is now open to you.
We need to shape our export industry, based on ingenuity and by making it easier for foreign nationals to work from Iceland, we add value, knowledge and connections in Iceland that support our innovation environment.Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation