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Green start-up finance – where do particular challenges lie?

Linda Bergset (Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Issue publication date: 19 March 2018




The purpose of this paper is to shed some new light on the entrepreneurial finance of green start-ups, for which there has been little quantitative empirical evidence thus far. It explores what challenges green start-ups might experience when it comes to financial access.


The paper includes a survey of start-ups in Finland, Germany and Sweden and the separate evaluation of the “greenness” of participating companies’ product/service portfolios based on Eurostat’s Environmental Goods and Service Sector classification. A logistic regression is carried out for different company phases for two measures of challenges (“difficulty accessing finance” and “rejection by investor/funder”).


Green start-ups as an overall group cannot be said to have more challenges in access to finance. Particularly, a lack in business education and a high level of innovativeness, however, seem to be lead to more challenges for green start-ups in accessing finance compared to other start-ups.

Research limitations/implications

Further research might seek to identify which exact characteristics of innovative green start-ups lead to challenges in financial access, i.e. is it individual factors such as high risk levels, high investment sums, long development periods or a low return prospect – or is it rather a combination? It might, furthermore, be rewarding to investigate whether “interventions” of business-related training might reduce challenges.

Social implications

Suggestions are made for improved policy support to sustainable entrepreneurship in the case of green start-ups.


This research paper provides quantitative empirical analysis in a new research area, which has previously been predominantly theory based with some anecdotal observations as well as some early qualitative research.



This paper forms part of a special section: advancing sustainable entrepreneurship through substantive research.


Bergset, L. (2018), "Green start-up finance – where do particular challenges lie?", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 451-575.



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