What is an enterprise foundation?

Enterprise foundations are foundations that own companies. Foundation ownership is particularly common in Denmark, whose largest companies – Novo Nordisk, A. P. Møller Maersk, Carlsberg, Danfoss, Grundfos, William Demant, Rambøll, COWI and many more – are owned in this way. The model is less common outside Denmark, but some of the world’s largest and most successful companies – IKEA, Bosch, Rolex,  Tata or the Swedish Wallenberg Sphere – are also foundation-owned.

Compared conventional family- or investor-owned companies, enterprise foundations are characterized by long time horizons, philanthropic goals and the absence of personal profit motives. Foundation-owned companies tend to be more stable and financially conservative. They invest more in R&D, and they treat their employees better.