Swedish trade chiefs seek business opportunities on North East visit

Swedish delegation

The strength of the North East’s thriving digital and tech sector will top the innovation agenda of Swedish investment specialists looking for new business opportunities this week.

Investment, regeneration and start-up experts from the Vastra Gotaland region of Sweden have a packed itinerary on 23 and 24 January meeting business leaders and organisations spearheading the North East’s bid to be one of Europe’s innovation hot spots.

Hans Moller – the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovation Director – is part of the delegation meeting the Scandinavian visitors.

The Swedish-born former director of one of the country’s leading innovation parks before joining the North East LEP – he is ideally placed to showcase the region and understand where business and partnership opportunities lie for both parties.

The delegation are also learning about opportunities in the North East’s key automotive sector, and how its growing economy and investor strategy offer the perfect platform for UK investment from Scandinavia.

The Swedish delegation comprises representatives from Region Vastra Gotaland, Tillvaxtverket (the Swedish agency for economic regeneration), Vastsvenska Handelskammaren (Swedish Chamber of Commerce), Europe Enterprise Network Swerea, Business Sweden (inward investment organisation), Almi (investor in high growth start-up businesses) and Exportkreditnamnden, the export credit advisory service.

North East business leaders Jen Hartley, Dynamo North East’s Head of Tech Sector Strategy, Herb Kim, CEO of Thinking Digital and Lyndsey Britton, CEO of the Ignite 100 growth accelerator, head the list of tech business leaders showcasing the region’s strengths to the Swedish delegation.

Region Vastra Gotaland is in western Sweden. With 1.5m inhabitants, its largest city is Gothenburg.

It has the largest port in Scandinavia and is recognised as the country’s leading region for industry and transportation.

Hans Moller said:

This visit from Sweden’s top industrial region is a great opportunity for the North East to showcase its strengths and lay the foundations for new business.

Sweden and the North East share a strong focus on innovation in the marketplace and I’m sure the delegation of regeneration and investment leaders will see the potential for future collaboration.

Olle Jonang, of Tillvaxtverket, said:

We are delighted to come to Newcastle and be welcomed with such an ambitious programme.

We are convinced we will have an interesting exchange of information and economic opportunities which we hope will be the start of future business partnering, co-operation and collaboration.

Caroline Theobald, North East Honorary Swedish Consul and Chair of International Newcastle, said:

This important fact-finding visit by Swedish business leaders and economic regeneration specialists should lay the ground for significant bi-lateral business opportunity, such as the example set by D3Associates’ partnership with Swedish company Capital Cooling.

“This visit builds on the successful culture-led ‘Creative Links’ partnership between our two regions and will prepare the ground for a business matchmaking visit later in the spring.

The delegation will learn from Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative about the NGI’s role in supporting inward investment.

North East Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive James Ramsbotham will tell the Scandinavian party why North East England is a great place to do business and the party will meet with Port of Tyne chief Andrew Moffat to learn about the port’s thriving business.

Paul Haverson, Director d3 Associates, will talk about partnership working in the development of sustainable energy and district heating systems while Dr Colin Herron, Chief Executive of Zero Carbon Futures, will talk about the North East’s hugely successful automotive sector.

The Swedish delegation is keen to exchange information and knowledge on economic opportunities, including opportunities for international trade between the two regions and to better understand the support that exists to do this.

The next step is for Swedish businesses from key sectors to come to the North East to explore export and partnering opportunities.