THE SWEDISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOR THE UK
BUILDSAFE AND ALEXANDER & BJÃ–RCK
On running a business in the UK MEET PETER BURMAN President of EF Education First Corporate Solutions THE WAY TO A NEW STRATEGY Sofia Radomska turned around Oriflame UK in five years ISSUE 346 - JUNE 2019
The LINK ABOUT
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom is the ultimate business platform for Swedish and UK businesses. We help businesses establish, grow and develop, through our wide range of business services, matchmaking, events and programmes. We represent some 400 businesses, from start-ups, to SMEs, unicorns and large multinational corporations, from across all sectors and industries. Founded in 1906 - by business and for business - we have connected the Swedish-British business community for over a century. Join us today, if you haven’t already.
S C C PAT R O N S
IN THE LINK 75 YEARS AGO
THE LINK ISSUE 346
“The news of the Allied landing on the Continent was hailed in the Swedish press as a message that the final decision in the European war is now drawing near,” were the initial words of the June 1944 issue of ‘The AngloSwedish Review’ (predecessor of the Link). On 6 June, 75 years ago, 156,000 allied troops invaded France, a day referred to ever since as ‘D-Day’. On the same day, Swedes in London gathered to commemorate the Swedish National Day. Visiting the event for a short address, H.R.H Prince Bertil of Sweden reminded the audience that they must feel “grateful that their people and country have been spared by the horrors of war.”
Editors: Jonas Eklund, Erik Helldén and Linnéa Lindgren Cover photo: Renz Andres
NOT A MEMBER YET? Visit www.scc.org.uk or contact the Secretariat on +44 (0)20 7224 8001 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The LINK THE CHAMBER
Dear Members, The other day, I was glancing through old Link magazines* and accidentally dove into over a century of history. From the First World War, to the second, through the Cold War, financial crisis, financial boom, you name it… the Chamber has seen through it all. We celebrated our 112th Annual General Meeting at the RAC on 5 June. We thought it only fitting to celebrate at a historic London venue. Not only did we celebrate over a century of providing value, but also the end to a successful year of finding new ways of being relevant to businesses. By business, for business – is a motto we live by each day. Whether it’s boosting our business service offering, providing more meaningful intimate meeting forums or developing relevant training courses, we are ready to help business establish, grow and develop. As I am writing this, the United Kingdom is in a midst of a Conservative leadership battle, and by default a fight for the Prime Minister post. Brexit build-up got to a stand-still as Theresa May extended Article 50 until 31 October, and the Tory leadership battle is very much underpinned by the candidates’ views of Brexit, and their respective exit plans. The European Parliamentary elections in May was a historic blow to the Conservatives, whilst a roaring success for the Brexit Party and the typically pro-remain parties (Liberal Democrats and the Green Party e.g.). Whomever is elected will have a challenge on their hands, as the Tories are very unlikely to change the Parliamentary mathematics through a general elections. The Chamber will continue with its Brexit events again in the autumn. Defiant of Brexit turbulence, the Chamber hosted its first London Bootcamp during Tech Week in June, and welcomed some 25 Swedish tech businesses looking to set up, expand to or grow in the UK. The four-day pro-
gramme brought together experts from across sectors, and entrepreneurs and start-ups who have recently taken the journey to share their experiences. The bootcamp, hosted in partnership with the Swedish Agency for Economic Growth – culminated in the annual Tech Forum on 13 June at Google HQ. The forum successfully brought together 200+ delegates from across tech, investment and larger corporates. It is a unique collaboration, and we are already looking ahead to next year’s event. June also saw the first celebration of the Young Professionals’ 25th jubilee. The group hosted a popular summer party by the canals in Paddington. The Young Professionals (YP) were formed to provide both a professional and social network for Swedes and Brits alike, helping those new in the city to quickly gain a network and a foothold. Since then, it has become a role model network exported not only to other Swedish Chambers in the world, but also other foreign Chambers in the UK. The celebrations continue this autumn, and if you haven’t gotten yourself – or indeed your young professional team members – involved yet, make sure to do so. The YP has been successfully managed by our scholars this year, and we bid farewell to André, Linnéa and Nathalie this month, as we welcome four new scholars to the team: Anna, Henrik, Madeleine and Sara.
Spotify and SSAB to the patronship, and the following new members in this isuee: Andjaro, Chainvine, Crossborder Isle of Man, Gull & Stellan Ljungberg’s Foundation, Hogan Lovells International, Morison KSi, Novicell UK, PHEDA Group, RINA UK and Veg of Lund. *Rather, Link has had different names through the years, and for a long time they were called ‘The Anglo-Swedish Review’, but since the late 1970s, its been just the Link.
We have also welcomed a new Events and Programmes Manager, Carina Dios Falk, who joins us from Stockholm to take over the reigns from Anna Ericsson. Carina has extensive events experience, not the least from events in the UK, and we welcome her whole-heartedly to the growing team. Lastly, the network is growing at an equal pace, and we are thrilled to welcome both
Peter Sandberg, Managing Director Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK email@example.com
ANDRÉ VIKTORSSON EVENTS & PROGRAMMES SCHOLAR
ANNA CRONA BUSINESS SERVICE MANAGER
CARINA DIOS FALK EVENTS & PROGRAMMES MANAGER
ERIK HELLDÉN MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS INTERN
JONAS EKLUND MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
LINNÉA LINDGREN MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS SCHOLAR
LOVISA LINDKVIST MEMBERSHIP & COMMUNITY INTERN
NATHALIE THIEL MEMBERSHIP & COMMUNITY SCHOLAR
PETER MCNAMEE FINANCIAL CONTROLLER
PETER SANDBERG MANAGING DIRECTOR
SOFIA LARSEN MEMBERSHIP & COMMUNITY MANAGER
SOFIA ROSENBLAD EVENTS & PROGRAMMES INTERN
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OUR WAY OF THINKING PROTECTS YOUR WAY OF LIFE Saab is a global defence and security company, present on all five continents. We are global and international, but remain rooted in Swedish values of trust, reliability, innovation and loyalty. Saab has been active in the UK for over 40 years, delivering advanced defence and security solutions to British Armed Forces and the Emergency Services. This strong relationship has not only im proved British defence capabilities, but has also strengthened both Swedish and UK economies, whilst keeping our people and society safe. www.saab.com/uk
CONTENTS THE LINK • ISSUE 346 • JUNE 2019
05 In conversation Lena Björck and Dag Wirdenius on running a business in the UK
08 The way to a new strategy How Sofia Radomska turned around Oriflame UK in just five years
13 Patrons highlight Trends, sustainability & challenges in the property industry
37 Meet Peter Burman New member of the SCC Council
Meet the new scholars
Ett hem: No place like home
Guest columnist, Mattia Bianchi
Trendspotting with Barreca Tibblin
Often described as a ‘home away from home’, Ett Hem, located in central Stockholm, is no ordinary hotel.
Mattia Bianchi, professor at Stockholm School of Economics, on innovation performance in organisations.
We talked to Interior Designers Emilie Barreca and Maria Tibblin, about current trends in the world of interior design.
At the beginning of June we welcomed our four new scholars to the Chamber; Sara, Henrik, Madeleine and Anna.
The LINK IN CONVERSATION
IN CONVERSATION WITH LENA BJÖRCK & DAG WIRDENIUS
‘In conversation’ is a feature series – and podcast – where we pair up two seemingly different SCC members to explore what unites them. This time we brought together Lena Björck, Managing Director of Alexander & Björck and Dag Wirdenius, Head of Expansion at BuildSafe, to discuss business culture and what it’s like to run a business in the UK. BY: JONAS EKLUND
Lena: I’ve been in London for 23 years all together. I’ve started two different businesses doing the same thing, but 23 years ago when I started the first company, it was very basic. I had no money, I couldn’t cook and I had no computer. I had literally nothing to make this business successful. After building a reputation for 18 years, I sold the company and started a new company doing the same thing. This time with more experience and track record but also with investors. So, it’s quite interesting to compare the differences. Dag: Who are normally your clients? Lena: I do event catering, at the very top end. I said this morning that it’s seven years ago that I catered for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Luncheon for all of the Heads of State for the Commonwealth. Dag: The first thing I thought when I read your bio was “I wonder if she has ever served the Queen”.
The podcast The conversation goes on beyond what you can read in the Link. Listen in on the whole conversation between Lena and Dag at scc.org.uk/ focus/in-conversation-episode-2
Lena: I’ve worked with a lot of high profiles. Kings, queens, presidents. In my first business, when I only had it up and running for about a year and I literally couldn’t cook, I won the contract to cater for Bill Clinton when he came to London. He had a press conference in 1996, before Tony Blair was Prime Minister, and I was asked to pitch for this job. I didn’t have a computer at the time, so I had to fax a hand-written proposal to the White House. And I won the job. Dag: So, have you always done high-end? Is that something that came naturally for you? Lena: It came naturally. When I first started this catering business I worked as a breakfast supervisor. I had no education really. When I came here, I thought that service was appalling. I didn’t think that people in the service industry really liked serving people. There’s still an element of that, but 23 years ago, that is what made me want to start a business. I thought that surely, I can do this better. But I didn’t have a pound in my pocket, I didn’t have a car to deliver my food in and really didn’t know anyone in London, and I couldn’t cook. I actually started by delivering food on the tube because I couldn’t afford to take a taxi.
Dag: I’ve been here in London for three years, I work with BuildSafe, a collaboration platform for construction projects. Some people say it’s a Snapchat for health and safety on a construction site. We’ve created an app and a digital platform, but only for large sites, not if you’re renovating your house for example. Lena: So, Skanska and these companies? Dag: Yes, Skanska is actually one of our main clients. In Sweden, they use BuildSafe on every single site. In a project you have a developer, you have a main contractor and different sub-contractors and all of them are working in parallel. They are normally in charge of their own health and safety inspections. There can be 50 to 200 inspections a month, that are done by different people, by different companies, all being sent to the main contractor in different formats: excels, spread sheets, pen and paper, and different apps. It’s a nightmare. So, the main contractor has project or site managers compiling these reports and trying to analyse what exactly is going on at the site, because you need to have metrics. We put a fish net around the whole project organisation and say: “If everyone starts communicating through one platform, then you will be able to see exactly what is going on at the site”. We want to capture risks before they become a danger for all the workers. The whole idea is to increase efficiency and productivity, by closing out risks and to make it safer. Key factors to success Dag: So how did you grow your business, when you got your first clients? What was the key factor to your success?
The LINK IN CONVERSATION
Lena Björck and Dag Wirdenius in Gloucester Place Mews, London. Photo: Renz Andres.
Lena: Personal relationships, without the shadow of a doubt. When I decided to start this business, I came to the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. It sounds like I’m plugging the Chamber. But I remember I had no money and that the membership was like £230, but I was convinced by the team that this is the best money that I’ve ever spent. I had to work extra for weeks in restaurants to make the money to pay for it. But ultimately, without the Swedish Chamber of Commerce I probably wouldn’t have been able to start this business. Because, I then contacted all the Swedish companies, Swedbank and Handelsbanken were the first two. I literally wrote to the PA of the Managing Director. I was completely honest and said I was starting this company and I have no references, please just try me. Which they did, and my first event was a breakfast for four people at Swedbank. I had to deliver the food on the tube. Dag: Do you remember what you served? Lena: Yes, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. It was super basic. What I did was, I always targeted the top man in the companies. And it wasn’t about my food, because I couldn’t cook. But I was so enthusiastic, and I was so keen on service and making sure that everyone was happy. I had that front-end of the service level. So actually, the main product didn’t really matter. The prime example is the Bill Clinton event. I received a letter after this event from the White House saying this was the best food the White House has ever had on a foreign trip. Now, that set a stamp for the future growth of the company and I realised that people are not buying a product, you are not just buying a service - you buy an
experience and that going beyond in terms of service, that is what has set us apart from our competitors. It’s really by word-of-mouth recommendations that we’ve grown. On business culture Dag: We talked a little bit about culture earlier. If you look at the Swedish mentality, we are very transparent, honest and polite, but we are still very frank. If I don’t want to do something, I say no. We find it very annoying that you can go into a sales meeting here and they say that they are 99.9% sure that we will start using this within a week, but then you never hear from them again. That means basically that they are not interested at all, but that they are just being polite. Lena: But also, the person you are talking to might be 99% sure, but then they’re passing it back to someone else who has a completely different interest. That is one of the first questions I ask when I go into a sales meeting - what is your decision-making process? And who is the person you are pitching to? Dag: The first person we normally reach out to is in health and safety. It’s very easy for us to get that first meeting with them, but they are normally not the budget holders and that’s the tricky part. The problem is that when we go to health and safety they are always very keen, but they are seen as a cost in the company. We also need to involve the construction directors or the managing directors for smaller companies. So, we go very high up. Rounding up Dag: Take-aways from the conversation for me is that you can use Swedish culture to
sell, no matter what you are selling. Lena is in events, I’m in construction. We’re both using the Swedish culture of transparency, openness and being friendly. I’m proud of being Swedish, and I love that you can use it in the UK. And also, here in the UK, personal relationships are very important. I live in a digital world, with digital people and we’re all for online meetings to reduce travelling, for the environment and just for efficiency. But here it doesn’t work. You need to have that personal relationship with people and that’s how you’ve built your business, Lena. You’ve met people and they have spread the word. Lena: I agree with everything you say. Also, the B word. Everyone is a bit worried about what’s going to happen in London. Are companies relocating or whatever? I feel that we have so many opportunities in London to build amazing businesses, to utilise the skills and backbone of the upbringings we have from Sweden to show that we are better. Dag: Has Brexit affected you at all? Lena: I started the new company three and a half years ago when the climate should have been the worst for luxury events. It’s all in your head I think. I have never opened a newspaper in the morning and said: ”Oh my god, it’s all doom and gloom”, actually I don’t read it. Because I must go in and motivate and build dynamic teams. If you listen to all the doom and gloom, you become negative. You just need to look on the bright side. I can’t affect what is going on at the moment, I just need to go in and win business. Dag: I love that, just be positive. Always works.
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THE WAY TO A NEW STRATEGY HOW SOFIA RADOMSKA TURNED AROUND ORIFLAME UK IN JUST FIVE YEARS BY: ERIK HELLDÉN
Sofia Radomska, Managing Director of Oriflame UK. Photo: Oriflame UK.
When Sofia Radomska was appointed Managing Director of Oriflame UK in 2014, it was a critical time for the business. During the decade leading up to her appointment, the Swedish cosmetics company’s UK branch had experienced significant challenges and faced an uncertain future. Changing their main selling tool had created confusion and disappointment on the lower level of their beauty consultants which represented a big portion of their sales figures. To overcome the many challenges, a new strategy was needed. The Link met with Sofia to discuss the challenges they faced, what they did to overcome them and how they managed to turn around the development of Oriflame UK in just five years. Regaining the trust of the sales force Due to the many years of decline, Oriflame’s beauty consultants were lacking trust, energy and loyalty towards the company. It was crucial to have them on board, so regaining their trust became Sofia’s first task. Sofia and her team knew that they were stepping into a sinking boat, but that they could be able to save it - if they did it together. Sofia says: “I often refer to a rowing boat. When one person stops rowing, then the whole boat gets heavier and it becomes an unfair strain to the rest of the team who have to row harder.” A lot of sacrifices had to be made - cost savings, longer work days, hard work - but they were necessary in order to turn the business around. “I think it is much easier to start a new company than to turn-around a mature, declining one. People don’t like changes, they’re uncomfortable – but it is a great challenge to lead people through the changes and see how things turn better”, says Sofia. Recognising every milestone on Oriflame’s journey was extremely important, and they celebrated every small sales increase and every small progress together. They have also introduced a much stronger business opportunity for their beauty
consultants by making changes to their renumeration plan, hoping that people will be more interested in joining Oriflame and explore what they are offering. Rebranding Oriflame as a modern company Given the company’s old roots, another task was rebranding Oriflame as a modern company in order to increase sales. “We often hear ‘my Grandmother used to sell Oriflame’. But we’re not the same as we were fifty years ago. This perception is ours to challenge,” says Sofia. They invested heavily in brand building and PR, adapted more to modern trends and continued to innovate their products - all with the aim of changing people’s lives for the better. Investing in PR and branding has helped them to not only spread awareness about their products but also to showcase the business opportunities that Oriflame offers, which is done by sharing real success stories from people working with Oriflame across the UK.
“People don’t like changes, they are uncomfortable – but it is a great challenge to lead people through the change and see how things turn better.” Investing in digital tools reduced costs and increased productivity Oriflame UK is part of Oriflame’s Global Digital Innovation Lab where new tools have been developed to help produce better conversion rates to the first order, better retention and higher productivity. By investing in strong, industry-leading digital tools they were able to completely stop all production of local print material apart from their core selling tool, the Oriflame catalogue, which significantly reduced costs, increased engagement with
the beauty consultants and served their large focus on sustainability. To stay competitive, she says, digital tools must help your sales force work smarter - speed and efficiency is everything. “Now, we are known to be among the top players offering the best digital tools in the industry.” Turning the boat around The biggest challenge was, and still is, competition. Britain is the main gateway to Europe for all American direct selling companies. Establishing a business in the UK is easy, and newcomers frequently enter the market with excitement and big promises. This pushes Oriflame to stay competitive. But by transforming the business, the performance for Oriflame UK has now started to improve. Celebrating 50 years in 2020, they are hosting a jubilee with 4,000 people invited to the ceremony. When asked what she has learned during her time as Managing Director, Sofia says: “With the right strategy, clear goals, the right people and hard work, you can turn around the business even under the most challenging circumstances”.
About Oriflame Founded in Stockholm in 1967 by Jonas and Robert af Jochnick, and their friend, Bengt Hellsten. The first product range initially consisted of skin creams, lipstick and mascara – all skin care products were based on herb and plant extracts from Sweden. Oriflame was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1982. Oriflame is present in over 60 markets with over 3 million independent Beauty Consultants.
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PREPARING BUSINESSES FOR FUTURE GROWTH In partnership with SUP46, the SCC launches a new mentorship programme aimed at allowing start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs to prepare for future growth by pairing them with experienced London-based venture capital and private equity investors. BY: ERIK HELLDÉN Growth Readiness is a brand new mentorship programme, hosted in partnership with SUP46. It allows start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs to prepare and develop their businesses for future growth by pairing them with experienced London-based venture capital and private equity investors. The Link spoke to Programme Director Katarina Sallerfors about what participants can expect from the programme. The Growth Readiness Programme offers a combination of workshops, presentations, matchmaking, mentorship and wider access to a powerful network of Swedish-British investment and tech professionals. It includes four evening meet-ups over the course of one year in London. Facilitated by Katarina, the meet-ups address topics of relevance in preparing the businesses for high growth, from how to get all ducks in a row and what investors will be looking for. “The meet-ups bring together all the participants in the programme to network, discuss key business topics and ways forward, and to help them develop practical skills, tools and knowledge to bring their business to the next level. In addition to the joint meet-ups, mentor and mentee develop closer relationships between the sessions,” says Katarina.
firms on reputation management and strategic communications, particularly around corporate positioning, financial transactions and crisis situations. She is a Director at Greenbrook Communications and before that she worked for The Carlyle Group, as an Associate Vice President in their EMEA External Affairs team. She hopes to draw from her extensive experience to create a programme that is thoughtprovoking and stimulating and contributes to fruitful conversations between mentors and mentees. “I hope that the programme offers an exciting opportunity to help build a supportive network between the next generation of Swedish businesses and the London-based investor community.” For more information about the programme and how to apply, please contact Business Service Manager Anna Crona, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sessions, which will also offer an opportunity to network and for mentors and mentees to better get to know each other, will focus on: Initial discovery: company pitches and Q&A Attributes of a successful business: practical tips and case study examples Achieving growth: roundtable discussion on overcoming hurdles, suitable funding solutions and how to work in partnership Attaining international growth: how to succeed and lessons learnt Throughout the course of the programme and between the four in-person meetings, mentors and mentees are expected to stay in touch and to work together on identified areas for improvement. Katarina has more than a decade of experience advising financial services and investment
Katarina Sallerfors, Growth Readiness Programme Director.
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Preparing for a year at the Chamber – welcome to our newest team members
I have recently graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics with a BSc in Business and Economics, specialising in Marketing and Management. Moreover, my studies in Psychology and Journalism have created a versatile comprehension of communication. My passionate interest in languages and cultures has resulted in numerous experiences abroad. In consequence, I aim for an international career with focus on international business relations, which makes the Chamber an inspiring and ideal learning platform. Furthermore, the dynamic, social and rapid professional environment will enable me to prosper greatly. In conclusion, I cannot imagine any better place to commence my professional journey. My enthusiasm and gratitude for joining the SCC goes beyond measures. The approximating year will not only be a great adventure, but most importantly an invaluable experience for my future ambitions. I look forward to developing both personally and professionally while contributing to and creating value for the organisation and its members.
Sara Apéria (Handelsbanken UK Scholar), Henrik Barkman (Gull & Stellan Ljungberg’s Foundation Scholar), Madeleine Hjalber (Sten A Olsson’s Foundation Scholar) and Anna Dahlqvist Thuresson (Swedish Youth Abroad Scholar). To learn more about the scholarships, visit www.scc.org.uk. Photo: Renz Andres.
Anna Dahlqvist Thuresson
In my opinion, the scholarship at the SCC is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Upon finishing my studies, I felt more ready than ever to start a new chapter of my life. I have always wanted to live and work abroad in a vibrant, dynamic and challenging environment. Luckily, my application was successful.
I have always thrived through social interactions and learning about people, business and ideas. Combined with my passion for international business, it has brought me to seek international experiences, including an exchange semester in Canada. When reading about this opportunity, I was confident that it would be an invaluable learning experience and the perfect next step in my career.
When I was 17 years old, I attended the Swedish School in London and upon leaving I was determined to come back. It took me eight years and a lot of different routes and finally, I am back. I believe that the time at the SCC will challenge me in several ways and provide me with a solid foundation to grow.
I have studied a BSc in Business Administration at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg and a MSc in International Business at University West. Alongside my Master studies, I also worked for the communication department of the university. I am originally from Trollhättan and enjoy running, listening to music and spending time with my friends and family.
I look forward to meeting a lot of new inspiring people, being part of an ambitious and hardworking team as well as contributing to the success of the Chamber. In addition, I want to learn more about how companies in different industries are affected by increased globalisation.
I have recently pursued a BSc in Business Administration with an international orientation at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. I recently graduated with not only a diploma, but also with experiences in student ambassadorship, events coordination, business relations and financial advisory.
I cannot wait to take on my new role and contribute to the SCC’s valuable work for the Swedish-British business relation. I am especially looking forward to meeting all of the SCC’s members. Not to mention, I am eager to experience the British culture and to work in such an inspiring city as London.
I have completed a BSc in Business Administration at Lund University, where I also was engaged in multiple student associations. My professional background is within the hospitality sector and last year I worked in New York as an Event Management Intern for The Hunger Project. I am beyond excited to arrange, coordinate and execute events on behalf of the Chamber.
My ambition is to contribute to great and valuable events at the SCC. Creating value is not an easy task. However, I am certain that I will receive great support from my fellow colleagues and that all the hard work will result in something grand. In addition, I am excited to meet all the members of the Chamber as well as to connect with like-minded people in an international environment.
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Donâ€™t just hope for a better future. Plan for one. What does the future look like for you and your loved ones? We are all about helping you achieve your aspirations, and we acknowledge that everyone has a unique set of challenges. That is why we are genuinely committed to understanding you and your ambitions for the future. To find out what we can do for you, contact Helena Whitmore or Daniel Wikehult on +44 (0) 20 7246 4225 or email@example.com
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB sebgroup.com/privatebanking
This publication is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute a financial promotion. Our London contacts are available to introduce you to the Private Banking network in SEB, but Private Banking services such as asset management are not provided from the UK and therefore any contractual relationship will be with the SEB entity actually providing such services. Please be aware that the value of investments can go down as well as up. Past performance is not necessarily a reliable indicator of future performance. Future returns are not guaranteed and a loss of principal may occur.
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ETT HEM: NO PLACE LIKE HOME BY: JONAS EKLUND
Ett Hem in Stockholm. Photo: Magnus Mårding.
Ett Hem is no ordinary hotel. Often described as a ‘home away from home’, this residential house, transformed into a hotel in central Stockholm, has in short time attracted international guests and interest from magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Decoration and Monocle. The Link spoke with SCC member and hotel owner Jeanette Mix about her passions and driving forces, and about the secrets to her success. Ett Hem is Swedish for ‘a home’ and that is exactly the atmosphere Jeanette wanted to create for her hotel: “This is a home. We only have twelve rooms and we make sure that all guests are seen and taken care of. The guests see when we tend the garden, or rearrange flowers. They join us in the kitchen and the children help us when baking. This creates intimacy and conversations, and an experience you can’t have at a larger hotel.” The idea was born Jeanette recalls that it was by mere coincidence she ended up in the hospitality industry. In her early years, she started working for two restaurant owners in Falkenberg on the Swedish west coast who were passionate about their craft and taught Jeanette everything they knew. This is also when her passion for food and wine was ignited. “I studied natural sciences but decided to change direction and instead, started to
study at the culinary and hospitality school in Switzerland and at Cordon Bleu in London. Looking back, I never thought I would be where I am today. I met my husband and life took me to Stockholm. When renovating our home, the idea of converting a similar house in the neighbourhood into a hotel was born.” Inspiration from Carl Larsson Ett Hem is originally a private residence built in 1910, situated in a residential area in central Stockholm. Jeanette recounts: “The original owners of the house were friends with Swedish painter Carl Larsson, whom I happen to have a great fondness for. In fact, this is where we got the name for the hotel. Ett Hem was also the name of his own home.” A personal and genuine experience It wasn’t before long Jeanette brought the renowned interior designer Ilse Crawford into the project, which turned out to be a perfect match: “When I started working with Ilse, she immediately understood my vision and what I wanted Ett Hem to be,” Jeanette explains. “I wanted to create a personal and genuine experience, which is something that I’m looking for when I’m travelling myself. Ett Hem is not a luxury hotel in that sense. Instead it’s the quality of the estate and the materials, such as the wall panels, marble window sills and the parquet flooring that set the tone of the experience. Ilse helped me to realise my vision and she took it one step further than I would have dared myself.”
Trust your gut feeling When asked about the reasons behind her success, Jeanette replies: “A good idea starts with a gut feeling, it has to come from within. Also, what has been truly important for me is that we have always sticked to our concept and vision. We are not trying to cater to everyone’s needs, instead we stick to what we are good at. You have to be meticulous in everything you do. We are constantly improving different aspects of the hotel, but we do it carefully and in a thought-out manner, as I believe there are no quick-fixes. Lastly, this is a team effort. I have a very skilful staff and I am nothing without them. This is a journey we are on together.”
Jeanette Mix, CEO and owner of Ett Hem.
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LONDON LEADS THE WAY Fredrik Widlund, CEO of CLS Holdings on challenges and opportunities in the property industry BY: LINNÉA LINDGREN
One of CLS Holdings’ properties in London. Great West House, Brentford. Photos: CLS Holdings.
SCC patron CLS Holdings is a property investment company active in the UK, Germany and France specialising in owning and managing office buildings. The company was founded by Sten Mörtstedt and remains a majority familycontrolled business that has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1994. The Link met with Fredrik Widlund, who has been the CEO of CLS Holdings since 2014, to talk about his career, the business and important trends in the UK market.
According to him, the expression ‘bricks and mortar’ is very telling as to why it is so fantastic to work with properties. “You can really see and touch what you do, and it is great to meet all the different occupiers in our buildings.” He continues: “We have close to 700 tenants in our properties from many different industries: government, large multi-nationals, charities, small to medium-sized family businesses and tech start-ups. I also very much enjoy the international aspect of working across different countries and cultures.”
Fredrik Widlund grew up in Stockholm where he studied Business and Economics at Stockholm University. After finishing his studies, Fredrik joined Shell in Sweden, and after a few years the company offered him a move to London to work on strategy for its UK portfolio. Fredrik later joined GE Capital where he held various international roles in financial services and real estate for the following 15 years, before being appointed CEO of CLS Holdings in 2014.
Focus on geographic diversity and local teams “Our objective is geographical diversity, so that we are never overexposed to one market,” says Fredrik. In 2016, CLS’s last property in Sweden was sold and in 2017 it exited a large development site in London, Vauxhall Square, and redeployed the capital in Germany through a portfolio acquisition. “This means that today we are active in the largest cities in the UK, Germany and France.”
“What attracted me to CLS was the opportunity to run a listed company with operations in several countries while maintaining an entrepreneurial culture. Our company is listed on the main market in London and is a member of the FTSE 250 index. Many of our property peers are domestically focused so CLS is pretty unique in its exposure to more than just the UK,” says Fredrik.
CLS has its head office in Vauxhall, London, and regional offices in Hamburg and Paris. According to Fredrik, one of its key strengths is that it has its own local teams in all countries in which it is active. He points out that CLS does not particularly believe in outsourcing and thinks that customers like to meet and do business with the owners of the property and not an agent.
Economic growth, accessibility and affordability When speaking about what areas to invest in, Fredrik says that CLS focuses on larger cities which offer strong economic growth prospects as this drives employment and ultimately the demand for offices. “In the UK this means Greater London, which is a very deep market representing a quarter of the entire UK commercial property sector. In Germany we are in the main cities such as Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf, and in France we are active in Paris, Lyon and Lille.” A primary consideration for all of CLS’s tenants is accessibility, so one key factor is to ensure that its properties are located close to good public transportation links. Another key factor is affordability. “Our properties are located close to major cities, but outside of central business districts, so our rents are affordable,” says Fredrik. One of the largest and most liquid markets in the world In the UK market, CLS is focusing on Greater London and the South East with over 90% of the UK portfolio by value in these areas. Some of the locations where you can find CLS properties are Vauxhall, Hammersmith, Croydon, Harrow, Uxbridge and Brentford. “Real estate is a hugely important ‘base’ industry, employing over a million people and contributing over £60 billion to the UK economy every year,” says Fredrik. In
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essence the UK market is one of the largest and most liquid in the world. “London, especially, is an international city that offers a fantastic environment for people and employers. We are also very encouraged by the infrastructure spending in major public transport such as Crossrail One, and potentially Crossrail Two, and other large infrastructure projects like the Thames Tideway.” He elaborates: “The UK market has always attracted both international and domestic investors. The nationality of the foreign buyers might have changed over the years, but with the very transparent legal system which makes it easy to buy and sell properties, the English language and the connections to the rest of the world, it is a very dynamic and healthy market.” Trends in the UK market Regarding the future of the UK market, Fredrik says that Greater London, like many large cities, is suffering from a lack of housing stock. Something that he does not see changing in the foreseeable future. “With our focus outside of the very centre of London, we have seen reduced competition as many older buildings have been converted from offices into residential dwellings resulting in a reduction in the supply of offices.” For residential, he highlights that home ownership has traditionally been a priority in the UK, but there is now an emergence of a larger, professional rental sector which is more similar to that in Sweden or in Germany. In the office market the biggest trend has been the growth of flexible working and rapid expansion of serviced office operators. This has meant that leases are generally shorter than in the past and tenants are looking for flexibility. “London has always been in the forefront of trends. This started with open plan offices and more recently, we have seen a focus on collaborative areas. While the office culture is different across each of our regions, our European teams benefit from each other’s knowledge when it comes to emerging trends in development, refurbishment and sustainability, and London is in many areas leading the way.” A working environment that attracts and retains the right employees must be on top of the agenda for companies. “Offices
today have much more focus on wellbeing, collaboration, amenity spaces and areas like terraces and hubs. It is also very rare today not to offer shower facilities and plenty of bicycle storage in any office development,” says Fredrik. Sustainability - critical for all occupiers Another critical factor for most tenants is sustainability and CLS strives to make this an integral part of their day-to-day business while cultivating a better environment for all of their stakeholders. Fredrik highlights that a large portion of their tenants want to understand the energy efficiency of a building and the approach to recycling. In order to meet this need, CLS factors in the levels of energy consumption and how sustainable all of their properties are in the long term. “We see the creation of sustainable space as an important USP rather than a box which we need to tick. We are proud of our Swedish legacy and sustainability is one of the areas where Sweden is at the forefront and to which we look for innovation and best practice. This has meant for example installing ground source heating for new office developments in London to reduce reliance on traditional gas boilers and testing the popularity of electric charging points at a number of our properties,” says Fredrik.
“We are proud of our Swedish legacy and sustainability is one of the areas where Sweden is at the forefront and to which we look for innovation and best practice.” Challenges ahead When it comes to the challenges ahead, Fredrik emphasises that the property market is cyclical in nature and we are likely to be at the latter stages of the current cycle. “This has an impact on prices and financing arrangements. Our response is to ensure we are diversified, both geographically but also with a large spread of different occupiers.” He also says that like any company active in the UK, CLS has seen customers postponing or delaying decisions due to the uncertainty that the Brexit process has
Fredrik Widlund, CEO of CLS Holdings.
created. However, he is confident that the diverse income from the portfolio will be resilient. “A diversified, well-let property portfolio creates stable cash flows and that is attractive to investors. We will continue to ensure that we have the best properties in our locations that continue to attract high-quality occupiers.” He also states that since investors take different views on the long-term prospects of Brexit, CLS has seen some opportunities to acquire attractive properties. “It is also important to look past the headlines and to try to take a more fundamental, longer-term view on a market with 65 million people and the fifth largest economy in the world.”
The patronship The SCC patronship consists of a core group of SCC member businesses committed to supporting the Swedish-British business community. The patronship comes with a range of added benefits - if you would like to know more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Time Is Now For Swedish Fashion In The UK There has been an influx of Swedish fashion and retail businesses entering the UK over recent years, many with the support of Goodwille. When you walk down Regent Street in London you’ll pass one Swedish clothing store after another. During a time when many retail and fashion businesses struggle to remain on the high street, the opposite seems to be true for brands with Swedish roots. So, what is it about Swedish fashion that the Brits love so much?
Swedish Style - effortless, but with a lot of effort Classifying typically Swedish design would most likely result in a list of words ranging from ‘boring’ to ‘stylish’, ‘timeless’ and ‘classy’. The palette is inspired by nature; neutral tones and colours, black, white and fifty shades of grey. And whether it’s talking about the weather, or painting their living rooms, Brits just love grey. Swedish fashion leaves nothing to chance. The sophisticated and simplistic style might come across as effortless, but there is a lot of effort put into it.
Sustainability Sustainability is not just a trendy add-on anymore – it’s inherent in most, if not all, of Scandinavian brands nowadays. Swedish fashion brings together the environmental and sustainable awareness with a well thoughtthrough and conscious design, which is exactly what the UK consumer desires. With Britain’s desire to live a little more Scandi, and a little more sustainably, building on your Swedish heritage gives you the best opportunity to succeed on the UK market.
Brand Sweden Swedish brands have a great chance at international success simply because of the Swedish origin and the powerful reputation of
brand Sweden. Swedish brands are associated with quality, good design and simplicity – all offered at an attractive price. Sweden doesn’t boast many luxury brands; Swedish fashion is affordable luxury that appeals to a broader audience.
No place like London With Swedish brands like Newbie, A Day’s March and Mini Rodini opening stores in London in recent years, it’s inevitable to feel that there is opportunity for more Swedish fashion stores to succeed on the UK market, even in a time when the British high street is at a crossroads. If your fashion brand can make it in London, it’s a seal of approval that your brand is interesting and can make it anywhere in the world. The world has London on its retina. And the Brits have their eyes on Scandinavia. If you want your brand to gain international exposure then London is the place to be, and now is a better time than ever. The UK has a strong interest in Swedish brands and riding on the Scandi-trend can take you further, sooner. In a world where the high street is struggling, Swedish businesses have all the opportunity to capitalise on UK success.
Johanna Bjarsch Follin. Marketing Executive at Goodwille. Photo: Goodwille.
Goodwille has been supporting Swedish retail and fashion businesses in the UK over the past 20 years, supporting the likes of Acne, Daniel Wellington & Lindex. To find out more about how we can support your expansion to the UK, please contact email@example.com
The LINK FEATURE As CEO of easyJet, what will be your focus moving forward? I am focused on many things, including our key areas of strategic focus like our new holidays company, how to encourage even more loyalty from our 90 million customers, and our focus on data, as I want easyJet to become the most data driven airline in the world. But equally climate change is an issue I think everyone in the industry will have to tackle. In the short-term we are focused on being as efficient as we can by having modern and fuel-efficient planes, by flying them in ways which reduce noise and by flying them full of passengers. But in the longterm I don’t believe this will be enough. Aviation will have to reinvent itself, and in my view move to electric and hybrid planes powered by renewable energy which we are working on with industry partners.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet. Photo: easyJet.
Q&A with Johan Lundgren Johan, you have extensive experience from the travel industry. As the CEO of easyJet, what is your view of the future of the industry? I believe this is a fantastic and dynamic industry. However, European aviation remains quite fragmented so I believe more consolidation will happen. The airlines with the strongest business models will do well and the weak will continue to struggle to compete, or even disappear.
easyJet flies more than 90 million passengers to more than 34 countries - how has easyJet managed to keep growing? easyJet has a well-established business model that provides a strong foundation to drive profitable growth and long-term, sustainable shareholder returns. We are able to attract more passengers who are increasingly loyal to us due to our great value fares that we are famous for. We also have an unrivalled European network and schedule which means that we can fly people where they want to fly at times they want to fly, and all with fantastic prices and the warmest welcome in the sky.
All these things help to reduce carbon emissions. People have a choice in how they travel, and many more people are now thinking about the potential carbon impact of different types of transport. If people choose to fly, we want to be one of the best choices they can make. We’ve reduced our carbon emissions by over 32% since 2000 and our aim is to continue bringing the number down further. With over 30 years’ experience in the travel industry, Johan Lundgren joined easyJet on 1 December 2017 as Chief Executive Officer. On 7 May we had the exclusive opportunity to meet him for an interactive discussion, chaired by Nik Gowing, at restaurant Aquavit in Central London.
No signs of Brexit in Manchester Chapter Chairwoman Annette Borén on Brexit and the opportunities in Manchester There is a strong construction boom in Manchester. Wherever I drive in the city centre there is a crane, no matter what window I look out from in our head office in Trafford Park, I see several cranes. My Chapter, Manchester, is known as the highest-ranked British city after London. Manchester is successfully maintaining the status of a metropolitan borough and city, and there are no signs of Brexit. Greater Manchester is the second largest urban area with a population of 2.55 million, 350 000 students and 4.6 billion in total construction value going on right now. Manchester has clearly established itself as one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. Construction output in the North West is ten times the national average. With creative, media and
tech occupiers leading the major office deals, there’s also a growing diversity in Manchester’s job market. This is set to impact positively on tourism this year and will no doubt cement Manchester’s position as a location of choice for global businesses. There is also a £1 billion investment to transform Manchester Airport into a world class operation with significant enhancements to current facilities and major improvements to customer experience. Looking ahead, new direct services between Manchester Airport, and, among others, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, and Mumbai, are an indicator of this city’s growing international connectivity. In addition, a total of nine new hotels are under construction: four of these schemes are within the city core, the rest just outside the core. Again, I see no signs of Brexit.
Annette Borén, Head of Finance, Hilti. WORDS: ANNETTE BORÉN.
The Northern Chapter of the SCC is located in Manchester and opened in the 1990s. The Chapter is one of four alongside the Humber, Midlands and Northeastern Chapters. Annette Borén, Head of Finance at Hilti, was appointed the Chapter’s Chairwoman in 2016.
IT TAKES COURAGE TO TAKE ON A CHALLENGE EVEN WHEN IT COMES FOR FREE Together with The Carl SilfvÃ©n Foundation, Stockholm School of Economics is proud to present a scholarship, giving you the opportunity to earn an Executive MBA in Stockholm, Sweden. Covering the entire tuition and additional expenses. All you need is courage. Read more and apply at www.hhs.se/scholarship Deadline August 31
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DESIGN THINKING: WHAT’S THE REAL DEAL? MATTIA BIANCHI, PROFESSOR AT THE STOCKHOLM SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS ON INNOVATION PERFORMANCE IN ORGANISATIONS
These days Design Thinking is on everyone’s lips. As with almost any new management concept, there is an element of fashion in its popularity. However, my belief is that, once we remove the ‘mumbo-jumbo’ around it that helps selling consulting projects, there are novel, solid principles in Design Thinking that can significantly enhance the innovative performance of organisations. Let’s be clear: Design Thinking is not about deciding about the shape or style of a product, its look and feel. It’s about using the mindset and the toolkit that is typical of designers, to solve business problems in a creative, yet efficient way. According to Tim Brown, former CEO of the global design firm Ideo, we all need to think like designers if we are to deal with the massive changes that are characteristic of our time. What’s so special about the thinking and doing of designers? What can managers learn from them? Designers empathise with the users putting themselves in the shoes of the people they are trying to innovate for. IKEA and Electrolux, for example, regularly send their R&D staff to observe how customers use their products and to unearth needs, pains and aspirations that customers might not be aware of and that can be addressed by their next generation products. Designers visualise, prototype and test ideas as soon as possible, searching for intelligent failures, situations when tests go against expectations and because of that, create valuable knowledge to steer the development project in new directions. But their most important trait, in my opinion, is that they try to ‘innovate the problem’, rather than (or before) its solution. They follow Einstein’s advice (If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and only 5 minutes finding the solution), unlike the rest of us who
take the problem as given, rush into creating new stuff and might produce however brilliant answers but to the wrong question. Designers instead challenge the initial, often superficial problem formulation and spend extensive time and energy to understand the true essence of the issue. They use methods like analogical thinking and job-to-be-done analysis, to frame and reframe the problem, seeing it from different angles and achieving a deep, unconventional problem understanding that leads to equally unconventional and unexpected solution possibilities. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was working on innovating its smoking cessation offering. They started the project with a medical framing of the problem: ”how might we help smokers overcome their chemical addiction to nicotine?” After studying smokers’ behaviours and motivations, they realised that young smokers do not think of their habit as a medical issue, but they see it as a temporary lifestyle choice. This insight suggested a new, social-oriented framing of the problem (“how might we help them choose an alternative lifestyle?”) that in turn led to solutions like coaching and personal support programmes. These solutions, which had nothing to do with enhancing the chemical composition of Chantix, Pfizer’s prescription medication to quit smoking, created a new growth platform for the pharmaceutical company (1). Indeed, finding an innovative problem worth solving can unlock enormous value. Think about Uber: its innovativeness is not so much in the solution (moving people from A to B, as traditional taxis do) but in the problem being addressed (the underutilisation of cars by private citizens). According to our ”Design Thinking for Business” research, based on the insights from almost 300 Design Thinkers around the world, companies are starting to practice
problem reframing extensively (the 2019 report can be freely downloaded at www. dt4b.polimi.it). However, how to successfully do it remains an interesting area of research which I am currently investigating. Stay tuned! (1) Liedtka, J., & Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing for growth: A design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press.
Mattia Bianchi, Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics. Photo: Juliana Wiklund.
Mattia Bianchi is a Professor of Business Administration at the Stockholm School of Economics, which he joined in 2010 from Italy. He is also formerly programme director of the SSE Master of Science in Business & Management. He has a Ph.D. in Management Engineering from Politecnico di Milano. His main research interests are in the field of innovation management, new product development, entrepreneurship and operations management. SCC member Stockholm School of Economics is one of Europe’s leading business schools, with a unique business-community network. For more than a century, SSE has educated talented women and men for leading positions within the business community and the public sector. SSE offers BSc, MSc and MBA programs, along with highly regarded PhD- and Executive Education programmes.
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MENTORSHIP MEET-UP 14 MAY The mentors and mentees of the SCC’s Mentorship Programme met at Norton Rose Fulbright for a presentation by their Global Head of Business and a workshop on ‘The Future of Work’ led by Dr Aarti Anhal.
Gabrielle Törnberg (Kindred Group plc)
Norton Rose Fulbright
Isabelle Lloyd-Pugh (Goodwille Ltd) and Axel Gustafsson (European Bank of Reconstructions and Development)
Tomas Gärdfors (Norton Rose Fulbright)
Maj-Britt Krejcir (SEB London) and Charlotta Rames (Morgan Stanley)
Birgitta Albåge Gough-Cooper (Lazard)
Charlotta Rames (Morgan Stanley) and Caroline Moor Larsson (Dolon Ltd)
Johanna Forseke (Greater Than) and Birgitta Albåge Gough-Cooper (Lazard)
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MEET JOHAN LUNDGREN 7 MAY We invited the network to Aquavit London to meet Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, to discuss the challenges in the airline industry and why easyJet remains one of Europeâ€™s leading airlines. The discussion was moderated by Nik Gowing, Director of Thinking the Unthinkable and former main news presenter for BBC World News. Johan Lundgren (easyJet) and Nik Gowing (Thinking the Unthinkable)
Jim McPartlin and Sofia Radomska (Oriflame UK)
Sina Saidinayer (Fidel)
Nik Gowing (Thinking the Unthinkable)
Anna Ericsson (SCC) and Nik Gowing (Thinking the Unthinkable)
Johan Lundgren (easyJet) and Peter Sandberg (SCC)
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INDUSTRIAL FORUM WITH HÉLÈNE BARNEKOW 15 MAY Members of the Swedish-British business community gathered at the Swedish Ambassador’s Residence for our bi-annual Industrial Forum. The guest of honour of the evening was Hélène Barnekow, CEO of Microsoft Sweden, who spoke about digital transformation creating new opportunities, the most impactful trends within the tech industry and the importance of culture within organisations. Jan Olsson (Deutsche Bank) and Hélène Barnekow (Microsoft Sweden)
Sir Roger Gifford (SEB), H.E. Torbjörn Sohlström (Swedish Ambassador to the UK) and Magnus Damberg (SEB)
Jan Olsson (Deutsche Bank), Hélène Barnekow (Microsoft Sweden), H.E. Torbjörn Sohlström (Swedish Ambassador to the UK) and Peter Sandberg (SCC)
Hélène Barnekow (Microsoft Sweden) presenting
Kristian Terling (HSBC)
Annica White (Embassy of Sweden), Jonas Eklund (SCC) and Therése Treutiger (Microsoft Sweden)
Trevor Warmington (Rawlinson & Hunter) and Kevin Connors (Nordea)
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BUSINESS BREAKFASTS 25 APRIL - 21 MAY The Chamber’s Business Breakfasts bring together distinguished speakers with tailored and differently composed groups of professionals for intimate roundtable discussions. The breakfasts recently featured Lisa Poole, Director of Public and Regulatory Affairs UK at Vattenfall, Andrew Mitchell, H.M. Trade Commissioner for Europe and Michael Sheren, Senior Advisor, Bank of England. Magnus Damberg (SEB) and Andrew Mitchell (H.M. Trade Commissioner for Europe)
Magnus Damberg (SEB) and Ashley Hayward (Kinnarps)
Magnus Lewis-Olsson (Saab)
Business Breakfast with Michael Sheren (Bank of England)
Jonathan Finney (Openreach), Kevin Connors (Nordea) and Therese Lindé (Elekta)
Lisa Poole (Vattenfall UK) and Chris Philipsborn (Kreab)
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LINK UP DRINKS AT BYREDO 21 MAY Our second Link Up Drinks of the year took place at SCC member Byredo UK’s flagship store in Soho. The event brought together people from the SCC’s network for an evening of champagne, canapés and networking opportunities. As is customary with the Link Up Drinks, new members of the Chamber introduced themselves to the network. Elin Hammenfors (Quinyx), Astrid Trolle Adams (LOGOS) and Alexander Holm (BKL)
Edward Chessman (Peltarion)
Fred Beatson-Hird, Johan Aurén (Accountum) and Emma Blackmore
Byredo UK’s flagship store in Soho
Gus Sinclair (Moore Stephens US Tax Services Ltd)
Anousheh Abuhamzeh and David Sundström (Jurek Recruitment & Consulting)
Dennis Twumasi (Novicell)
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112TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 5 JUNE On June 5, members were welcomed to the 112th Annual General Meeting at the Royal Automobile Club. During the meeting, Chairman Jan Olsson bid farewell to our longest serving Council member of 20 years and former Chairwoman, Dr Béatrice Engström-Bondy. At the meeting, Peter Burman, President of EF Education First Corporate Solutions, was elected to the Council. Kristian Terling (HSBC) and Peter Sandberg (SCC)
The Royal Automobile Club
Astrid Maria Dahl (AstraZeneca), Suzanne Bolinder (Consido), Kerstin Mogull (Tate) and Geraldine Elliot (RPC)
Hans Otterling (Northzone) and Kristian Terling (HSBC)
Lars Olsson (Stena Line)
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Business Breakfast feat. Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business
5 Sep | SEB London, 1 Carter Lane, London SCC member price: £25 Non-member price: £50 Rajesh Agrawal is the Deputy Mayor of London for Business. Rajesh will speak and open up for a discussion around the plans for London post-Brexit. The discussions will be chaired by Maj-Britt Krejcir, CFO and Deputy UK Country Head of SEB.
Annual Crayfish Dinner 2019 6 Sep | Borealis, 180 Borough High St, London SCC member price: £79 Non-member price: £237 The crayfish season, marking the end of summer, is one of the most popular cultural celebrations in Sweden where people gather to eat, drink and have fun. The SCC’s Annual Crayfish Dinner promises traditional Swedish festivities with great food and drinking songs, ‘snapsvisor’. This event is the perfect way to entertain clients, colleagues and friends and to enjoy a typically Swedish celebration.
Business Breakfast on the UK’s Industrial Strategy with the Department for International Trade
17 Sep | Venue: TBC SCC member price: TBC Non-member price: TBC Save the date for a roundtable discussion on the UK’s Industrial Strategy with the Department for International Trade.
Link Up Drinks with Home Grown 17 Sep | Home Grown, 44 Great Cumberland Place, London SCC member price: FREE Non-member price: £45 Welcome back after the summer to our September Link Up Drinks, hosted by SCC member Home Grown; a stylish members club for high-growth entrepreneurs and investors, located in the heart of Marylebone. Home Grown offers space for like-minded people to network, entertain and grow in beautiful surroundings.
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5 Dec | The Ham Yard Hotel 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London SCC member price: £90 Non-member price: £270
Business Breakfast feat. Kristina Lindhe, CEO and Creative Director, the Lexington Company
25 Sep | DNB Bank,The Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, London SCC member price: £25 Non-member price: £50 Kristina Lindhe is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of the Lexington Company, a global lifestyle brand represented in over 20 countries with a wide range of home and apparel products in its portfolio. Join this roundtable discussion and hear about her journey, and how it links with export, leadership, digitalisation, and her take on what traditional brands need to think of now.
The yearly Swedish-British Summit: Outer Thinking, brings together business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and academics from both Sweden and the United Kingdom, to address the greater issues, trends and opportunities uniting and facing us. This year we will think big and exchange ideas around ‘21st century leadership’. Speakers include but are not limited to: Hélène Barnekow, CEO, Microsoft Sweden; Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO, Saab AB; Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, MP and Leader of the Liberal Democrats; Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade.
Annual Christmas Luncheon The Landmark
6 Dec | The Landmark , 222 Marylebone Road, London SCC member individual price: £169 Member company table of 12: £2,900 Non-member individual price: £507 Non-member company table of 12: £8,700
Life Science Forum 2019 14 Nov | Deutsche Bank, 1 Great Winchester Street, London SCC member price: £45 Non-member price: £135
Join 500+ guests for a festive afternoon to celebrate a tradition dating back over a century, at the SCC’s Annual Christmas Luncheon. The occasion brings together the elite of the Swedish-British business community and is the highlight of the season.
Biology and technology are becoming more closely intertwined, with opportunities emerging to improve healthcare through innovative digital technologies and dramatically impacting on the health and wellness of people. The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK is proud to welcome you to our Life Science Forum to discuss the development and future of healthcare and pharmaceuticals. This event is kindly hosted by member company Deutsche Bank and sponsored by member company AstraZeneca, global science-led biopharmaceutical business.
Book a package and attend both events Fee: £239 (SCC members-only) Book your package on our website: www.scc.org.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BUILDING SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS Alex Haddon and Suzanne Bolinder tell us how they met through the Chamber and how they still collaborate 10 years later. BY: ERIK HELLDÉN
Alex Haddon (IC Design) and Suzanne Bolinder (Consido). Photos: SCC.
Suzanne Bolinder joined the Chamber with her business Consido in 1999, offering specialist relocation services to foreigners looking for residential property in London’s top postcodes. Alex Haddon joined slightly earlier in 1998, on the recommendation of her father, having just set up IC Design – a branding and design agency. “I knew I needed to build lasting business relationships rather than focus on temporary ones. That’s where the Chamber came in. It was natural for me to join the network since
it’s here that Swedish and British businesses meet and connect,” comments Suzanne. Alex didn’t know much about the organisation at the time but quickly realised that it was an ideal place to meet new clients, partners and suppliers. Connecting through a common acquaintance Alex and Suzanne met just over ten years ago and were introduced to each other at one of the Chamber’s networking events by a common acquaintance. Both were also getting in-
volved on the Council and Committees at this stage which provided additional opportunities to connect and talk about their businesses. Alex thinks this is a real added benefit of long term membership: “It is very useful to me to have a network where you get to know people over a longer period of time as it provides informal business support and advice that you can easily tap into”. The first project Their first collaboration came about when Suzanne asked Alex if she could do an audit of
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the current Consido website. This developed into a repositioning of the Consido brand as Alex guided Suzanne through a process of capitalising on the values and benefits of the brand. “I can still remember when Alex brought her mood boards and showed me a whole new way of looking at the Consido brand, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities,” says Suzanne. “Having someone like Alex come from outside and take the time to really understand my business was invaluable. It almost felt like Alex knew more about my business than I did at the time and she helped me realise what it could become.” Alex spotted the missed opportunities with Suzanne’s brand. “I get really excited when you can transform someone’s brand and it makes such a big difference instantly like we did for Consido”, she says. “Getting to know Suzanne was the first step. The second was taking a more in-depth look at the client profile to guide where the positioning of Consido
should sit. After that, we began to create the marketing collateral and moved Consido forward.” Ongoing collaboration Since then, Consido has undergone another brand refresh in 2018 and they continue to work together as Alex advises on all aspects of Consido’s brand communication. This has also built trust and a genuine friendship over the years. “When I arrive at an event, I often scan the room for Suzanne as we have such fun catching up – and not always talking business!” They both agree that the trust that is built up over time between people who network and collaborate is key to mutually successful business relationships. “I can call Alex with ideas about my brand, and very quickly, Alex would have a suggestion on how to move forward. I think I’ve implemented every suggestion she has made,” Suzanne says. This working relationship means there is a great amount of support
for each other in the network too “Because I know exactly how Suzanne works and her client profile, I can easily identify people who may need Consido’s help with relocation and make an introduction to Suzanne.” says Alex. Advice to members According to them both, finding the right connections is the first step to building successful business relationships. “You need to get out there and meet people in your network. The Chamber has been a great forum for me to do that. The spectrum of people you can meet is enormous,” Suzanne says. The second step is to nurture those connections. “My advice is to be open, generous and kind to people in your network. Share your own network with new people that you meet. Since the UK market is competitive, building trust takes time and effort, but it is worth it,” Alex says. “The Swedish Chamber is a high-quality organisation, perfect for building those kinds of relationships.”
Alex Haddon (IC Design) and Suzanne Bolinder (Consido).
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Dear YP, Another scholar year has come to an end, so let us reminisce some of the highlights from the scholar year of 2018/2019. In June last year, we started off our scholar year with the Midsummer Drinks. Autumn Kick Off, the Annual Crayfish Party, Yoga, Company Visit at Bloomberg and the Annual Christmas Dinner marked some of the highlights of the autumn calendar. After the Christmas break, we organised a Spring Kick Off, a social media workshop with Adwaiz, a Company Visit at Kindred and Company Insights with LOGOS. When we reached April, we were kindly invited to the Parliament for an exclusive discussion with Labour Member of the House of Lords, Lord Adonis. During the spring we have also welcomed the 13 mentor-mentee pairs of the Mentorship Programme to meet-ups at Handelsbanken Wealth Management and Norton Rose Fulbright. On 1 June, we got together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the YP by throwing a fantastic summer party at KuPP, by the canals in Paddington, the same place where we hosted our first event one year earlier. We were so happy to see so many familiar faces there to celebrate. The party was the last YP event for the current scholars and we are very happy to warmly welcome the four new scholars Anna, Henrik, Madeleine and Sara. The year at the Chamber has really given us a lot of great experiences, invaluable lessons and memories that we will never forget. Above all, it has also given us friendships that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Words cannot describe how happy we are to have been given the fantastic opportunity to get to know so many ambitious, energetic and kind young professionals during our year at the Chamber. We hope to see you soon, Nathalie, André & Linnéa
Nathalie (Swedish Youth Abroad Scholar), André (Stena Scholar) and Linnéa (Lund University Scholar)
Parliament visit with Lord Adonis
Lord Adonis, Labour Member of the House of Lords, kindly invited the YP to the Parliament for an exclusive discussion on Brexit and the future of the UK. It was a unique opportunity for everyone who participated to ask questions to someone who is in the middle of it all and has a real impact.
The LINK YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
YP 25 Summer Party
On 1 June, we got together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Young Professionals. It was a fantastic day party by the canals in Paddington. During the event we enjoyed Scandinavian food and drinks, live music from singersongwriter Marcus Burton, a grand raffle with prizes from our generous raffle sponsors, great photo sessions in our flowery photo booth, fantastic perfume experiences provided by Sniph and a lot more. We were so happy to see so many familiar and new faces during the day. We want to give a big thanks to our sponsors; Haypp for being the main event sponsor, KuPP UK for hosting us and Absolut vodka for providing the drinks.
More photos available on our Facebook page. Young Professionals of the Swedish Chamber
Young Professionals of the SCC
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W I L S O N C R E AT I V E . S E
An intensely Scandinavian experience
The LINK IN OTHER NEWS
In Other News Spotify launches new research and development hub in London
London named Europe’s top destination for international tech talent
SCC patron Spotify, the Swedish digital music streaming service with over 100 million users worldwide, has recently launched a new research and development hub in London while doubling the amount of employees as part of its push to open offices outside the US and Stockholm. Tom Connaughton, Managing Director of Spotify UK, says to Telegraph that it makes sense for them to expand their UK team in the capital and tap into the large and diverse talent pool to be found in London, as well as the city’s music scene: “The UK is famous all over the world for the musical talent that originates here and the strength of the music industry here.” Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, called Spotify’s initiative “fantastic” and said that their expansion is a further sign that London is open to ground-breaking technology. Digital minister Margot James said it was “more evidence that the UK is a world-leader for tech”.
According to research done by London & Partners, London attracted more tech professionals than any other major city in Europe during 2018. The capital also tops the list in terms of established tech worker hubs, with a reported 360,000 software engineers living in the city. The trend is probably only going to continue, as artificial intelligence and fintech have London’s fastest growing sectors to date and are showing no signs of slowing down. Major tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google have chosen to base large engineering teams in the city. Next year, Apple will open a new base in Battersea hosting 1,400 staff and Google’s headquarters will hold up to 4,500 workers.
IKEA explored sustainable urban farming at Chelsea Flower Show SCC patron IKEA, in collaboration with designer Tom Dixon, has been exploring alternative, local and more sustainable ways to grow food with their garden ‘Gardening will Save the World’ showcased at Chelsea Flower Show. The exhibition aimed to demonstrate how people can contribute to the movement of growing your own food at home, and make a difference to reducing food waste while broadcasting the beauty and functional importance of horticulture. The garden was split into two levels: the base was a horticultural laboratory that implemented hydroponic technology (the method of growing in water rich in mineral nutrients instead of soil) and the raised part was a botanic oasis with a natural aesthetic for visitors to enjoy. According to Tom Dixon, the experimental model for growing plants aimed to give back to cities and create productive landscapes within urban zones. The ‘Gardening will Save the World’ exhibition took place at the Chelsea Flower Show on 21 – 25 May, and was awarded with a silver medal.
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Debatable Issue 14 – November 2013 | Souvenir Edition
A summary of the debates held in the House of Commons by the UK Youth Parliament, 15th November 2013
“Democracy is such a beautiful thing – I want a piece of that” (Georgina Hands, MYP for Lincolnshire Central)
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The LINK FEATURE Emilie Barreca
Emilie moved to London 13 years ago to begin her studies of Interior Design. During over a decade of employment at Candy & Candy Private Commissions, Emilie developed a broad design skill set, with focus on the ultra-luxury residential market in the UK and internationally, ending her employment as Head of Private Design, responsible for all private client design work.
Maria has lived and worked internationally for more than 20 years. She has a strong corporate background with a MSc in Public Health. With a love for design and art, Maria decided to pursue her passion and studied Interior design and Art History in London. She worked with private clients at Ralph Lauren Home and under her own name for private clients on high end residential projects globally. Maria Tibblin and Emilie Barreca, Barreca Tibblin. Photo: Patrycja Kuczynska.
REDEFINING LUXURY BY: JONAS EKLUND There is more to interior design than meets the eye. Cultural trends, technology and environmental challenges are some of the driving forces influencing design choices. We talked to Interior Designers Emilie Barreca and Maria Tibblin, at SCC member company Barreca Tibblin Ltd, about current trends in the world of interior design. “We were introduced by a mutual friend in the industry and realised quickly that we shared a vision that would become so much greater if we combined our individual skill sets. We officially launched Barreca Tibblin in August 2018, moved to our office in Chelsea and started working with our mutual clients,” Emilie and Maria recall. Their projects start by getting to know their clients. They ask: where is the property located? What type of property is it? How will the property be used? “Once this has formed the basis of our design, we draw on a multitude of cultural influences to help the client create a home that is a true representation of who they are,” they explain. Sustainability at the forefront When discussing how trends in society can impact design choices, they both agree that sustainability is at the forefront of influencing contemporary design. “We are all becoming more aware of our carbon footprint and the effect our choices have on the environment. The design industry is now looking at designing with low-environmental impact materials, sourcing sustainable materials with a known supply chain and upholstery made from natural fibres without harmful production methods.”
“We want to move away from the way of thinking that ‘designs can be outdated’ and ‘need to be updated in a few years’ time’. Our aim is to create timeless design that stands the test of time and doesn’t need to be replaced but rather cherished for generations to come,” they say, adding: “We can also see that there is a redefinition of luxury within interior design. We want to take lead in this movement, creating a style of simplicity with the highest quality without with a negative impact on our planet.” The most sustainable source of light According to Emilie and Maria, lighting is another area that is evolving and developing. Awareness of sustainable choices leaves a mark on lighting solutions. “The most sustainable lighting is natural daylight which most people have the desire for. The trend is to integrate as much natural daylight as possible in the design, by careful architectural design, while maintaining indoor temperature regulation. We also know from a health perspective how important light is for our wellbeing.” Hidden technology Technology is another area which is constantly innovating itself with more advanced versions available on a yearly basis. “The positive development in technology from our point of view is the adaptability and the possibility to integrate and even hide technology within our designs. Clever solutions for technology are available to allow us to design spaces without having to compromise the design.”
Enlightened customers Emilie and Maria see that customers are becoming more enlightened and aware of sustainable choices, especially within the younger generation. “We are currently working on a project with a family where the daughter requested for the materials and design to be sustainably sourced. We were really happy for this request, as this is something we are very passionate about. Our clients have been very positive about our new perspective on luxury living with sustainable consideration.”
Interior design trends to look out for Flexibility - a dual use of a space or a room, to deliver both in solitude and when socialising. Less is more - contemporary minimalism, a simplified way of living with less clutter and more handcrafted and authentic pieces that have a personal value. Scandinavian design – emerging in the 1930s and growing popular in the 50s, Scandinavian design is again a clear trend. Biophilia - to look for inspiration in nature for its forms and patterns, working with natural organic materials and to see outdoor and indoor connecting.
The LINK NEW MEMBERS AND PATRONS
NEW MEMBERS AND PATRONS The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK is the ultimate business platform for Swedish and UK businesses, representing some 400 companies from across all sectors and industries, and from start-ups, SMEs, unicorns to large corporations. Membership comes with a suite of benefits for you, your colleagues and your business. If you would like to find out how you can maximise your membership, or to enquire about joining, please do get in touch at email@example.com. But first, a warm welcome to our newest members.
New patrons Spotify Spotify’s mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these creators. Today, we are the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 217 million users, including 100 million Spotify Premium subscribers, across 79 markets.
SSAB SSAB is a Nordic and US-based steel company. SSAB offers value added products and services developed in close cooperation with its customers to create a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world. SSAB has employees in over 50 countries. SSAB has production facilities in Sweden, Finland and the US. SSAB is listed on the NASDAQ Nordic Exchange in Stockholm and has a secondary listing on the NASDAQ in Helsinki.
New members Andjaro Andjaro is a real-time workforce optimisation platform for large organisations. Instead of hiring expensive temporary or fixed-term contract staff, Andjaro enables the reallocation of available and voluntary internal staff from other locations within the company. This not only cuts costs, but also gives staff the chance to experience other parts of the organisation, and get compensated for a temporary relocation resulting in a more engaged workforce.
Chainvine Chainvine was founded on the shared belief that trust in a company’s operations shouldn’t be expensive; it should be built into the systems they use. Chainvine was founded by experts in the fields of decentralised ledgers, digital security, advanced digital systems, economics, corporate finance and operational strategy. We work in partnership with our clients to create bespoke solutions to ensure their contract and commodity data is permanently recorded in a secure, decentralised network, making their records easier to access and manage.
ISLE OF MAN A world without borders
Crossborder Isle of Man Crossborder Isle of Man Limited is a sales management consultancy within the financial services industry. We help our international clients introduce their products to the Nordic market. This includes life insurance, asset management, investment funds and pension solutions.
The LINK NEW MEMBERS AND PATRONS
Gull & Stellan Ljungberg’s Foundation The foundation awards scholarships for students from the region of Uddevalla and Trollhättan, Sweden, to go and study abroad.
Hogan Lovells International A global law firm, with unrivalled transatlantic capability and in-depth industry sector knowledge. We help clients working in highly regulated sectors with their most complex matters – whether that is their M&A, litigation, regulatory or intellectual property work. Our global footprint of over 45 offices worldwide means we are uniquely placed to help clients with their most challenging multi-jurisdictional issues.
Morison KSi Morison KSi is a global association of leading, quality-focused accounting firms. Our mission is to provide members and their clients with access to high-quality professional services around the world – we are an association that brings trust and confidence to the profession. Our 154 independent members across 82 countries are dynamic, ambitious and represent a combined revenue of almost US$1billion.
Novicell UK Novicell is an award-winning International Digital Marketing agency. Since 1998, our team of 270+ developers, strategists, designers and marketing specialists have helped companies develop, maintain and improve their digital business. Our expertise is within Digital Marketing and Strategy, Web and Software Development, Data Value and E-commerce. Our objective is to optimise performance, so your business is ahead of the competition.
PHEDA Group PHEDA Group is a limited company registered in the UK. The company pursues property projects within the scheme of ‘help to buy’. Over the last couple of years the company has established strong business relations all over the world and has the opportunity to offer HNWI’s, private equity, family offices, angel investors etc to invest in our projects.
RINA UK At RINA we put safety first in order to help you elevate your business to the next level. We are a third party certification body; proud and dedicated to being your independent guarantee of compliance with global regulatory standards. Our scope is wide and include management systems, product safety and quality, environmental sustainability, social accountability and food certification services.
Veg of Lund Veg of Lund is a food and drink start up in conjunction with Lund University. Their first innovation, MyFoodie, was created to fit with today’s consumers demands for products that fit with flexitarian and vegan diets. MyFoodie is a nutritious, filling and delicious plant-based drink – free from added sugar, lactose, gluten, and soy – a convenient choice for everyone.
The LINK MEET
Peter Burman PRESIDENT CORPORATE SOLUTIONS AT EF EDUCATION FIRST BY: LINNÉA LINDGREN
On 5 June, Peter Burman, President Corporate Solutions at EF Education First, was appointed new Council member for the SCC, at its Annual General Meeting. The Link met with Peter, to talk about his new appointment, his love for the education industry and the challenges ahead. Contributing with an education and technology perspective “I’m excited to join the SCC Council for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I’m looking forward to meeting and learning from fellow Council members as well as being able to contribute with an education and technology perspective to our conversations and to our programmes. More personally, I’m looking forward to establishing a more formal connection and involvement with the Swedish business community in the UK, a country I have lived and worked in for the last 10 years,” says Peter. Early interest for languages and cultures Peter grew up in Västerås, Sweden, and his fondness for languages and experiencing different cultures began early. At the age of 11, he moved to Pretoria, South Africa, together with his family, where they lived for three years. “I basically left Sweden as a kid and came back as a teenager. Having lived with apartheid, learning English, and learning Afrikaans, it really gives you a lot,” says Peter who now speaks three languages fluently: his native Swedish, Spanish and English, and some Afrikaans from the years in South Africa. Going forward Peter decided to study business in Uppsala, but he also spent a few years as a PGA professional golfer. “I played for money for a little while, but also studied at university and it wasn’t a very good combination. So, I had to cut my hair and get a job very quickly after my golf career”. He adds: “I did learn a lot of very important lessons to add to my business studies. Sports at that level, teaches you discipline and how
to focus on the process rather than just the result.” Brought to the business by a friend Back in 1999 Peter worked in pharma sales for Johnson & Johnson. He was very happy with his job and had never even heard of EF. “One day, one of my best friends calls me as he had had an interview with EF. He basically just said, ‘so I interviewed with this company called EF. I’m going to start tomorrow and you’re going to interview as well’. I was very upset, and felt like ‘what are you talking about?’ I don’t want to work for EF.” Peter ended up interviewing with EF and he was straight away very attracted to the company culture, the amount of responsibility you were given as well as the opportunities to work abroad. “It was also something about the industry. I had toyed with becoming a teacher after my business studies. To make money, since I didn’t make any money on the golf, I worked as a substitute teacher and a golf teacher. I could relate to language learning and I could relate to travel from my time living abroad. It also seemed as an industry with great opportunities and a lot of things going on.” Peter adds: “So I have to admit that my friend was right.” In 1999, Peter joined EF as a Product Sales Manager in Sweden and has been with the company ever since except for a two-year period when he lent his managerial talents to My Academy, a start-up doing home tutoring. In January 2004, Peter was appointed President of EF Corporate Solutions and before that he spent time in other divisions of EF Education First, managing Latin American markets and living both in Chile and the US. Opening the world through education Ever since 1965, when Bertil Hult founded EF Education First in Lund, Sweden, the company has been opening the world through education. Now, over 50 years later, EF is the world’s largest privately held international
education company focusing on language, academics, and cultural experiences. Peter mentions three main factors for why he loves EF and his job: the culture, the company’s international environment and the industry in itself. “The culture is really something that transcends through the whole business. I love our culture, we are entrepreneurial, fast moving and extremely international and I guess at this point I’m part of it, I’m a culture carrier. I love EF people. I know it sounds very corny, but I really do.” He also highlights his love for the industry: “Working in education is fun because there’s still so much left to do. It’s almost exhausting to think about all the things that can be done. I don’t think I could work in an environment that isn’t like that.” Peter elaborates: “Education breaks down barriers. Nelson Mandela said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon to change the world,’ and it really goes in line with everything we do at EF.” He continues: “We’re a company with 16 different divisions that are pretty autonomous from one another. All our businesses are focused on education in some way. The most famous one in Sweden is the ‘travel abroad’ division but it’s only a part of the business.” The biggest company that you have never heard of “Somebody said that ‘we are the biggest company that you have never heard of’. It’s a weird tagline but to explain that, we do so many different things and have grown so fast”. Peter works with thousands of companies and large organisations globally to improve their language skills. He says there are a lot of opportunities for growth and there are difficulties in capturing them fast enough. “Hiring and onboarding people fast enough is the biggest challenge. If I go back 10-15 years of EF, that’s always been the biggest difficulty. How do we find enough people and train them fast
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enough to capture all the opportunities? That’s still number one.” How to feel small when you are big He explains that living in a fast-growing environment for that long can be kind of exhausting and fun at the same time. With this challenge also comes another. “As EF has grown, keeping the company culture becomes a bit of an issue. How do you stay small when you grow big?” As such, Peter says that “how to feel small, so we stay on our toes and don’t become too comfortable” is something that is top of mind for all EF managers. In order to tackle these challenges, he tries to live by ‘hiring people who are better than yourself’. “It will never be enough to do things the same way you always have. Being entrepreneurial is key to us.” Technologies, smart speakers and speech recognition It is also clear that technology plays a big part in everything EF does. When speaking about what technologies EF is focusing on moving forward, Peter is a little bit secretive. He shares some examples of what EF is doing with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Smart speakers, speech recognition and scoring are features that are on top of the agenda. EF has introduced the use of smart speakers, like Amazon Echo etc, to immerse more in the language, mainly in Asia.
learn the song while getting familiar with and learning the vocabulary around the activity,” says Peter. However, he also underlines that it will never only be about the technology. “An interesting observation is that we’ve noticed that when the parent is there with the child, the learning is much stronger. It will be about other factors as well, such as the teacher and the environment.” When it comes to speech recognition Peter mentions the great advantage of quickly being able to collect data about a person. “If you pick up that someone is from a certain country, the device can immediately recognise that. In a few sentences we can almost give you your language level, and a TOEFL level. So instead of taking a very expensive 2,5 hours test we can very quickly identify your language level and then start to tailor your education because we know the mistakes, you’re going to make before you make them.”
organisations that EF is working with. “In companies - everyone’s always very busy, and have multiple demands on their time. That means their demands are similarly high in terms of relevant and convenient learning.” Another interesting trend is the domination of the English language. “It’s more English than other languages than when I joined. It was 90% when I joined and it represents 95% now. It’s partly because of the internet, half of the information on the internet is in English, and it’s partly because Chinese is so hard to learn. Everyone thought that we would all be learning Chinese, but the Chinese are learning English instead.” EF’s clients are worried about innovation, digitalisation and structural changes. “This all feeds into language training as all of them require language skills, especially English. In order to innovate you need to communicate, and you need to understand what’s going on in innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley. Inevitably, you need to understand English.”
Higher demands and more personalised content Students nowadays are a lot more demanding and the same goes for the companies and
“There’s a really cool story about our children’s business in which we’ve been trying out smart speakers. The smart speaker can recognise certain situations. So, for example, when you’re brushing your teeth the smart speaker can create a song around that. You sing and
Education breaks down barriers. Nelson Mandela said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon to change the world,’ and it really goes in line with everything we do at EF.