New opportunities for export is the hope for Swedish companies when they met with representatives from ten countries at the energy conference in Vasa.
One of the hottest energy clusters in the Nordic countries is located in the Kvarken area between Sweden and Finland. 134 companies are part of a growing cooperation, to help more Swedish companies establish contacts with Finland and other countries. North Sweden Cleantech and Cleantech Kvarken recently invited a number of companies to the Energy Business Forum which was held for the first time in Vasa.
The international presence at the conference was very large, with representatives from ten countries. In addition to Sweden and Finland, ambassadors, politicians, and entrepreneurs from the UK, the US, Chile, Estonia, Hong Kong, Mexico and Tunisia attended the event. This international presence means that companies had a great opportunity to discover new export markets.
Exports are important
For a number of Swedish companies who took part in the conference, the new export opportunities were of great significance. Cue Dee, headquartered in Sikeå, deliver masts and equipment for wind farms and telecommunication industries in over 40 countries, and more than 80 percent of sale come from exports. Prismalence from Örnsköldsvik is at the same level with nearly 70 percent of the company’s lighting products used in ports and heavy industry is exported.
Establish new contacts
Urban Wikman from Cue Dee is one of the participants who took the opportunity to network and make new contacts during the conference.
-Our main markets are Sweden and Norway, but Finland is a great potential for us. It is one of our closest neighbours that we have supplied to previously, but I hope for even more, says Urban Wikman.
Even though Scandinavia is the main market for Cue Dee, the company also has major exports to many other countries. Scotland is an important market with its wind farms, and in Africa, the expansion of masts within telecommunications has generated more business for Cue Dee, something that Urban Wikman believes will grow even more.
Want to help others
To be part of the networking at the Energy Business Forum in Vasa is important to make new contacts, not only for Cue Dee but for companies across the entire region in north Sweden, he says.
-We should try to help each other more when we are here. We have so many great exporting companies in northern Sweden which are top notch. This means that we can advise other companies in Skellefteå, Vindeln, Umeå and wherever they are. We can be ambassadors and help each other even more, says Urban Wikman.
Soft landing in other countries
Several representatives at the conference from different countries were talking about the concept of “soft landing”. It may look a little different in other countries, but in general, it’s about helping companies to establish themselves in a new market.
Sulev Alajöe from the Estonian Investment Agency is one of several which provides examples of a soft landing.
-When we meet a company, first we look at a map of the sectors that the company is interested in. Then we try to find suitable opportunities for the company, says Sule Alajöe.
Peter Hedman, project manager for North Sweden Cleantech concludes the conference by emphasising the value of making international contacts.
-We started a cooperation with Finland a few years ago. Through the cooperation of two countries, we can provide better business opportunities for companies, says Peter Hedman, Head of North Sweden Cleantech.
-We also arrange matchmaking events where cleantech companies can meet other companies, municipalities and organisations, says Peter Hedman.
Peter Hedman had a comment for the representatives from the different countries:
-I am very impressed by what all countries can offer and I can say that from our side, we are happy to cooperate with you.
Organisers of the conference
Behind the event are organisations from both Sweden and Finland, a sign of the cooperation that exists between countries in the cleantech area. North Sweden Cleantech is one of the organisers, together with Cleantech Kvarken and Technology Centre Merinova in Finland.