Since its inception in 1906, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce has grown into one of the largest and most active foreign Chambers in the UK. This year, the Chamber is celebrating its 110th anniversary and this will be acknowledged during the year through articles highlighting the Chamber’s history. In this fifth and final Jubilee Article, we focus on the years ahead of us, and what role The Chamber should play in an ever changing future.
Throughout the last four issues of The LINK, we have been guiding you along memory lane through a 110 year long history that started with the Chamber’s inception in 1906 and continued for a century through prosperous times and hardships, financial crisis, expansion and development. And so here we are, in 2016, far from at the end of our journey. It is time to look at the future, and what it might have in store for a Chamber of Commerce in the 21st century.
On 14 September, the Jubilee Celebrations culminated in a magnificent gala at the new Switch House of Tate Modern in London. As the sun set over the Thames, guests arrived to listen to an inspiring speech by Jacob Wallenberg, and to see Spotify, Kopparberg and Max Martin receiving awards for each being a pride for Sweden in their own right. The evening saw young mix with old, startups meeting established businesses, and royalty and ambassadors mingle with the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Mikael Angesjö, Assistant Director of the Swedish Chamber, thinks the night was an embodiment of the very essence of the Chamber’s function.
“There is no other natural meeting place where people from old and traditional financial and manufacturing industries can meet new, innovative businesses from the tech and creative industries. We have created one of very few platforms where they get a chance to interact with one another,” he tells The LINK.
Angesjö goes on to explain how this is also a very important goal for the Chamber as a whole, and how, by connecting people and industries that rarely connect in daily business life, the aim is to create the highest possible value for everyone involved. Often, he explains, the immense exchange two companies can receive from one another doesn’t become apparent until they are introduced to each other, and that is why the Chamber has such an important role in facilitating these connections.
“It is only in these unique meetings that people suddenly realise how size and experience can be traded for disruptive thinking and innovation in the latest technology. It is that kind of platform that we have to be and should be. That is what the Chamber is,” he says.
The examples are many. In recent years, The Chamber has directly or indirectly been behind collaborations between Salta Tours and Skanska, Trowers & Hamlins and Vistra and Stockholm Deli and Rekorderlig Cider, to name but a few. Translating human meetings into value in pounds and pennies is not always easy, but looking at the collaborations that The Chamber has helped to create is a strong testament as to how great connections can indeed be invaluable.
The goals for the future are clear - to keep on diversifying the network and enable all Members to capitalise on their membership in order to see new possibilities where they least expect it and find the collaborators to help realise them.
For the past 110 years, The Chamber has worked ceaselessly to build an ever more representative mirror image of the business community around us. For the next 110 years to come, we are happy that you have joined us on this journey to engage, network, discover and connect.