Head of Green Gothenburg Sofia Mc Conell, and former head Bernt Svensén, explain how companies in Gothenburg and surrounds can establish business contacts and create export opportunities together with Green Gothenburg:
What is Green Gothenburg?
"It's an initiative run by the City of Gothenburg to coordinate and welcome overseas delegations visiting the city or the region. We put together a visitor programme for them and ensure that it's relevant to their interests, and this includes inviting companies from the Gothenburg region to participate and benefit from any business contacts formed. Since 2013, we've welcomed close to 250 delegations. These can be anything from groups that are here in connection with the Volvo Ocean Race, a delegation headed by China's Minister of Energy or the United Nations Development Agency, the UNDP."
What's your main focus?
"As always: knowledge and contacts, in this case within our four focus areas of transport, waste, urban development and energy. In Sweden, we're particularly skilled at systems and behaviours, and many people want to learn more about these areas, as well as the underlying policies, democratic process and decisions."
How can companies benefit from Green Gothenburg?
"We follow companies that in various ways contribute to smart and sustainable cities and invite them to participate when we receive overseas delegations. This gives them the opportunity to establish new business contacts, to sell products or to get involved in and influence behaviours and structures. Since we monitor overseas markets and important contacts, this makes the whole thing both time and cost-efficient for participating companies. They're also featured on the Green Gothenburg and Smart City Sweden websites and listed in the searchable database at Swedishcleantech.com. What's more, it's quite special to be involved in an event centred on the city. It provides unique access to the city's facilities and systems within areas such as water supply, waste management, recycling, public transport and energy. One company summed it up as, "Seeing is believing". They very much appreciated being able to show potential customers how a system works in reality. On occasion, we also offer a matchmaking service whereby sellers and buyers can sign up for one-on-one meetings in conjunction with some event, and this too is much appreciated."
How can this lead to, say, export opportunities and business contacts?
"So far, 248 companies have participated in our overseas delegation visits. We see it as a door-opener, enabling them to take the next step. It's difficult to provide a detailed picture of which meetings and contacts have resulted in business – sometimes it can take a few years. Or things can develop quickly, like when we attended an electromobility convention in Germany, which resulted in business deals for several of the companies that accompanied us. One standout example of Green Gothenburg having contributed to business is Wideco, a Borås-based company that works with monitoring and sealing concepts for district heating systems. We invited them to participate when a delegation from China was visiting. Following this, they participated in a delegation headed by the Swedish Energy Agency and Business Region Göteborg, and were represented in the delegation's booth, in conjunction with Sweden's then Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan visiting a trade fair and conference in Beijing – and this resulted in contracts."