• Sweden edition
 

Brits Mean Business

Jenny Gardner, director of UK Trade and Investment in Stockholm, blogs about Britain, Sweden and doing business.

Christmas is all around!

December 20th, 2013 by jennygardner

I have always been corny – a bit banal and sentimental. I adore romantic comedies. I watch the Eurovision Song Contest every year and I cry when I watch Les Miserables – every time. I could easily add more to the list. I thought I would bring this corniness to my blog this year and so I am sprinkling it with Christmas analogies. Not that Christmas itself is corny – it is of course one of our finest traditions and a religious holiday. But taking it overboard might be a bit corny. I will be paralleling some of our UK Christmas traditions with trade and investment opportunities. So here we go. I might go a bit overboard with Christmas trees, Christmas crackers and carol singers, but please bear with me.

 

The Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square and Energy

Every year since 1947 we’ve received a new Christmas Tree, which stands in Trafalgar Square, close to Nelson’s Column. The tree is transported from the Norwegian woods and shipped to London as a gift from Norway to the UK. It is a gift of gratitude for British support of Norway during the Second World War. The tree is dressed with white lights and brightens the area around Trafalgar Square all the way through Christmas.

Energy supply is an important topic on the UK’s agenda. The new UK Energy Bill is just going through Parliament and energy supplies remain important – both for the present and the future – to make sure that the (tree) lights stay on, that electricity prices are reasonable and that electricity production is as green as possible.

What does energy or electricity have to do with the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree from Norway? Just as with the bilateral tree and its lights – we have enormous opportunities between Scandinavia and the UK. Norway, with its oil and gas, Denmark with its wind power and not least Sweden, with its know-how in renewable energy, are all great trade and investment partners, particularly when it comes to information exchange and cooperation regarding research and development in this field. We already enjoy great cooperation, but I foresee this deepening in the years to come.

 

Christmas crackers full of ICT

Christmas crackers are a pretty modern British tradition. They were invented in the UK in 1847. You wrap a small toy or trinket in festive paper, pop in some chemicals for the popping sound and – voilà – you’ve got a festive toy to surprise both adults and small children at dinners around Christmas and New Year. If you are lucky, you will also get a joke or some words of wisdom added in your Christmas cracker. The last one I opened contained a real classic:

Q – What do polar bears wear on their heads?

A – Ice caps.

So what does a Christmas cracker have to do with trade and investment in ICT? Well, not very much. But somehow the suspense involved in trying to guess in which ways the increasing range of things we can do with ICT will go next reminds me of the suspense around the pulling of a cracker. And the opportunities between the UK and Sweden seem immense in this sector. Both countries have sophisticated industries. The UK has a bigger market and more access to capital, while Sweden is renowned for its high technical and creative capabilities. I foresee a lot of exciting things happening in this sector. Some colourful ‘popping’ for the future.

 

Carolling for Infrastructure and Construction

Brits have been carolling since the Middle Ages. We go around to each other’s houses in villages and cities and sing carols. It is a way of giving our friends and neighbours some holiday cheer and warm wishes for the coming year.

People are of course the foundation of our society. Festive carolling and caring for neighbours reminds me of all the infrastructure plans we have in Sweden and in the UK. Improving infrastructure is another way of caring for and building our society. Within rail and road we have tremendous opportunities in the Swedish market and we are already vigorously assisting British companies in accessing those opportunities – with more to come. The UK also needs assistance in renewing its infrastructure and investment opportunities in the UK are plentiful. I hope during the years to come that we at UKTI will be able to match many more companies with these opportunities.

So with those fine British Christmas traditions and bilateral trade and investment opportunities in mind, I would like to apologise for being a bit corny, but more importantly I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We have some exciting times ahead of us.

Let the holidays begin!

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British Racing Green and a Greener Automotive Future

October 8th, 2013 by jennygardner

Many years ago, I was in Kent with a friend visiting one of the great industrialists of the time. We were invited to lunch at the family’s lovely, understated cottage. On my way home I could conclude that our host owned one of the most brilliant looking Jaguars I have ever seen. I do not remember the model, but I remember the car’s lines and the shine of the green lacquer. If looking to apply the phrase ‘poetry in motion’, then this certainly did fit the bill for me. A couple of years later, I got the opportunity to have a Volvo V70 as my company car, and I was once again enthralled. I must admit that this time it was not so much about looks, but rather the cars brilliant functioning and the feeling of safety that it gave me when I was out driving on the snowy winter roads of Boston, where I was living at the time. To me, cars are not only things – they also have the potential to become an extension of the driver and maybe even an expression of the driver’s personality.

The car industry as we know it is experiencing great change. The industry has had a few tough years during the latest worldwide financial turmoil, but is also facing environmental and technological challenges. Companies making cars that are not only powered by traditional petrol or diesel engines are taking market share and will no doubt continue to do so. They are leading the way towards the new generation of transportation.

The UK has chosen to be an important player in the development of the automotive industry. When BIS (the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) launched its business strategy, outlining the future for UK production and trade, the automotive industry was one of the 11 sector strategies published. Named “Driving success – a strategy for growth and sustainability in the UK automotive sector” – this strategy is meant to provide a roadmap (excuse the pun) for the development of the industry and to clearly indicate governmental support for advanced manufacturing, engineering and, of course, the automotive sector in particular.

The strategy focuses on four different areas: innovation and technology; the supply chain; skills; and the business environment.

Regarding innovation and technology – government and industry will invest around £1 billion over 10 years in a new centre for advanced propulsion. Fuels, power sources and propulsion systems are of course an integral part of the whole driving experience, and are certainly key components for the vehicles of tomorrow. Work will also be done on strengthening the collaboration between industry and academia and to align research funding with the industrial challenges that lie ahead.

To further strengthen UK production, the government has set up an Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO) to assist investors develop the UK supply chain and make sure that the bits and pieces needed are developed in the market. This week, we will for example visit the Major Suppliers’ Day in Gothenburg, hosted by Fordonskomponentsgruppen (FKG), a trade association to the vehicle industry. We will hold a seminar and a speech for investors in the UK on all of the business opportunities in the sector that we can see. According to FKG, Swedish exports from this particular industry are worth SEK 180 billion (approximately £18 billion) per year, which would amount to 12% of Sweden’s total annual exports. In this case (as in many other cases), the UK is a perfect match for Sweden when it comes to collaboration, investment and R&D partnership.

The strategy also addresses the need for skills by promoting a large scheme for apprentices and graduates in the industry. Finally, to promote the business environment, collaborative measures are being taken – like safeguarding the UK’s flexible labour markets, as well as supporting free trade agreements and proactive engagement in EU politics.

In a nutshell – these are exciting times.

British Racing Green – not only my favourite colour for my favourite car, but also the international motor racing colour of the United Kingdom – is not going away. Indeed, I would suggest that the opposite is the case. British Racing Green, and the automotive industry that it in at least some way represents, will stay in fashion and be part of a strong advanced manufacturing future in the UK. And maybe, if I wish really hard, I will get to test drive that Jaguar one day… just maybe.

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Strategies For Growth

September 20th, 2013 by jennygardner

During the years that I spent in industry, prior to my current position working for the UK government, I must admit that I took special pleasure in working with strategic business development. For me, nothing equals the joy of building a successful business, and teams within it. Arriving at UK Trade and Investment, I expected to have the opportunity to help others build their businesses, as that is what we do. However, little did I know that I would be part of a brilliant process of business developing a country – and its international context.

Our Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable MP, will visit Stockholm next week. He will talk about how to create economic growth in Europe, as well as how we can create growth via bilateral trade and investments. Both of these are linked to UK Plc’s business development. But of course when working with business development you need a focus and a plan – in short, a strategy – and the UK does have such a plan. It is now a year on since SoS Cable’s Department launched the UK business development plan – i.e. the Industrial Strategy. The strategy has been created in consultation with the business community and aims to set out a long-term, cross-government approach on to how to support business.

During the past year, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has also developed 11 individual sector strategies covering: aerospace, agricultural technologies, automotive, construction, information economy, international education, life sciences, nuclear, offshore wind, oil and gas and professional and business services. These strategies are not only beacons for UK industrial growth. They are also excellent tools for spotting business opportunities for Swedish investors, as well as a lens for focusing our bilateral trade work. These three components (domestic focus and resourcing, investments and trade), when aimed in a similar direction, have the potential of creating causal loop behaviour, thereby directing and strengthening the outcome – i.e. growth in the economy.

The strategies are not only welcome tools for government organisations, but also have the benefit of speaking the same language as business. Many variables play into a company’s investment decision – but the most important one is, and always will be, the business opportunity in market. The strategies highlight the opportunities and the gaps in the market where foreign companies or bilateral cooperation may play an important role.

And in Sweden, where the UK remains an important trading partner, the business opportunities and gaps are certainly of utmost importance. According to Statistics Sweden, the UK is Sweden’s third largest export market after Norway and Germany. Furthermore, the UK is Sweden’s fifth largest source of imports, behind Germany, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.

As UK Trade and Investment’s representatives in Sweden, we are very much looking forward to the Secretary of State’s visit next week and anticipate listening to some sophisticated business planning, and hearing about economic strategy on both the national and international levels.

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Be British, be sincere and be bold

May 16th, 2013 by jennygardner

Spring has finally arrived in Sweden and some are even saying that summer is here. Next week we will have to call it summer as the British-Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Sweden is to hold a brilliant summer dinner party. It is going to be an excellent evening and we are getting the best support possible from London, as our Trade Minister Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint will attend and speak at the event. This is also the first time the BSCC will give out its annual BSCC Award, which aims to support and draw attention to people who have worked passionately to strengthen the special relationship that exists between Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Being a member of the the BSCC’s executive committee and board, I must say how impressed I am with the members’ interest and dedication to the chamber and the brilliant programme of events that the Chamber is running. I am also delighted with the great cooperation that exists between the Embassy and the Chamber. It certainly keeps the interest in British business bubbling. I would highly recommend British companies coming to Sweden to join the BSCC as soon as possible, as it provides a great network, full of knowledgeable people when it comes to both business and Sweden. Similarly, I would urge Swedish companies interested in the UK market to do the same.

But why should British business come to Sweden? What is the main attraction of Sweden for UK exporters? To use the Swedish word ‘smorgåsbord’ – Sweden is a veritable smorgåsbord for UK business. We have a stable economy that has grown quite substantially during the past three years. We have more than nine million people, with some of the highest GDP per capita in the world. Almost everyone speaks English and we are in general big fans of British goods and services. And on top of all that, we host all types of companies – clusters of small and medium sized enterprises, as well as multinationals like Electrolux, Sandvik, SKF, Handelsbanken, Vattenfall, Ericsson, IKEA and Saab – with important supply chain opportunities for British companies.

So how can a British company get access to the Swedish market and how can UKTI at the British Embassy help potential UK exporters? 

I see our work as a bit like a kind of dragon’s den for both for larger and smaller British companies. It is about matching the UK companies, not with cash, but with Swedish market opportunities – a combination of strategically advising about the market paired with a practical approach in assisting companies in accessing networks and crucial resources. 

A good example of this ‘smorgåsbord’ was highlighted in the UK’s Daily Telegraph only a week ago. An article called “Sweden provides perfect test for first-time exporters” highlights how a male grooming business has entered the market with the help of UKTI. My colleague Magnus Almén was interviewed and it is a very good read for anyone interested in doing business in Sweden. 

So both the BSCC and UKTI are key resources in Sweden. However, I have some top tips for UK companies looking to move into Sweden. These would be to:

Be British, be sincere and be bold.

Swedes really appreciate the UK – the cultural heritage, the politeness, the sense of humour and the opportunity to speak English. Almost a million people (around one ninth of the population) go to the UK each year.

Focus on being sincere when it comes to both your products and your business conduct. People here like honesty and feel it is important to be earnest.

And no matter where you are going, you need to be bold to be an entrepreneur and to run a business.

So be British, be sincere and be bold – and come to Sweden.

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Innovation, business and harnessing the unexpected

March 28th, 2013 by jennygardner

I always had my doubts about macroeconomics. Just the term “ceteris paribus” (all other things being equal) made me thoroughly suspicious. When has anything really been “ceteris paribus”? No day is like another and if I learnt one lesson in my previous industry, the insurance business – insuring big cargo and oil-platforms – it is to expect the unexpected.  

Having worked at UK Trade and Investment for almost two years now, I have to admit that the old macroeconomics truths are starting to grow on me. I don’t claim to be an expert in the field, but for example, to grow the local economy via international trade seems to make a lot of sense based on my business experience. Another economic hypothesis that works well for me is the idea that innovation leads to more attractive goods or services, which will in turn lead to increased demand and to increased trade. So it was with particular satisfaction that I participated at the Innovate UK conference in London in mid-March. 

The event was run as a joint venture by the Technology Strategy Board and UKTI. The audience consisted of business people, academics and legislators. The challenge was, and is, to encourage research and development, cooperation between universities and business and to assist the commercialisation of new ideas. In all, to make the UK more innovative and competitive and a more attractive cooperation and trading partner for all countries – not least for advanced economies like Sweden.

Companies presenting their innovative ideas included Versarien (which specialises in porous metals for heat transfer), SwiftKey (whose products make typing on smartphones easier) and Wellcow (which sells a product that monitors the health of cows – from inside the cow). It was fascinating to learn about how these and other ideas were taken from the drawing board or test tube and made into a real company. It seemed that most of the time it involved some form of research or invention or simply a good idea, some seed funding from governmental or other sources and not least some brave and stubborn entrepreneurs taking a chance on something they believe in. The stories underlined how important it is to support the interface between academia and business and how all of the abovementioned ingredients are really important for a well functioning economy.

Encouraging innovation, providing access to start-up funding and creating a society where entrepreneurship is stimulated are all important pieces of the puzzle for a country that aims to produce leading products and services that will increase trade and grow the economy.

But just like when the British scientist Alexander Fleming happened to discover penicillin by accident in 1928, we also have to be prepared for the unexpected and to be able to harness the unexpected to our advantage – ceteris paribus or not.

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The Run of the Vikings and the New Supermodel

February 14th, 2013 by jennygardner

This weekend I participated in a truly Nordic activity. I spent the better part of my Sunday sliding around on the ice between the small town of Sigtuna and Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I was taking part in “Vikingarännet” (directly translated it would read the Run of the Vikings), or more specifically I participated in the shorter women’s version of the race called “Tjejrännet” (directly translated – the Run of the Women – which I guess implies Viking women). It basically meant that I tried to keep myself upright and going in the right direction for 35 kilometres on frozen Swedish inland lakes and canals. We even had to get our skates off in a couple of places and hike in the snow between the lakes – very rough indeed! 

It was a lovely day and we had a tailwind, so it was not as much an exercise effort as a balancing act involving courage, and in my case a lot of “can do” attitude.

The whole adventure made me think about the recent February 2, 2013 issue of the Economist. The feature article for this particular edition was named “The Next Supermodel – Why the world should look at the Nordic Countries” and the front cover displayed a very confident looking young bearded Viking – with horns and all. I will not try to analyse the article too much in detail, but in broad strokes the Economist praised the Nordic countries’ models and their ability to balance financial stability with a fairly large public sector and good economic growth. The Economist of course also pointed out of some of the future challenges for Sweden and its Nordic neighbours, but all in all it seemed like the “Vikings” had gotten a majority of things pretty right.

I could not help reflecting on the like-mindedness between Sweden and the UK. As appreciative as the UK’s Economist magazine is about the Nordics, the Swedes are in general similarly appreciative of the Brits. Both countries have a lot in common – from the composition of our industry and export sectors, to the joint appreciation of good comedy – and let’s not forget that Swedes are some of the best non-native English speakers in the world.

All of the above (and much more) make Sweden an attractive market for UK companies. With about 9.5 million inhabitants, Sweden is the biggest Nordic export market for the UK, with total exports of £9.5 billion in 2011. It is also the second largest Nordic supplier to the UK, on 2011 figures, only superseded by Norway with its dominant oil and gas industry. The well known phrase “a home away from home” is not farfetched as a description of the British-Swedish relationship.

Of course the old stereotype of the Viking does not apply to modern Scandinavia, even if beards seem quite “a la mode” in Sweden – especially in the more trendy parts of Stockholm – I promise there are no horned helmets in sight. Let’s not forget though that the ancient Vikings were great traders in their time, while the modern Vikings in their turn are international-relationship-building professionals with a positive attitude and a global outlook. Exporting to Sweden is more attractive than ever and I would encourage British companies to read the February 2 edition of the Economist and to look for opportunities in Sweden. 

I believe that there is an analogy to be made between exporting to new markets and skating in the Run of the Vikings – you need to combine courage and determination with a good sense of direction and a “can do” attitude, something entrepreneurs already know all too well. 

To sum up, I bid British entrepreneurs “Welcome to Sweden”, to run with the modern Vikings – with or without skates!

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Riffing in the New Year

January 8th, 2013 by jennygardner

So, 2013 is finally here, its arrival marked with fireworks, confetti and celebrations. 

These days, “Ringing in the New Year” certainly has a double meaning. The internet and the networked society are here to stay, but the most recent developments are not about more computers or servers being connected to the internet, or about the internet being integrated into more gadgets and solutions – at least not only about that. To me, the biggest change in 2012-13 is about the network society becoming even more wireless. So the “ringing” will not only be about big bells this year, but also about our telephones that used to “ring”. These days, many phones are smart and can make all kinds of noises – chiming, barking and riffing – while we are chatting, tweeting, paying for things and interacting over the internet. The network is drifting on to our mobile phones and tablets in a BIG way. The mobile phone – that we fantasised a couple of years ago would become a multimedia machine – did not only become this, but a smart multimedia machine integrated with the rest of the world – and basically an extension of ourselves.

During the autumn I visited the SIME London 2012 event co-founded by Ericsson and got the opportunity to get inspired by both present and future possibilities. It was lovely to participate in an event with so many British and Swedish hi-tech people, ideas and innovations. 

Jon Mew from IAB spoke about how the vast majority of people in the UK are already online. The internet is of course already an integral part of British society. As much as 81% of the UK’s population of about 63 million people are already online. So that’s around 51 million people and the number is increasing. He also talked about how online advertising spending now dominates the media spend, as advertising spend is usually targeted to where the users are. 

But most importantly he talked about how smartphones and tablets are changing our behaviour. All told, 58% of the mobile phone users in the UK are using smartphones, while only 42% still use a feature phone. And the number of smartphone users is likely to increase rapidly in 2013. Again, this of course means that the advertising spend will not only follow the users online, but also on to the smartphones.

This basically means two different things to me at the moment. Looking at the UK as an ICT investment destination, it looks very favourable indeed for foreign (i.e. Swedish) companies. Not only does it mean that the £2.6 billion online ad market is growing, changing and developing according to IAB, which is a brilliant market opportunity for Swedish companies. It also means that all supporting ICT opportunities are growing and I find the continuing (and future) collaboration between Swedish and British companies to be laced with potential.

But the UK and Sweden going wireless also means a lot of changing behaviours and interesting new solutions. Skype will celebrate 10 years in 2013 – I have a hard time even remembering the times before Skype existed. Change happens so fast and it opens all different kind of possibilities. According to a Boston Consulting Group study published in 2012, more than 80% of Americans would rather give up chocolate for a year than give up the internet, while around 70% would rather abstain from coffee than the web. The internet is getting to be a wireless, integrated necessity of life and I have great expectations for 2013.

Lets Riff in the New Year with all of its ICT possibilities.

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Christmas is no Humbug

December 21st, 2012 by jennygardner

I started December this year with a lovely performance of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens at the Maxim Theatre here in Stockholm. The story was brilliantly told and sung by a group of English actors. 

Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character, is a mean spirited, greedy old man who neither believes in Christmas nor in generosity. But on the night before Christmas, Scrooge’s old (and long time dead) business partner, Jacob Marley, comes as a ghost to visit Scrooge. Jacob rattles his chains and tells Scrooge that he himself got punished for his greedy life by getting no rest in death, but instead he now has to wander the Earth as a ghost. Jacob warns Scrooge that he will meet the same destiny if he does not change his ways. He sends Scrooge three spirits to teach him about life: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. 

I do love Christmas and I could not help thinking that I would love to meet my Ghost of Christmas Past and certainly my Ghost of Christmas Present. The latter I expect in just a few days (perhaps not the ghost itself but certainly the Christmas). But what about the Ghost of Christmas Future? Looking ahead, we have several challenges before us. Could I get a nightly ghost to show me some scenarios?

I will share with you some of my Christmas reading, as I don’t expect any ghosts to come along and join me on this quest. We will probably have to work on this one without any assisting spirits.

Firstly the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) released a research paper in September called Industrial Strategy: UK Sector Analysis. The paper outlines the sectors that are expected to predominantly contribute to UK growth in the future. These sectors include advanced manufacturing, knowledge intensive services and enabling sectors like energy and construction. 

A second important piece of our future puzzle is the new UK Energy Bill, which was just presented at the end of November by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Global energy demand is set to continue to increase. Our challenge is not only to feed that demand, but to be more efficient in energy supply and to be forward-looking with our energy solutions. We need to create a sustainable energy economy.

A third set of really interesting reads are the Digital Agenda documents. The digital service sector constitutes an increasing share of GDP growth in the UK and Sweden, as well as in other European economies, a trend that looks likely to continue. The UK Digital Opportunity – A review of Intellectual Property and Growth, UK Communications Review, The Swedish Digital Agenda and The Digital Agenda for Europe are all interesting documents relating to the shape of our future.

I will not only read government documents over Christmas. I have wanted to finish Erik Niva’s collected columns on football for a long time now and I hope I will be able to get some time for this too. I find football very inspiring, so I am sure this will add something to the mix.

Having read (and for some of them re-read) all of the above, I think I will have something to talk to the Ghost of Christmas Future about – if it shows up.

And to cite Scrooge from Dickens:

“Yes! and the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own.

Best and happiest of all, the time before him was his own, to make amends in!

I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future! Scrooge repeated as he scrambled out of bed. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh, Jacob Marley! Heaven and the Christmas Time be praised for this!”

Time is scarce – make the most of it – live in the present, past and the future – and bring happiness to our community – to your family and friends. We have great challenges ahead of us – lets be smart and constructive about them. But in the meantime – let’s make the most of this holiday season.

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

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Blowing in the wind

September 24th, 2012 by jennygardner

The weather is a popular topic of conversation in both the UK and Sweden. You can never go wrong talking about the weather. What it was like yesterday, whether it was a good summer and will it rain tomorrow?

 Sometimes we experience catastrophic weather or changes in weather patterns that affect us in a longer-term perspective – making us move and perhaps changing what we farm and eat.

We have brilliant comedy about the weather – like the “Bloody Weather” in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, where the weather basically just makes too much noise by jumping up and down and is told to ‘clear off’.

The weather affects us all and in some ways it can control our day. One thing we can always be sure of is that there will be more weather tomorrow.

At the same time the world is facing several challenges. We have a growing population, increasing production and consumption and, facing a decreasing supply of fossil fuels, a need to secure new energy resources. We need to find sources of energy that will not run out – renewable energy. If we also manage to generate our energy in ways that do not impact too heavily on the natural world or create too great a carbon footprint, then we may successfully secure our children’s and grand-children’s future.

With this perspective in mind, I am following the developing cooperation between the UK and Sweden within the Renewable Energy sector with great interest. There are several different areas to look at. The movement of water is an important source of energy. Sweden is to a large extent already reliant on water, with hydro-power generated by its rivers. As both countries are largely surrounded by water, research into wave and tidal energy could also develop some interesting alternatives. Biomass is another type of renewable, which uses biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms (such as energy crops) or previously consumed bio-material (i.e. waste) as an energy source.

But then there is the weather – we have solar power and wind power. Wind power is currently seen as an area of possibilities when it comes to creating viable renewable sources of energy. While investing in wind power is still expensive and the technology still requires further refinement, it is a most interesting and exciting area. 

I had recently the opportunity to enjoy a lot of weather, or more specifically a lot of wind, when I attended the inauguration of the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm in the waters outside Cumbria in the Northwest of England. Vattenfall has built a big offshore wind farm consisting of 30 large 5 MW wind turbines. It was indeed a windy and rainy day. The boat we travelled out to the wind farm in looked big in the harbour, but felt tiny out on the Irish Sea and even smaller when we approached the wind farm itself. It was impressive to see the nacelles, which stand a towering 152 metres high. I was interested to learn how the electricity was being generated and collected by a substation in the centre and how the electricity was sent from there through cables back to the mainland. The Ormonde Wind Farm is expected to generate more than 500 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year. The wind turbines seemed very futuristic with their huge rotating blades. As I have a weakness for sci-fi, I could not help feeling excited about this seemingly silent and efficient artificial forest. The farm is forecast to generate electricity for 100,000 households and last for 20-25 years.

Is this the future? Well, to me it certainly looks like a good part of it.

I could not help again thinking about the Monty Python skit from “The Holy Grail” and the idea of trying to harvest energy from the weather jumping up and down. Once back on dry land, I could not resist turning to one of my fellow boaters to say “I wonder if it’ll be windy again tomorrow?” And perhaps rather unusually, I found myself fervently hoping that it would be.

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Get the Olympics and Business Celebration Started!

July 27th, 2012 by jennygardner

Tonight is the big night.

I have always been interested in business. Before going to university I had a couple of minutes of agony – thinking that I might instead attend theatre school – but I never felt confident enough in my acting ability to chose that line of work.

Having said that, I have always had great admiration for those with extraordinary talents in arts and sports. My father, a marine archaeologist, was a good example of someone who managed to turn his passion into his life’s work and who very much enjoyed his job. The arts and sports are like the cherry on life’s cake. The fun stuff professionally just meant for the bold and beautiful.

And today, one of the absolute most important sporting events in the world opens in the UK – London 2012. At 9pm BST, the Queen will open the Olympiad in London during a spectacular opening ceremony. The preparations have been long, the expectations are high and the weather – well, we are keeping our fingers crossed.

I am particularly keen on following the football. The Euro 2012 was a great start of the summer and I will most probably not miss a single game in the Olympic football – men’s or women’s. But not “only” the sports are celebrated during the coming weeks.

We are also taking the opportunity to make this global sports fete into a time where we jubilate international business and trade.

We are gathering 4,000 world leaders, policy makers and investors in London for something called the Global Investment Conference and the British Business Embassy – a series of global business summits being held in London to celebrate international trade and investments and to showcase the UK during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We hope this will be a magnificent opportunity for people to meet, develop further expertise within their business sector, and promote increased trade and globalisation.

At the same time, we have prepared tirelessly and plan to announce £1 billion in trade and investment deals this summer, as businesses capitalise on the Olympics.

Or, as Business Secretary Vince Cable put it, “In these difficult economic times we also need to redouble global efforts to build a genuinely open and competitive international trading environment.” I would say that this is one of the best times to do so – to boost business with an incredible sports celebration.

Let the games begin!

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"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

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Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
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