Swedish state should focus on venture capital: report

The Swedish state should focus on developing new investment funds for risk capital as well as seeking out international and national capital, according to a proposal from SEB bank chairman Marcus Wallenberg and IF Metall trade union chairman Stefan Löfven, among other economic experts.

A lack of capital is the biggest hindrance to economic growth and a surplus of venture capital is necessary if innovative companies are to be able to grow and provide jobs, Wallenberg and Löfven write in an article published in Dagens Nyheter newspaper, referring to a Sifo survey.

They estimate that if the Swedish state invested 5 billion kronor ($688 million) in venture capital funds it would lead to additional investment of at least double that amount.

The background for the proposal is that the many venture capital funds associated with the IT boom are no longer active, according to Wallenberg and Löfven.

There are several conditions for how the state should run such a fund – the fund’s investment team should focus on Sweden to ensure that it invests in “innovative companies in Sweden” and that there is a possibility for “the possibility of high returns and a level of risk that distinguishes high-quality venture capital funds.”

The co-authors of the editorial are general director of Vinnova innovation agency Charlotte Brogren; chairman of Provider Venture Johan Hernmarck; general director of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) Christina Lugnet; and the managing director of engineering academy Björn O Nilsson.

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Swedish PM Löfven to skip Almedalen politics festival

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has again chosen not to attend the Almedalen political week this year.

Swedish PM Löfven to skip Almedalen politics festival
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at Almedalen in 2018. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

The PM told newspaper Aftonbladet that he would not take part in the event, which gathers political leaders and grass roots activists from across the country.

Taking place every July since 1968, Almedalen is a unique festival where political parties, businesses, media, and other organizations gather for a week of seminars and events.

“Almedalen has become too much the realm of lobbyists and business interests and not enough a place for popular movements and individual citizens,” Löfven said to the newspaper.

Instead of appearing at Almedalen, Löfven will embark on a tour of the country, as he did in 2017.

“I want to see all of our country and hear about the dreams, problems and challenges faced by different parts of the nation, and shape policy based on that,” he told Aftonbladet.

Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson, the Minister for Finance, will take Löfven’s place on the stage at the week-long political festival.

Almedalen political week is scheduled to take place between June 30th and July 7th.

READ ALSO: Almedalen: Sweden's summer politics extravaganza in numbers