Business in Stockholm: ‘efficiency is money’

Foreign companies are crucial to Stockholm’s future growth, the city’s deputy mayor emphasized this week, promising the Swedish capital is investing with international businesses in mind.

Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Stockholm Deputy Mayor Jan Valeskog speaks to business leaders at Stockholm City Hall. Photo: The Local

"Stockholm is the right place for business,” Stockholm Deputy Mayor Jan Valeskog told international business leaders gathered at City Hall on Tuesday.

"We want more companies to come to Stockholm to continue to strengthen our strong brand.”

The comments came during the 2014 Stockholm International Business Meeting, an annual gathering of more than 100 foreign business leaders and public officials from Stockholm and neighbouring municipalities.

Held in the stately Golden Hall, scene of the famed Nobel Banquet ball, the event serves as a forum for Stockholm’s international business and diplomatic community to exchange ideas face-to-face with city officials.

This year’s International Business Meeting featured representatives from Air France KLM, Coca Cola, Microsoft, PwC, Adidas, and Ranstad, among others.

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Valeskog remained bullish about Stockholm's future, adding that foreign companies both contributed to the city’s growth, and were well-positioned to benefit.

"Such strong economic development requires enormous investment in infrastructure and housing. We'll be making major efforts to ensure this is realized,” he added.

Valeskog’s comments were followed by remarks from Norwegian entrepreneur Knut Faremo, who told of his experience introducing Picard, France's largest chain of frozen quality food, to the Stockholm market.

He credited Stockholmers’ “openness to new things” as one of the keys to Picard’s success.

"Swedes also understand that frozen food can be quality food,” he told the audience of more than 100 attendees.

"Picard has been a great success from the start. Swedes are very international – they are happy to have French text on all the products! They like that."

Faremo, who also helped build the successful chain of Apoteket Hjärtat pharmacies before then selling the business to the ICA grocery chain, admitted that it’s not always easy for a Norwegian to do business in Sweden.

“We're not as stylish, and not as international as the Swedes,” he joked, before remarking on the importance of taking differences in consumer habits into account.

SEE ALSO: Starting a business in Stockholm

"In France, Picard produces a 100 page catalogue that’s delivered to people's homes. But we persuaded the French guys that there was no need for that in Sweden – everything is done online, on our web site and social media,” Faremo explained.

He was also quick to praise Stockholm as a city filled with people that are “very professional and very honest”, making the city a welcoming place for foreign businesses.

"In Sweden things sometimes move faster than some companies can cope with,” he said.

“That's nice. Efficiency is money.”

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Stockholm Business Region.


Stockholm Pride is a little different this year: here’s what you need to know 

This week marks the beginning of Pride festivities in the Swedish capital. The tickets sold out immediately, for the partly in-person, partly digital events. 

Pride parade 2019
There won't be a Pride parade like the one in 2019 on the streets of Stockholm this year. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

You might have noticed rainbow flags popping up on major buildings in Stockholm, and on buses and trams. Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country and is the largest Pride celebration in the Nordic region, but the Stockholm event is by far the biggest.  

The Pride Parade, which usually attracts around 50,000 participants in a normal year, will be broadcast digitally from Södra Teatern on August 7th on Stockholm Pride’s website and social media. The two-hour broadcast will be led by tenor and debater Rickard Söderberg.

The two major venues of the festival are Pride House, located this year at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm at Skanstull in Södermalm, and Pride Stage, which is at Södra Teatern near Slussen.

“We are super happy with the layout and think it feels good for us as an organisation to slowly return to normal. There are so many who have longed for it,” chairperson of Stockholm Pride, Vix Herjeryd, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Tickets are required for all indoor events at Södra Teatern to limit the number of people indoors according to pandemic restrictions. But the entire stage programme will also be streamed on a big screen open air on Mosebacketerassen, which doesn’t require a ticket.  

You can read more about this year’s Pride programme on the Stockholm Pride website (in Swedish).