Strengthening the Nordic business community

Mr. Per Brandt, Chairman of Swedish Business Association (SBA) in Indonesia, has been in Indonesia for over 20 years. With an increasing number of Scandinavian establishments in the fast-growing economy, Mr. Brandt aims to strengthen the Nordic business community.


Mr. Per Brandt, Chairman of Swedish Business Association (SBA) in Indonesia
Mr. Per Brandt, Chairman of Swedish Business Association (SBA) in Indonesia

Doing business in another country is always a challenge as it requires not only business knowledge and a good interpreter, but also understanding of local protocols, business culture and many other differences.  In many cases, however, good connections could be the main factor leading a business to success. An organization that connects Swedish businesses in Indonesia together is Swedish Business Association (SBA).

Initiated by Mr. Per Brandt and other prominent Swedish business people in Indonesia, SBA was established in 2000 to connect Swedish businesses in Indonesia. As one of the founders, Mr. Brandt was on the board since the beginning and within two years became chairman.

This year Mr. Brandt has been appointed to be chairman of SBA again. With his 20 years’ experience in the country, Mr. Brandt speaks fluent Indonesian and has a good understanding of local business practices.

“We have a lot of business contacts and experiences here that we want to share with our members. We also arrange events and activities for our members to get together to share experiences and exchange views and opinions with each other,” says Mr. Brandt.

About Per Brandt

Mr. Brandt visited Indonesia for the first time in 1991 on a business trip. Since then he travelled to the country for business regularly and later moved to Indonesia permanently in 1993 after being appointed as a president for the Swedish chemical group Perstorp.

Currently, he is Regional Director at CombiBox Systems which is the company supplying in-ground support systems for aircrafts at airports and in maintenance hangars.

According to Mr. Brandt, there were just over ten Swedish companies in Indonesia when he first arrived in Jakarta. Many of them, however, have had their establishments in the country for a long time. One example is Swedish brand Ericson which has been in the country since 1907.

Having seen the development of the country’s economy and Scandinavian business interests here over the years, Mr. Brandt believes the country has great business potential.

“I think there are many more people including Scandinavians coming to Indonesia because it happens to be the biggest country in ASEAN. Business in Indonesia is booming in all sectors now and many Swedes like us have become aware that Indonesia is the place to be,” says Mr. Brandt.

Despite the competition from an increasing number of international companies doing business in Indonesia, the Scandinavian business community keeps getting stronger.

“It’s important for us to work together with people whom we can trust. And I think we can trust our Nordic friends as we speak the same language and share the same culture,” adds Mr. Brandt.

SBA’s activities

To strengthen the network, SBA arranges various activities for members to join. One regular networking event is the ‘Swedish Pea Soup’, held on the second Wednesday of every month. Though it is organized by SBA, Mr. Brandt says that the event has become more like a Scandinavian networking since participants tend to be many Swedes and their Nordic friends.

Apart from its regular networking event, SBA also organizes events like the annual Jakarta Viking Christmas lunch, Christmas party and seminars such as CSR event. Moreover, SBA works together with the Swedish embassy to promote activities of Swedish companies throughout Indonesia.

“The Ambassador and I made a number of trips to promote Swedish business activities in many provinces in Indonesia including remote areas like East Kalimantan and Papua,” says Mr. Brandt.

On top of the benefits from having access through all of SBA’s events, members can also benefit from various discounts offered from hotels and restaurants.

Nordic Business Forum

Early this year Mr. Brandt and his Scandinavian business partners founded another platform called “Nordic Business Forum” for Scandinavian companies to get together.

More than just for business gatherings, Nordic Business Forum offers a platform with many events and activities for members to enjoy on a personal level. Each Nordic country arranges a big annual event of its own. For example, Danish members organize a big Christmas party in January and Norwegians arrange a seafood event in the end of the year. For Swedes, Mr. Brandt says that the decision is not made yet but he’d like to arrange an exciting food event.

“We are trying to get our Nordic neighbours closer together. We hope that the Nordic Business Forum will make our community even stronger,” says Mr. Brandt.



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