SwedCham’s SESG initiative brings Swedish and Singaporean companies together

Chia Wei Liat is the second-generation owner of hardware store InHome Trading. (Photo: Tang See Kit)

Last year the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Singapore launched their SESG initiative to bring together Swedish MNCs and Singaporean SMEs in a truly unique way.  In a recent article, Channel News Asia highlights some examples of the partnerships between local heartland merchants and Swedish multinational companies and shares how they are exchanging experiences and knowledge to achieve common goals.

SwedCham’s #StandtogetherSESG initiative was launched in November last year with the support of EDB, ESG, NEA, Business Sweden, and the Swedish Embassy in Singapore. The initiative aimed to bring people and companies together to harness shared values that create opportunity in times of crisis and to uniting big and small companies to emerge stronger. 

In the initiative, 23 Swedish multinational corporations were paired up with small Singaporean businesses. The MNCs sponsored an advertising campaign, which ran on selected buses and bus stops to promote their smaller partners and each pair also had meetings dubbed “Fika4Good”, a reference to the Swedish tradition of Fika or chats over coffee, to discuss issues they face and how to solve them.

One of the partnerships was between the Swedish pest control firm Anticimex and the local hardware store InHome Trading. Located at an HDB block in Ang Mo Kio, InHome Trading has served many generations and the shop carries hundreds of home repair tools and products and also sells to other parts of Singapore through its store on Lazada. Due to lack of experience, however, the company’s Lazada shop looked rundown with limited products but this was a field where Anticimex could help. 

According to Mr. Philip Tan, general manager for sales in Asia at Anticimex, “My CFO and I visited Chia at Ang Mo Kio for our first meeting and when he told us that he had to close previously because of COVID-19 but their online store is not quite (set up), we immediately knew this is where we can help them.”

Through the partnership, Anticimex revamped the online store to feature products sorted by categories, brands, and popularity. In addition, Anticimex also helped InHome Trading with its Google Business page and now customers can find details such as operating hours, phone number, a link to its online store and customers can now also leave reviews.

To CNA, Mr. Chia, who took over the family business about five years ago, said, “This has definitely increased our brand awareness. We had people calling and said they found our number on Google.”

Speaking on the initiative, SwedCham general manager Lisa Ferraton said that the Chamber is pleased with what the initiative has achieved so far. “When we started this, we didn’t know where this project would go. We just wanted to try to make something positive in a challenging environment,” she said.

Read the full article by CNA and more on the initiative including the Swedish fashion giant H&M’s partnership with a local Singaporean tailor here

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