Sweden gears up for SEA business summit Singapore

As the first ever, and very timely ‘Sweden–Southeast Asia Business Summit’ is around the corner (21–22 of September 2016), Team Sweden presents the details for the two days in Singapore include an exciting and relevant programme, and key political and high-level business representatives from Sweden, such as Mr Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation; Mrs. Ylva Berg, CEO, Business Sweden; and Mr Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of the Board, SEB, SAAB Group & Foundation Asset Management.


Forecasted as a strong growth market onwards, Southeast Asia requires business leaders and entrepreneurs to have a clear understanding of the developments in the region. The Sweden–Southeast Asia Business Summit provides an excellent opportunity to get insights from industry peers and policy experts and to meet with potential partners.

On Day 1 Mr Marcus Wallenberg and Mr. Piyush Gupta, Chief Executive Officer and Director of DBS Group will hold keynote speeches, followed by the first session, kicking off the summit with a heavy-weight topic to paint the picture of the region’s forecast and potential for the near future: ‘Economic and Political Outlook on Southeast Asia – Brief introductory remarks’ followed by a panel discussion based on the themes:
– Southeast Asia – Asia’s new growth engine
– The regional free trade agenda and greater regional economic integration including the ASEAN Economic Community – what’s in it for business?
– Southeast Asia – stepping out of China’s shadow?
– The US, China and Southeast Asia – new geo-political realities

In session 2 the summit looks ahead to ‘Southeast Asia in 2020 – key factors for businesses to consider’.

Mr Christian Ihre, for instance, presents insights to ‘Who is the Southeast Asian consumer?’ in a panel discussion.

Christian Ihre is Co-founder & CEO of LynxEye Management Consultants, an award-winning Brand Agency in the Nordic Region. He set up a Singapore office in 2012 and has since led the Asia operations.

In a second panel discussion Mr Andreas Ehn and Ms Lisa Enckell will bring forward the topic ‘The future of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia’, while Mr Dušan Stojanovic, Founder and Director of True Global Ventures will present: ‘Enabling financial inclusion through Fintech – opportunities in Southeast Asia’.

Andreas Ehn and Lisa Enckell are angel investors and consultants based in Singapore who decided to explore ten different countries during the course of five years. In every market they work with local start/ups and investors and look for potential start/ups to invest in. They both have a background in founding and working for technology companies in Stockholm and San Francisco. Andreas was Spotify’s first employee and chief technology officer (CTO).

Dušan is described as a ‘citizen of the world’ with a Swedish passport. He was awarded the prize Business Angel of the Year in Europe in 2013 by EBAN (European Business Angel Network) after having three positive exits within a week. He was announced as among ‘Fintech Asia 100 Leaders’ In Asian Fintech in 2016 after moving to Asia in 2014.

As promised the summit will also present ‘Success stories – perspectives from the ground’, where Swedish companies share their experience of doing business in Southeast Asia. Representatives from Axis Communications, Ericsson, Scania, Stora Enso and Volvo Trucks will present their insights.

Fredrik Härén
Fredrik Härén is the invited ‘Inspirational speaker’

The first day closes with a Gala Dinner, hosted by Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation and Mrs. Ylva Berg, CEO of Business Sweden. Mr Fredrik Härén, the author of nine books, including ‘The Idea Book’ will be its ‘inspirational speaker’.

Fredrik informed ScandAsia that he will be speaking on “the need for innovation and about why Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia are so good at it, and also about why the idea of Sweden as an innovative country should not exist ;)”

“I will also talk about the opposite, what Sweden can learn about innovation from Southeast Asia.”

Day 2 continues with a topic of most importance to the Swedish Government: ‘Sustainable business in Southeast Asia. Challenging perceptions and contribute to change – what Swedish companies can bring to the table’.

Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation will give his introductory remarks on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a competitive advantage’, followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A ,where representatives of among others H&M and IKEA will attend.

The term corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as sustainable business practice, is used to describe the work companies do that has a positive impact on society, the environment or the economy.

Why it is important? Sustainable business represents values which the Swedish Government and Swedish society seek to safeguard and promote. Companies with long-term, sustainable business models are more likely to survive in the long run, and so on.

Sustainable business strengthens both long-term value creation and our competitiveness, and contributes to the achievement of societal goals. Swedish enterprises that enjoy good relations with their stakeholders and the world at large strengthen their risk management processes and are more attractive to business partners at international level. Governments have a responsibility to protect the environment, uphold human rights, ensure good working conditions and promote anti-corruption measures, gender equality and diversity. Business enterprises bear a responsibility for their impact on society with regard to these issues.

Swedish companies have a long history of active CSR work and Sweden is viewed as a pioneer within the field. In 2013, Sweden topped the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking, which ranks 59 countries based on 17 environmental, social and governance indicators.

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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