The time has come for me to take farewell after five intensive and stimulating years in Oceania. My family and I will return to Sweden in August. As Team Sweden Australia we have relaunched a structured and long term Trade, Investment and Sweden Promotion in the region. We leave an important legacy.
Australia is now Sweden’s 4th largest export market outside Europe. Behind the US, China, and Japan. Our exports to Australia have increased by 57% since 2014. Swedish related companies in Australia have some 20.000 employees, generating 60.000 jobs.
Last year we commemorated 190 years of trade relations between Sweden and Australia. SACC is one of the oldest national chambers of commerce in Australia, soon celebrating its 110th anniversary.
All successful trade promotion is based on three necessary preconditions:
- The local Team Sweden network must have an understanding of the local footprint of the Swedish business community, including the opportunities and challenges.
- The Swedish network must work as a team.
- The team must have jointly identified long term priorities.
These preconditions did not exist in 2014. It was a great weakness. Since then we have taken a series of initiatives to strengthen all these three fundamental factors.
To understand the local footprint
We have presented two Swedish Business Footprint Reports and a Business Climate Survey which have proved invaluable. We also contributed to a Swedish FTA-report. I recommend that the footprint report and the Business Climate Report are updated in 2019 or early 2020.
We have established Team Sweden, a Business Support Office and the obvious honorary role for the Ambassador in the Board of SACC. We have opened chapters of SACC in Melbourne and Perth. I hope Brisbane can also be added to the list. Our Honorary Consuls are engaged more than ever in trade and Sweden promotion. We have organised a series of trade missions. The Swedish Business Awards is now a joint collaboration between the Embassy and SACC. The Embassy contribute with articles to Swedelink. A publication on our proud historic trade relations has been published.
To work with jointly agreed long term priorities
We give priority to the Mining, Health and Defence & Security sectors. We have established a railway cluster. We also focus on the negotiations on Free Trade Agreements and the implementations of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We have, in a similar way relaunched the Sweden Promotion in the region with a few overall themes. The Raoul Wallenberg exhibition To me there’s no other choice toured Australia for four years. The Swedish Dads exhibition and project will now be launched in New Zealand after the success in Australia. The Solander Project is the single most extensive Swedish project in New Zealand ever. It will arrive in Australia in May 2020 and later tour the very north of Sweden. We connect the Arctic and Pacific Regions in a unique way. It was a great privilege to become the first Ambassador of Sweden to the entire South Pacific.
We have certainly achieved a lot. Let me thank you for your friendship and support. It has been a privilege to collaborate with you, also in the loose network “Friends of Pär”. I wish you all the very best for the future.
Ambassador of Sweden to Oceania
2014 – 2019
SACC Sydney held an engaging business seminar 16 May 2019 with special guest speaker Erik Thedéen, Director General of Finansinspektionen (the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority) who gave us an insight to the Swedish economy today and the development in the last 10 years since the GFC.
Erik Thedéen presented Finansinspektionens (FI) role and importance in the market. FI is the equivalent organisation in Sweden to ASIC and APRA. FI supervises:
- 1,800 financial companies with authorisation from FI.
- An additional 500 registered companies in accordance with the anti-money laundering regulations.
- Accounting disclosures from 300 listed companies.
- 20,000 foreign financial firms and funds with authorisation from foreign supervisory authorities that also have primary supervision responsibility.
FI is financed by fees from companies under its supervision. These fees are determined by the Government. The companies consists of banks, credit unions, investment firms, fund management companies, insurance companies, insurance intermediaries, stock exchange and trading venues, payment service providers and consumer credit firms. FI’s main purpose is to contribute to a stable financial system that is characterised by a high level of confidence and well- functioning markets, while at the same time providing comprehensive protection for consumers.
Erik spoke generally about the economy in Sweden which is very strong at the moment with an employment growth of up to 2% on a yearly basis with a very low unemployment.
“Sweden has the highest employment rate per 100 people in the world. With these circumstances we should have a high inflation, be we don’t. There is no inflation hence very low interest rates, actually minus interest rate in Sweden. This situation with strong growth and no interest rate will encourage corporates and households to borrow as it doesn’t cost you anything. The market reacted clearly to these signals and as a result the household dept to the disposable income rose from 100-180% in the last 10 years or so. If people borrow a lot in relation to their income is fine as long as you have a job and the interest rates are low, but as soon as something hit this equation you are at high risk. What is not predicted to happen in Sweden is large credit loss within banks because of the increased household loans because typically in Sweden households pay their debt, mortgage and interest rates. Why? Because we have a social security system in Sweden which secures some kind of an income if the economy turns down and also the bankruptcy laws are pretty tough in Sweden compared to other countries.”
The house prices in Sweden has gone up more or less 100% in the last 10 years with a small drop in the end of 2017. A similar pattern as to the Australian housing market.
“People who owns a property are better off than the newcomers who can’t afford the rising property prices. Nothing happens to the economy, the productivity and long employment. The only thing that happens is that you have a large distribution effect from the insiders versa the outsiders, but this is typically not understood.”
o stabilise the market certain measures has been implemented such as stricter amortisation requirement e.g. new borrowers with mortgage loans exceeding 4.5 times gross income shall repay at least 1% of the mortgage in excess of the first amortisation requirement. To read more about the mortgage market and other presentations from Erik Thedéen and FI visit https://www.fi.se/en/published/presentations/.
Thanks to all members and guests attending this breakfast seminar and special thanks to Erik Thedéen from FI and Vincent Tropiano for hosting us at Grant Thorntons CBD venue.
We had a fantastic group of people and a great panel at the Raoul Wallenberg exhibition event in Sydney last night, 4 April. Annika Flensburg led the panel discussion with the topic focus on human rights and what Raoul Wallenberg’s legacy means today. “Everyone of us can make a difference. We can decide to take to the streets tomorrow. But do we have the courage? Or are we too afraid to lose something in our privileged life, whether it is your personal life or your career?” said Craig Foster, former Socceroo and SBS Broadcast Presenter. Special thank you to all the
Video from the event
a short summary by Jonas Lindholm
Great day with the Nordic & Estonian Business Community meeting up for a Nordic Golf Day socialising and networking in a great atmosphere. Thanks to Nordic & Estonia Chambers for organizing and for the Moore Park GC for hosting a great day. Also a huge thanks to our Sponsors on the day; Charnock O’Brien, Candy People, DB Schenker, H&M, Finnair,
The team event was a very competitive event where Team Charnock got to upper hand on Team Norway with the help of higher handicap. This means the Golf Trophy is kept by the Finnish Australian Chamber of Commerce. Team Sweden 2 won bronze, being 3 strokes behind the two top teams. Individual prices went to Eriika Wathen winning both women’s prices for Nearest to Pin and for longest drive. Longest drive male went to Per Holmkvist and nearest to the pin was won by Grant Bingham. Great achievements straight through.
All in all – a great fun day!
We already look forward to next year’s Nordic Open Golf Day which we believe will be even more fun & double in size – please let us know if you want to be involved!
The exhibition ‘Raoul Wallenberg – to me there’s no other choice’ was officially opened by Ambassador Pär Ahlberger on Saturday 2 March at Waverley Library in Bondi Junction. Professor Frank Vajda from Melbourne held a memorable keynote speech, describing how he was saved by Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest during the Second World War. Introducing the speakers was Jan Anger, son of Per Anger, who worked along Raoul Wallenberg at the Swedish Embassy in Budapest.
Among the guests were two other survivors from Budapest, Erwin Forrester, from Sydney and Andrew Steiner, living in Adelaide.
The exhibition is presented by the Swedish Institute together with the Embassy of Sweden and with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It details Raoul Wallenberg’s childhood, education and career and his assignment in Hungary to save as many people as possible from the Holocaust.
Raoul Wallenberg is the only honorary Australian citizen and at the exhibition you will find his honorary citizenship certificate as well as printed stamps from Australia Post.
The exhibition, which has been travelling Australia since 2015, will be shown at the library until 10 April 2019.
Waverley Library Galleries
32-48 Denison Street
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Tel: 02 9083 8790Monday – Friday 9.30am – 9pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 3pm
Sunday: 1 – 5pm
by Anna Alvsdotter
Influencer beauty entrepreneur found her perfect partner.
Now they’re about to make Australia glow.
If you haven’t heard of Blondinbella, you’ve probably lived under a rock for the past decade and a half.
Your other excuse would be residing in Australia, as her beauty brand is only just being introduced to our market through the Myer stores. The leading influencer in the Nordics with an audience of 1.5 million weekly followers, Isabella Löwengrip and her online alter ego Blondinbella have featured regularly in Swedish media.
Together with her perfect side-kick Pingis Hadenius, she runs businesses with a combined turnover of $10 million, and more than 50 employees. The pair has started several companies and co-written two books on economics.
An evening in early March, I have the pleasure of acting as moderator and interviewer during a sold-out event at the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.
“It’s important to be a role model”, says Isabella. “I started my first blog when I was 14 when I moved out of home by myself. My followers have been with me for the entire journey. They’ve seen me going from nothing, being bullied at school, having acne, and I started my own company together with Pingis.
Today, it’s the fastest growing Swedish beauty company. I think being transparent, that they can see the entire journey, and being very honest about all sides in life. To show that anything is possible, and I think people love to follow other positive people”, Isabella explains.
“What you see with Isabella is that she dares to open up her life – it’s not the perfect, polished just beautiful images”, says Pingis. “It’s that as well, but it’s all the content behind, and you really get to follow a real person that you can relate to.” In business circles, they are relatively young. Isabella Löwengrip is only 28 and started a beauty blog when she was in her mid-teens. Being a leading influencer, her advice on how to handle negativity, ridicules and detractors is useful.
“If I get a hundred comments, and maybe ten of them would say that I’m too fat, or something about my skin… They can find anything [negative to say], and I think a lot of women maybe focus on the bad ten instead of thinking about the 90 positives”, she says.
“I don’t care about what people are saying. And maybe that’s my biggest strength in life. I NEVER care. I just want to be happy and run our business together, and travel and make people glow”. The bit about making people glow is a light-hearted way to slip in a little promotion of their latest product.
The tight connection between these two powerhouses is noticeable. Discussing the importance of open communication and honesty, Pingis Hadenius says they’ve never had an argument in all the years working together. “Of course we discuss things, but there’s never an emotional side to it. It’s never private, it’s always professional, what’s best for the business. Say I walked into [this event] here, and Isabella said, ‘What are you wearing, this is not the right outfit’. I’d just think ‘Ok that’s probably not good for the business’, and I’d just change my outfit. We can be so open and honest with each other”.
The two Löwengrip Beauty AB founders sparkle with enthusiasm, keen to share their story of entrepreneurial success and valuable start-up advice. The audience is even treated to the true story about their business partnership. “We
“You get something out of every relationship” adds Hadenius. “I noticed straight away how direct you are, and I love that myself. I remember sending you an email saying – Let’s write a book together, and you were like, OK!”
Writing their book on financial literacy, Economista, they set the tone for their future working arrangement.
Hadenius manages the business and sales, while Löwengrip’s role is mainly to be in charge of product development and the whole brand building. “You have to do what you love because every day is a struggle. You have to do what you’re passionate about.”