and the winners of the 2018 Swedish Australian Business Awards are

The winners of this year’s Awards were presented at the Chamber’s Annual Christmas & Awards Event 29 November 2018. The event attracted 150 members and guests from the Swedish Australian business community. The evening included a Swedish School Lucia performance, a special music performance by The Marais Project, Swedish Christmas buffet,
 presentation by guest speaker Ms Emma Walsh, CEO Parents At Work and the announcement of the 2018 Swedish Business in Australia award winners:
1. Excellence in Business Enterprise
2. Excellence in Innovation
3. Excellence in Small Business
4. Young Business Executive/Young Entrepreneur
5. The Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce Honorary Award
read more here…/

Successful SACC Perth WA Event about Mining Innovation 23 October

SACC Perth | Thank you to everyone who attended the Mining Innovation Breakfast Q&A in Perth 23 October. Special thanks to the event sponsors, DB Schenker and Metzke and to the Embassy of Sweden for co-hosting this event. Attendees included HE Pär Ahlberger, Professor Göran Roos, panelists Hayley Ford, Shaiful Ali, Mikael Arthursson, and Timothy Few. The panel discussion was moderated by SACC board member Joseph Olsson, Principal, Business Development, SSAB. Topics included:

  • Digital and automation solutions and how they can support miners in achieving improved productivity
  • Analytics and data systems and how they can make mining smart
  • How collaborations between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), miners, government and academia can deliver technological innovations in Australia
  • Opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs to support the ongoing transformation in the mining industry


The mining industry – one of Australia’s most important sectors

The mining industry is one of Australia’s most important sectors bringing investment opportunities, jobs, taxes and wealth to the Australian economy. Göran Fredrik Göransson founded the Swedish global engineering company Sandvik in Sweden in 1862; today it specialises in mining and rock excavation, metal-cutting and materials technology. Being a major actor in one of Australia’s key industries comes with a lot of responsibility in terms of sustainability. Pictured below is Figge Boksjö, Chairman of SACC Perth, Philippa Purdy, Store Manager at H&M Perth and Stuart Evans, Head of Environment, Health and Safety at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, at SACC Perth’s Conscious Business event held on May 16.

SACC Perth teamed up with H&M for a Sustainable Business event in May 2018

In 1947, the Swedish multinational clothing-retail company H&M opened its first store in Västerås, Sweden. Sixty-seven years later, their doors opened for the first time on the Australian continent. Being a global fashion brand in one of the biggest industries in the world comes with a lot of responsibility in terms of sustainability. On H&M’s website, the company acknowledges that the fashion industry uses more resources than the planet allows. In the work towards a more sustainable future, the company introduced a garment collecting initiative in 2013 called Closing the Loop. The program encourages customers to bring in their old items to H&M stores for them to be recycled, reused or re-worn, giving garments a 100% circular lifetime. Since initiating the program, the company has collected more than 55,000 tonnes of garments. Read more about the impressive work on H&M’s website: Thank you very much for hosting our Sustainable Business networking event on May 16 in Perth @hmaustralia.


SACC Perth WA – Strengthening business ties

Figge Boksjo says Swedish business values are well respected.

Photo: Attila Csaszar Strengthening business ties

Author: Matt Mckenzie

Published: Wednesday, 21 March, 2018

Two new business groups plan to strengthen Western Australia’s economic links with innovative overseas economies, with the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce and WA Singapore Business Connect opening Perth chapters.

Figge Boksjo, who is chair of the WA branch of the Swedish Chamber, told Business News the organisation would join with the local embassy and trade council to enable and engage Swedish-Australian businesses.

It is the third Swedish business chapter in Australia, joining a branch in Melbourne and the original in Sydney, which has operated for more than a century.

Some of the best-known members of the WA chapter, which opened earlier this month, are homewares retailer Ikea, fashion store H&M, carmaker Volvo and conglomerate Saab, Mr Boksjo said.

More than any one company, however, there was an overarching theme about the way the country did business, he said.

“Being Swedish, most of them tap into Swedish business ethics and the values Swedes are hopefully famous for,” Mr Boksjo said.

Those included diversity, non-discrimination and sustainability, while he said Bloomberg had ranked Sweden as the world’s second most innovative nation.

WA Singapore Business Connect will have a distinctive advantage when it launches next month, according to vice-president Henry Heng.

“The most Singaporeans living outside Singapore are actually in Perth,” Mr Heng told Business News.

Singapore was also one of the state’s largest trading partners, he said, with WA retaining a trade office in that country.

“There is a lot of opportunity to build on Singaporean relations,” Mr Heng said.

However, existing international business chambers (see list) have not been immune to the impact of the state’s economic downturn.

For the American Chamber of Commerce, the focus has been on diversifying its offering, including through an office move, according to general manager WA Penelope Williamson.

“It has been very hard to keep people as members throughout the downturn,” Ms Williamson told Business News.

She said the chamber had taken a new facility at 44 St Georges Terrace, with an expanded space including a members’ lounge.

That will be available for members, particularly from smaller, suburban business, to use for meetings.

One key program for the association’s 284 members was a series of three trade missions, including sending delegations to the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, which it has done now for 20 years.

At the Western Australian Croatian Chamber of Commerce, membership softened a bit during the downturn according to treasurer Dennis Yagmich, although there is real interest from Croatia’s business and political community to expand ties overseas.

While trade delegations are among the offerings available to members of the Croatian chamber, it participates in an annual T20 cricket competition in Croatia, run by members.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Business Association WA president Matthew Clarke said his network had grown in the past four years despite the downturn, reaching around 120 members.

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James Letherbarrow and Anna Alvsdotter have recently been appointed as the new Honorary Consul General of Sweden and Honorary Vice Consul, respectively.

I caught up with both of them at Fika in Manly to discuss their new roles and what we in the Swedish community should know and can expect from them.

Tell us a bit about your backgrounds?

Anna:  I am a freelance journalist and copywriter, living in Australia since 2003. I lived in New Zealand for 10 years, and with stints in England, Belgium and Spain before that. I grew up in Malmö, but Manly is my home now.

James: I’m an accountant by background, and have historically worked as a CFO and HR Director for media/public relations companies. My family has had a long association with Sweden, as my father Roger held the position as Honorary Consul for the last 10 years. Roger used to work for Volvo Australia as in-house counsel and lived in Gothenburg back in 1987. My sister and I stayed in Sydney for our schooling, but we’ve been to Sweden many times, and have enjoyed many Swedish connections over the years.

What do you do as Consuls?

James: We act as Sweden’s official representatives in NSW, with directions from the Embassy in Canberra. We assist business and cultural exchanges and we manage the staff at our office in Cremorne, which handles many enquiries, including visas and passports (to name a few), for both Swedes travelling and living in Australia plus people wanting to move to Sweden.

Anna: Another important aspect of the job is to assist individuals when problems occur, such as deaths, accidents, and crimes. This part of the job is not very visible, and can take up a lot of time.

Do you get paid?

James: No Anna and I do not get paid, our appointments are honorary positions. The Consulate is partially subsidised by the Swedish Embassy in Canberra, which helps provide for office rent and the consulate staff in addition to the revenue we earn as fees (in providing some of our services).

Anna: It’s essentially a time commitment, which we are happy and proud to give.

How did you get the gig?

James: I got to know the Ambassador Pär Ahlberger when my father was awarded an Order of the Polar Star in Stockholm a few years ago. We stayed in touch, and when my father decided to retire, I was very honoured to be asked to take on the appointment.

Anna:  I have been involved with the Swedish community and the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce (SACC) on a paid as well as on a voluntary basis for some time. I feel it’s a great honour and privilege to be asked.

How would you like to engage with the Swedish community?

Anna: We are helping the Embassy with events such as the Raoul Wallenberg exhibition in 2019, and we will keep supporting community organisations such as SACC and SiS, and be of any assistance to Swedes in need.

James: Anna and I have spoken about how we can engage more with the community, which is something we really want to do.  We want to get to know more of the Swedes living permanently in Sydney, and also to be there when Swedes get into trouble, which happens at times unfortunately. As an example, I can remember when my father made weekly visits to young Swedes in prison and hospitals on many occasions, because he wanted to help people in trouble. It consumed a lot of time, and he didn’t have to do it, and yet he got a lot of satisfaction from it. I would like to emulate that.

Any special messages to the Swedes in Sydney and NSW?

James: As I said earlier, we really want to engage with the Swedish community. Let us know when functions or events are on, and if we have the time, we will participate. For example, we both plan to go to the ABBA Festival in Trundle in May. (Editor’s note: And put your events in the Calendar at!)

And if you end up having some serious problem, let us know. While we may not be able to help directly, we can hopefully point you in the right direction for assistance.

Anna: Yes, let us know about your events. James and I look forward to being of service to the Swedish community and to help promoting Swedish business and culture  here in NSW.

A big “Tack” to Anna and James.

It was a pleasure to have a chat over coffee and cinnamon buns at Fika, and I hope this blog has been useful to our subscribers! All comments and feedback welcome.

Johan Hedström, SACC Board Member

The legacy of leaving nothing to no one – Vale Ingvar Kamprad

The news of the passing of Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Ikea this week sent lovers of the furniture super stores into mourning. But the realisation that that one of the world’s wealthiest people had passed away also had those in the legal fraternity around the world looking into the realities of inter-generational wealth transfer.

The concept of passing wealth from one generation to the next, or the wider family should seem like a simple matter. A will, along side some slightly more complex structures generally form an overall plan. However the reality of wealth means the complexities of succession planning generally increase the greater the wealth is. Not only in structure, but in demand by the beneficiaries.

So when we hear in this article from Bloomberg, that the 91-year old Swedish ‘father of flat pack’ removed control of the world-wide furniture behemoth out of his family’s reach, we suddenly have visions of a long line of lawyers queuing up to represent the family.

In Australia, the concept of inter-generational wealth transfer is one that seems to be under-rated by many. The simple conversation between parents, and often adult children can, in more cases than not, resolve any burning issues well before death. But even a will and a solid fireside chat with your folks may not result in a clear cut resolution to the estate. As we all know, emotions are a driving force in many estate-related disputes. And emotions can be at their highest when a wealthy loved one has passed.

As a financial adviser, I hear far too often that “I’ll leave that to them [my children] to sort it out”, when faced with the question of their succession planning. This lack of care, or even emotional detachment, from the transfer of wealth may seem frivolous, but is it more a reflection of reality than naïvity? In other words, “why should I tell them what to do with my wealth when I won’t need it, and they’re just going to fight over it anyway?” The general result being that the deceased chooses not to air their personal wishes for fear of upsetting someone while they are still alive, and the estate ends up in mediation or other legal proceedings to find a resolution.

This lack of care, or even emotional detachment, from the transfer of wealth may seem frivolous, but is it more a reflection of reality than naïvity?

Ingvar Kamprad’s choice to place Ikea in the hands of an independent foundation ensures the business continues to grow and thrive, no longer as a Kamprad family-controlled company, means that Ingvar became a realist many years ago. He removed the opportunity for his family or others to squabble of his fortune, and instead ensured the longevity of his other ‘baby’ for many years to come.

For once emotions come into consideration, the conversation changes to how many generations it takes to dispose of most family wealth. While a story for a different day, some say one generation can ruin it all. Others are a little more forgiving, suggesting it takes two generations to stuff it up. Data has shown that 90% of family wealth is often gone after three generations.

So put out your allen keys and celebrate the life of the founder of your Billy bookcase, knowing that Ingvar Kamprad’s legacy means that your children, and even your grandchildren will one day kit out their first, and perhaps also their last home with the same furniture that you did when you were young. And while you are enjoying another glass of wine and screwing together yet another shelving pack, invite the family over for an ‘Ikea party’ and have a chat about what they want, and expect from their wealth once they have gone.

Robert Carson, SACC Melbourne Board Member