Q&A with Malin Hedlund, Founder of MHLeadership
Malin Hedlund started as a leadership trainer in Sweden, 1995. During her many years of experience from multiple projects she found that most managers had not reached their potential despite their desire to grow in their professional development. This led to MHLeadership where Malin work with people who believe that they have more to give as a leader and as a person, and who are willing to be gently but steadily pulled outside their comfort zones. This year’s Business Women Leadership program is the fifth one together with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, what is your experience of the past programs? Yes, I believe it is! My experience is that it is high engagement amongst the women who participate. My experience is that it is needed because they want a platform and a space to get together to discuss the things that they don’t discuss elsewhere. It has grown and my experience is also that it is a core group that always comes back and has participated for almost all five years actually. So we have several of the women that I have seen there almost every time, every year, so that is incredible! Who should join and why? I believe women should join if they are ambitious and hardworking and sometimes struggling to get everything in place and to have a balanced life. Also, if they want to learn more about how to flourish themselves to more of what they are. Women who work on themselves, personal development, leadership development, they have bigger success. Because they grow in areas that they don’t even think that they can grow in. What can businesswomen achieve by participating in the program? I would say they will get greater awareness about their own health and they will make choices to be empowered, fulfilled and healthy. Many companies do not have Women Leadership Programs of their own, what is your advice to these companies and how can they profit by enrolling their Women Leaders to this program? When companies have women in leadership positions, and actually this is more about top positions, the company itself have a greater profit. They have done a lot of studies on that. Also another study that I just read says that women benefit from leadership development designed exclusively for women leaders. Because the challenges women face are different from men’s, and when they have an opportunity to get together and talk about their aspirations, how to overcome barriers that they face and build confidence they expand into higher levels. That is another big thing, so when they have this type of program they expand to become this, maybe, executive leader in the company. They can see that companies that have women leaders also have employees that are happier because women are more, not always, purpose-driven and speaks to the individuals. The focus on 2020’s program is health, why do you find this topic important? For me it is crucial! I think the best way to explain it is that if the foundation of everything, we have heard this before, is that if you don’t have your health, you have nothing. You can’t build a house without the foundation and here health is the foundation. When you have it, when you are well, and thriving, magic will happen. Not just physically but also mentally and I have so many examples of executive leaders, how they have grown into different positions thanks to that they have been working on their health with me. What is the difference with this program in comparison with earlier programs? If you have attended earlier Swe-Cham Business Women Leadership Programs, is it still a gaining experience? Absolutely you can gain! I would say that the big difference here is that in the past programs we have been focusing a lot on tools and skills to be able to, for example, communicate when you have a difficult person. There has been a lot of tools for managing those types of things. Now it is about getting more knowledge about your health and understanding why health and wellbeing and prioritizing yourself first is important to be a sustainable leader. The focus is on themselves this year. From your point of view, how is the partnership together with the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and do you think it is important for the Chamber to have a Women Leadership Program? The partnership we have had for five years now and I think it is very enriching and expanding. What I love about working with you is that you are very professional and always forward-thinking. It is a forward-thinking organization, it’s always evolving. We try to find new ways of facilitating this Women Leadership Program so it is something new every year, different angles at least. It seems like the Chamber needs this program because last year when we asked “Do you still want it, do you think it is important?” all participants said yes. It is a platform for women in Holland to discuss specific topics and the needs that they have that are unique for women. And the Swedish Chamber is a great example of how we support women to grow into different roles.
Karin Jironet book release – Feminine Leadership: Personal Development Beyond Polarities
Prof. Dr. Karin Jironet, member of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, is an expert on leadership as well as a Jungian psychoanalyst with a background in theology. She guides leaders and executive groups, tapping into culture, communication, and mindset, as she applies spiritual principles to organisational transformation, boardroom dynamics, and individual leadership development. Karin is also an internationally published author of books and articles on new approaches to organisational development and the daily practice of leadership. Her new book “Feminine Leadership: Personal Development Beyon Polarities”  was just released. It illustrates how contemporary leaders may seek to renew the very notion of leadership through their own personal development. In an accessible and engaging style, Karin Jironet demonstrates the process of personal transformation using Dante’s seven sins and virtues, explains the value of psychology and spirituality for leadership roles, and presents a pioneering and refreshed vision of leadership that meets present global demands for social cohesion and sustainability. Read more & purchase the book here:    
Cancellation Urbanisation Forum March 10, 2020
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce regrets to inform you that the Urbanization Forum on March 10, 2020, has been canceled. Due to recommendations regarding the Coronavirus from various employers and competent authorities not to travel abroad unless absolutely necessary,  the travel plans for our international speakers have been canceled.   This is a stressful and concerning time for many and we want to continue to support our members in the best way we can and therefore we hope to facilitate the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Urbanization Forum at a later date. You will receive a credit note for your participation fee and if you have already paid the payment will be transferred back to your bank account.
Q&A with Patrick Mesterton, CEO and Co-Founder of Epicenter
Epicenter, a community of digital scale-ups, corporates, intrapreneurs, and entrepreneurs was founded in Stockholm in 2015 by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Today Epicenter is located in the heart of Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki and in Amsterdam. Epicenter offers unique methods to supercharge innovation and growth, weekly member activities and work- and event spaces. The concept and development of Epicenter rise from the founding team’s extensive knowledge in bringing up companies that are digitally innovative and increasingly impactful. Epicenter Amsterdam was launched in May 2018. How has the development of Epicenter Amsterdam been compared to your expectations? “I think in general it has been very rapid growth. In less than 1,5 year we have grown from zero members to over a hundred and from zero events to over two hundred events last year. Today in total we are over a thousand people in the building so of course a lot of things have happened. And compared to expectations, it has gone really, really well but a little bit slower than the Swedish build up. But Sweden was also five years ago, it’s a very different market situation in Sweden versus here, the locations are different and in Sweden we had a lot more time to prepare, we had about 1,5 years before we opened. Here it was a very, sort of rushed opening due to the opportunity that we caught. So here we did everything in three months. But if I look in terms of customer satisfaction and the energy in the building it has been far above expectations.” How do you make a digital innovation house like Epicenter work? “We are focusing on a few main things. Epicenter is about its members primarily, so it’s about the community and making the people in the community engage with each other. Our value proposition with this company is to help companies grow and innovate. Especially within digital because we think building new digital companies are very important for future economic growth. So we try to work with digital topics that we know are affecting our members and that they care about. That is why we run a lot of community events, that’s one thing we do to help. The other part we do is in the selection process of finding the companies that we want to join us. We try to look at what these companies can add in terms of value to the other members. What type of knowledge do they have? What type of technology do they have? So that they bring something tangible to the building as an added value. The same thing of course goes for how they can contribute to the community because they are the true competence partners and drivers. So we look at what new companies can add and also ask everyone already here what kind of companies they would like to see more of so we can also tangibly find companies to match them with and help them grow. The third thing we do is that we are very curious about technology so we like to explore technology as such in the building. Therefore we host a lot of events such as digital safaris where we have a lot of technology that companies, not only talk about but can use and play around with and elaborate with. The fourth thing we do is that we have built this building also from a very strong technology standpoint. So we work with a building app that controls everything from access control to the rooms, to signing up to events. But we also monitor everything in the building with censors so we can follow how the climate is, which seats are being used, where people are in the building at any point in time. In this way, we can not only optimize the community building but we can also use this information for a cleaning standpoint, for a health care standpoint in terms of air quality and other things like that. So we have many dimensions where we work with digital.” How can Swedish companies expanding to the Dutch market (Amsterdam) profit by establishing their business at Epicenter? “Good question. What we are is, of course, a sort of platform, a gateway for companies to grow and go international. The big value here is that if you come as a Swedish company and you want to establish in the Netherlands, we have basically a ready platform and a rolled out red carpet for you and an infrastructure in place that allows you to rapidly build your company. So, not only can we get you a very flexible type of office solution but we can also start helping you set up your company very tangible with doing the first couple of customer calls for you. We can set up meetings, we can do matchmaking for you, we can help to register your company at the KvK for example. And we can help with recruitment and things like that, because all of those elements, all those added services are established in the building. So we have helped a Swedish app company to get their first clients here. We work on a big project now with Vattenfall, where we help them set up their whole infrastructure where we manage company registration etc. Salt is another company we brought from Sweden which is now helping us to build a value proposition towards talents etc. This is how we want Epicenter to work and that is three good examples.” What is the next step for Epicenter? “Obviously we would like to continue growing. We believe that if we build these local eco-systems in markets that are relevant for our expanding clients, then we can help them with more value but we can also constantly add more interesting companies to our community. So we are a sort of adamant to find new business opportunities internationally. Our strategy is to go to capital cities in Europe, preliminary A-markets as we call them. We are very interested in Germany right now and we are also very interested in the UK and those types of markets. Because looking at how scale-up companies want to grow  these are markets of high interest because that can propel their business.” From your point of view, how is the partnership between Epicenter and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce? “To be honest it is a very, very good partnership. We have worked together since the early days when we opened Epicenter. We got an introduction to your General Manager through a mutual contact and since then we both saw the value, not only because we are Swedish, but through the platform that we have here with the competence, the knowledge, and our event spaces. So we have worked very actively in a sort of cooperation around knowledge sharing and helping propel both Swedish and Dutch businesses to each other. We are really working as competence partners, we are members of the Chamber and the Chamber is a member of Epicenter and we co-organize a lot of events. So we have a really good and strong partnership and we have also reached out to a lot of other Nordic countries and other Chambers with this as a model for them to explore on their markets. It has been a very successful partnership!” By Linn Hodell, Swedish Chamber of Commerce  
Meetings about #NordicTalk and upcoming Eurovision event
Last week we had two very successful and exciting meetings with Swedish fika. We discussed upcoming #NordicTalk about sustainable fashion and food together with the Nordic Chambers in preparation for the next #NordicTalks on October 8, 2020. We also discussed the possibilities for Nordic presence during the Eurovision Song Contest that will be held in Rotterdam in May. Together with Digit by Poetfarmer, FDCC, YP Nordics and the Swedish Church in the NL we discussed great possibilities for collaboration and fun events for Eurovision lovers! Stay tuned for more information.
Company visit at Inter IKEA Group
On Wednesday, February 19, we were very pleased to meet with the new CEO of Inter IKEA Group, Jon Abrahamsson Ring for a great talk about Inter IKEA Group, leadership, sustainability and collaborations. The interview will be published in the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Annual Review 2019 distributed to all members in April 2020.
News from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Sweden
On Thursday the 13th of February the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Sweden held their Annual General Meeting at the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm. At this meeting, Chairman Maarten Merckx resigned as Chairman and board member after almost 10 years leading the Dutch Chamber and Els Berkers was chosen as the new Chair. The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands would like to thank Maarten for the excellent and pleasant collaboration during these years. We are also very pleased to congratulate Els Berkers and wish her lots of success. We are looking forward to continuing the good cooperation with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce for the years to come.
News from the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm
In the Annual Report presented of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce we can also read that Mrs. Ines Coppoolse Ambassador of the Netherlands to Sweden, after 5 years in Sweden, now will  start preparing for a new challenge as the Dutch Ministerial Council has decided to nominate her as the next Ambassador to Canada. The new Ambassador of the Netherlands to Sweden taking over in August will be Mr. Bengt van Loosdrecht, who has a Swedish mother and is currently the Dutch Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Ambassador Ines Coppoolse for the great collaboration and generous hosting of the Annual Swedish Business Trip to Stockholm every year. We wish her and her family lots of success and prosperity at the new assignment in Canada. We are looking forward to continuing the excellent collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm and to meet with Ambassador Bengt van Loosdrecht.