Name / Title
Case Study Region
Övre Norrland, Sweden
Main activity / focus
Supporting business development by supporting development of international and local/regional networks among entrepreneurs born outside of Sweden
Target beneficiaries / market
Entrepreneurs born outside of Sweden currently running business in Sweden
2010 (first network in case study area started in 2010, networks in other parts of Sweden started before)
Current Funding source(s)
Swedish trade council (partly public) in cooperation with other public business support organisations
Swedish trade council supports the start up of the networks
Kosmopolit is a project initiated by the Swedish government in 2009. The overarching goal is to make use of the specific knowledge that entrepreneurs with foreign backgrounds possess. This group of businessmen have good knowledge in business culture, politics, language and religion in countries they have previously lived and the aim is to make use of this.
The project rests on two legs; regional networks among entrepreneurs born in countries other than Sweden as well as an internet based knowledge bank.
The Swedish trade council has been given the task of supporting the start up of a number of regional networks among entrepreneurs born outside of Sweden. Five networks spread over Sweden have been developed so far and a few more are about to start/ have just been initiated. A large share, about 40 %, of the businesses involved in the network is already exporting today. A high number is also receiving support and guidance from the Swedish trade council in developing their exports. The work with developing the networks is carried out in cooperation with other public support organisations, both national and ones with regional offices. Each network has between 50 and 150 member firms.
No public funding is directed at supporting the networks. The only support given comes from the trade council initiating three initial meetings with entrepreneurs interested in taking part in the network and offering some guidance in the upstart process. In the interview with a representative from the regional office in Luleå of the Swedish trade council the interviewee stressed that the role of the council is not to act as leaders of the networks but merely to assist in the start up phase. The ambition is to develop independent networks. (Interview with Erik Hagenrud, Swedish trade council, 2010.12.02) Once they are started they can of course also make use of the general support (e.g. Steps to export) offered by the trade council.
The project is focused on developing international business relations and the following methods are prioritised:
According to the interviewee common experiences regarding problems in finding ways into already existing Swedish networks, and in running businesses in Sweden in general among entrepreneurs born outside of Sweden has turned out to be a strong driver in the development of these networks.
A strength of the networks developed has been the positive attitudes among participating entrepreneurs and the potential gains they have seen. The interest in taking part has been high. Within the networks activities such as common business trips to different countries one/some of the participants have knowledge about have for example been carried out. All activities are based in the initiatives of participants.
There is one network developing in Övre Norrland. The city of Umeå and the surrounding rural municipalities are mainly involved, but all entrepreneurs born outside of Sweden running a business in Övre Norrland are welcome to take part.