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Embracing innovation

Thanks to well-honed business best practices, Sweden continues to introduce new technologies and novel approaches to achieving energy efficiency and reliability.

| | Aug 15, 2010 | 3:28 pm
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Thanks to well-honed business best practices, Sweden continues to introduce new technologies and novel approaches to achieving energy efficiency and reliability.

Cherif Sayed

Cherif Sayed

Sweden has a long standing as an industrial nation that embraces innovation and globalisation. Relative to our size, Sweden has delivered, and continues to deliver, technological breakthroughs and companies that become world-leading in their fields.

Sweden is, among other things, well-known for its high-standing environmental technology and good environment legislation. Swedish greentech is promoted globally under the concept, SymbioCity (www.symbiocity.org). SymbioCity promotes sustainable urban development, an area where Swedish environmental technology has set a new standard.

Swedish technology solutions are characterised by energy efficiency. To mention one example, Sweden is the world leader in district heating, and 89% of Swedish district heating is based on energy that would otherwise have gone to waste. Sweden is also a pioneering country in district cooling, with the first plant in operation since 1992. These verified and successfully implemented solutions are of great potential also for the future development of the Middle East region. Swedish greentech firms can offer cost-efficient modern solutions, consultancy, training, services and high-tech green products to the Middle Eastern market.

A great acknowledgment of innovative solutions from Swedish technology companies was the nomination of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, as the first European Green Capital for 2010. The European Green Capital Award is given to a city that has a record of achieving high environmental standards, is committed to ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices in other European (and other worldwide) cities.

The Swedish Minister for Trade, Dr Ewa Björling, has made the Middle East a priority region for Sweden and has visited the region many times to facilitate and encourage business partnerships and business relations between Sweden and the Middle East. In addition, Dr Björling specifically supports the development of sustainable building and environmentally friendly technologies; as a result, the Swedish Minster has started several initiatives to facilitate the exchange of ideas, technology and know-how with countries in the Middle East.

The role of the Swedish Trade Council is to promote Swedish trade and industry in the entire region. We assist companies by providing strategic advice and hands-on support. In other words, we essentially provide all services required to establish a company and its products or services in the Middle East. We have been present in the region for over 30 years and, at this point in time, the Swedish Trade Council has four offices around the region. In order to increase business contacts between Swedish and foreign companies, we among other things, arrange bilateral events, such as seminars and match-making events. Furthermore, we work closely with the Swedish embassies in the region. The Swedish Trade Council also carries out assignments directed to support small-sized companies with their international business development, as Swedish companies, with new environmentally friendly technology solutions, often are relatively small and have limited experience of export business.

In order to facilitate the transfer of technology and knowledge as well as best practices to the region, the Swedish Trade Council carries out different kinds of activities. One example is the plan to establish a House of Sweden in the middle of Masdar City. The House of Sweden will be a one-stop shop for the Swedish cleantech and sustainable building industry in the Middle East region. By gathering Swedish cleantech companies under one roof together with the Swedish Trade Council, House of Sweden will increase awareness about Swedish cleantech products, solutions and knowledge.

Another example is our cooperation with ABB; the Swedish leading power and automation technology company. The Swedish Trade Council is cooperating with ABB in the UAE, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme. Every year, ABB will sponsor two promising UAE national students to complete a master’s degree in electrical engineering. This will give UAE engineers a unique opportunity to develop their engineering skills and industry knowledge at one of the largest and most prestigious technical universities in Sweden. The programme will ensure that students will have the skills needed to succeed in the industry when they return to this region. The programme has also been carried out in Saudi Arabia.

I hope this special Sweden report will increase the awareness about the innovative nature and potential of Swedish greentech and VACR solutions in the region.

By Cherif Sayed, Head of Swedish Trade Council – UAE & Egypt

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