GRP From Virginia Visits Sweden

November 21, 2011

Seminars with Greater Richmond Partner Partnership in Stockholm and Malmö November 8-10, 2011

This past week (November 8-9) we welcomed representatives from the Greater Richmond Partnership, a long-time partner to SACC-USA, to Stockholm and Malmö. The host of the seminar in Stockholm was Sweden Bio  and they welcomed the participants by introducing the biotech market in Sweden, as SwedenBio is the national organization of biotech companies in Sweden. The Greater Richmond Partnership covered topics such as how to be successful in doing business in the U.S., specifically in the biotech sector.

The Greater Richmond Partnership is a partly private, partly public funded economic development organization for the counties around Richmond, VA. They offer services to domestic and international businesses who seek new business opportunities in the region. This time they visited Sweden, Denmark and the UK during a two-week European tour, and the group consisted of:

Greg Wingfield, CEO at Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP) stated that Virginia is a really “smart” state with many well reputed universities and a high level of education among the labor pool. He also said that polls performed by for example Forbes and CNN indicate that VA is a very business friendly state.

GRP can assist international companies with market analysis, and they have also created a start-up model that includes, among others, a budget for establishing a business. Most important for business is the unique access GRP has to business networks and their ability to open doors for most companies.

Mr. Wingfiled’s presentation also covered the current economic situation in the U.S.  and how capital flows. And it looks promising! It is a positive forecast that consumer’s confidence is returning. Federal stimulus money are still flowing, and most interesting to take into account is that angel investments has increased with 13% this past year, and for venture capitalists a $176 B is committed capital.

A forth of the Angels’ investments are primarily done in the health care service and medical equipment, industry second is the industrial & energy sector (17%), 14 % of the money are invested in biotech, and next is software with 11%. After showing the statistics, Mr. Wingfield shared several insightful tips on what the angel investors are looking for and how an international company should act to attract U.S. private capital. Find the full presentation here.

Nicky Colomb is from the Viginia BioTechnology Research Park. The Park officially opened in December 1995 with the completion of the Virginia BioTechnology Center. This was the state’s first incubator facility dedicated exclusively to the life sciences and is open for international companies to grow as well.

Ms. Colomb spoke about the Virginia Biosciences Commercialization Center (VBCC) who develops and leads implementation of tailored commercialization strategies for later-stage bioscience companies looking to launch their product(s) in U.S. markets.

Thereafter she gave some helpful advice on how a bio-science company can enter the U.S. market. You need to learn about the new market! How will your product fit into the exiting market? Ms. Colomb gave some examples of companies she has worked with and she information on how the regulation system in the U.S. works and who’s doing what. Find her presentation here.

Mr. Doud Sbertoli, an Attorney of Law, was invited to give a brief introduction on how to start up a business in the U.S. and what to keep in mind. Mr. Sbertoli worksat LeClairRyan, a Richmond based law firm. To get a contract in the U.S. it sometimes requires having an U.S. entity – some kind of legal operation in the country. There are also several advantages having an U.S. entity when it comes to tax consequences and for structure investments. An U.S. lawyer can guide you through the legal paperwork and also advice depending on your business situation and find the entity that best suits your organization.

Mr. Sbertoli also spoke about risk management, the importance of Intellectual Property and what the state administration requires according to the law and contracts. The U.S.  consists of 50 states that have different laws and regulations, ease of doing business and tax regulations. This is important to keep in mind when setting up your business in a certain area/state. Find his presentation here.

The delegation from Virginia also consisted of Toney Hall from Henrico County, where for example Alfa Laval has their Head Quarters, and Heather Wells and Andrew Hartfoot who works at GRP’s London office offering their services for European companies trying to reach the Virginia market.

The delegation continued to Malmo to give their presentations to interested parties there. They will end their Scandinavian tour with visits in Copenhagen.


SwedenBio is a member organization for Swedish life science companies the main objective is to improve and maintain industry conditions which will support prosperous growth and business development among their, today, 190 member companies. The members are active in all sectors ranging from R&D, biotech, medtech to pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and biotech tools to service providers as CROs.

The Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce in Sweden is a non-for-profit organization working with the umbrella organization in promoting and developing the trade and exchange between Sweden and the U.S. We serve our members in a wide range of industries and together with 19 regional Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce across the U.S. we can offer a strong business network consisting of people in all levels from the private and public sector, academia and investors.


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