This spring semester five Swedish clean tech companies were given the opportunity to get help from a handpicked group of 22 MBA students from George Washington University to find their way. This unique collaboration between Swedish companies and US academia grounded in the course ‘Technology and Marketing Strategy: The Swedish Experience’ has given all parties a deeper insight in the US clean tech market.
The GW students have developed customized marketing strategies how the Swedish companies will succeed with their products on the US market. The clients were ClimateWell, Swebo Bioenergy, I-Tech, IB Cleaning, and Taurus Energy, all selected out of SACCs network. The final destination on the journey for the class was to go to Sweden, meet with the company representatives and present the final results of the projects.
After using modern telecommunications, the students and their Professor, Sweden native Anna Helm, finally met up with the companies on May 10th at the IDEON Science Park in Lund. Also while in Sweden, the students experienced some great company visits at Tetra Pak, Vestas, Schneider Electric, Öresundsverket, and Sustainability Hub in Skåne.
On Wednesday, May 19th they visited Chalmers University of Technology and the MORE institution- Management of Organizational Renewal and Entrepreneurship. On their way to Gothenburg they also made a stop at the IKEA Headquarters to hear about their sustainability program.
The final presentation of the marketing projects took place at Scandic Crown Hotel in Gothenburg on Thursday, May 20, in a closed session with the clients. Each student team had 45 minutes at their disposal to present their recommendations and address any questions or concerns from the client representatives. The following day SACC-USA and GW co-organized a CleanTech Symposium which was generously hosted by partner company I-Tech. The George Washington University Global MBA students, their clients, representatives from SACC-USA and guests had gathered taking part of the results and listen to the students and companies expressing their lessons from and development during the project.
After a short introduction by Anna Helm, Professor GW University, and Gunilla Girardo, president SACC-USA, the teams and their clients briefly presented the marketing strategies and shared their experiences. Both parts were extremely satisfied with the results and what they had learned in the process.
The companies particularly valued the students’ creativity, broad competence and ability to grasp the concept and technology in such short amount of time.
The teams work offered a great insight in the American market and the different opportunities and difficulties the companies will face when emerging on the US market. They brought a commercial view, but also a political perspective into their marketing strategies.
The students found it priceless to combine their theoretical education, previous experiences with practice and actually put together a real life product. The project provided hands-on experience in an international environment where they had to manage the time difference and the distance in the best way possible.
SACC-USA would like to thank everyone involved in this project, in particular the hosts in Sweden, and hopes that this will become a recurring project where this valuable interchange can continue.
Comments from the MBA Students:
“The framework of the analysis demanded that we conduct a thorough marketing plan, in a condensed period of time, within an industry that we had no prior experience. We also had the unique opportunity to engage in work that presented the logistical challenges of working with a client internationally. Coordinating our client interactions required the use of business tools, such as Skype and video conferencing, and helped us prepare for and understand the cultural barriers that must be overcome in international business.”- Team IB Cleaning, The George Washington University
“Working with our client to write a marketing plan for US market entry has been a very rewarding experience. Our work group was comprised of business professionals from a variety or backgrounds and competencies including marketing, finance and sustainability and so we aimed to create a very practical and cohesive plan for our client. The current political and economic climate in the US presents many opportunities for Swedish CleanTech companies in the US and we hope to see this program continued in the future”- Team Swebo, The George Washington University
“We’ve been fortunate to have a client whose phase of development allows us to really have an impact, which is something that’s pretty exciting. Part of the challenge, and an area in which the class really grew, was learning to interact with businesses in a foreign culture.”-Team Taurus, The George Washington University
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