During the week of March 7th, a delegation from the U.S. visited Sweden in conjunction with Access Seminars held in Västerås and Gothenburg. The delegation was made up of Swedes now living in the U.S. as well as Americans who all have extensive experience from the clean tech industry in the U.S. Their mission was to inform Swedish clean tech companies about business opportunities in the United States. The seminars were entitled “How to do Business in the U.S. Clean Tech Market?”
On March 8th, the delegation was invited by the Östsvenska and Mälardalen’s Chambers of Commerce to the Aros Congress Center in Västerås. The seminar attracted 35 participants. Viveka Wahlstedt, Past Chairman of SACC-USA, was the moderator. She started off saying that the world’s best transmission lights come from Västerås! By asking participants to share their experiences from the U.S., Viveka established an important networking atmosphere during the seminar. Catharina Kronström, representing the American Embassy in Sweden, talked about how the Embassy can assist companies interested in accessing the U.S. market and also highlighted some good examples of collaboration and exchange between the U.S. and Sweden through the Swedish American Green Alliance (SAGA).
Two days later, the program was repeated in Gothenburg as part of the Business Accelerator Program project. This was the second time in a year that SACC invited companies in the Gothenburg area to a seminar focusing on the U.S. clean tech market. Over 40 attendees came to the lovely 1800-century decorated conference rooms at Business Region Göteborg to talk about doing business in the U.S. Per Carlsson, ABioNova, discussed how he has built up his company’s presence in Minnesota and how patience, a clear focus on the goal, and a good network have all been very important. After the conference, several participants took the opportunity to meet with the speakers in one-on-one matchmaking meetings.
The main seminar topics were:
• The importance of having the right business partner in the U.S.
• The checklist – what to have in mind; legal aspects, cultural differences and ways to raise capital.
• The next step – where to set up business, differences in various clean tech industries and geographic regions.
The speakers shared their experience, insight and knowledge about the clean tech market and provided both a broad picture as well as hands-on practical advice for how a Swedish company can succeed in the U.S. and their most important points were:
• Tim Meyer, DirectNU Energy. There is no way to enter the U.S. in a homogeneous way. Set expectations and make sure to find your niche and your match, do your homework, and find unconventional channels and customers like university campuses and the military. Get American advisors who know your new market.
• Lena Malmberg, LM Broking. Prepare your written and printed materials (none of the attending companies interested in export could state that their material is ready for the U.S.).
• Richard Weiner, Fredrikson & Byron P.A. discussed the various forms of partnership including licensees, subsidiary and distributor, and described the advantages and disadvantages of each.
• Marianne Ericsson, Carnegie Worldwide. After giving an overview of where investments and incentives are to be found within different areas of renewable energy, she suggested establishing your business in a ”cold spot” – why be where everyone else is?
• Seth Obetz, Amerigreen, showed not-so-promising statistics over the demand and supply of energy usage but said that the Renewable Portfolio Standard implemented in Pennsylvania promises to decrease the use of energy from non-renewable energy sources.
All presentations from the seminar can be downloaded here.
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