In today’s financial climate, companies should boost their international position by leveraging the strengths that are inherent to the region’s life science eco system and to the Nordic work culture in general.
The air was practically buzzing with energy at Nordic Life Science Days 2022 (NLSDays) in Malmö, in September. The appetite for meeting in person was immense, after so many cancelled and postponed gatherings during the period of stringent pandemic restrictions.
No wonder we saw a record-breaking year across the board. As the organizer of NLSDays, we at SwedenBIO were pleased to welcome the largest ever number of delegates – more than 1,500 – as well as the highest number of investors, partnering meetings, and exhibitors.
What’s more, the split between Nordic and international delegates was 55% versus 45%, showcasing the increasing visibility of the Nordics as a life science region and laying the groundwork for international partnering and deal-making.
“During NLSDays, the eagerness to meet, discuss, and develop collaborations seemed endless, despite packed days and late nights. This willingness to come together will become more crucial than ever moving forward.”
During NLSDays, the eagerness to meet, discuss, and develop collaborations seemed endless, despite packed days and late nights. This willingness to come together will become more crucial than ever moving forward.
For many years, we’ve lived in a world where business, partnerships, and knowledge exchange have been less and less dependent on geography. Recently, however, the world around us has been marked by war, increasing populism and protectionism, and jittery global markets.
“In many companies across Sweden and the Nordics, boards and executive teams are bracing for what looks like a long and harsh winter to come.”
In many companies across Sweden and the Nordics, boards and executive teams are bracing for what looks like a long and harsh winter to come. As a small country, the Swedish krona is weakening against other global currencies. This adds extra strain on the economy, but there are always two sides of a coin. When the Swedish currency depreciates, investment in Swedish companies becomes really good business for foreign investors. As the going gets tough, it’s more important than ever to leverage both the strengths that companies have internally and the strengths that are inherent to the life science eco system in the Nordics.
We also do well to remember that we have something that others don’t, that can help us move forward in uncertain times. We have a stable foundation for innovation in life sciences, built on assets that aren’t directly impacted by financial market movements. These assets include a highly educated population, universal healthcare, well-developed data and patient registries, and a high level of trust in our political institutions, to name but a few.
“The culture of co-creation that exists in Sweden and the Nordics provides optimal conditions for the emergence of sustainable innovation, as well as a sense of accountability and trust between stakeholders.”
Nordic companies leverage the advantages that come from a work culture characterized by low barriers to collaboration between colleagues, companies, and across borders. The culture of co-creation that exists in Sweden and the Nordics provides optimal conditions for the emergence of sustainable innovation, as well as a sense of accountability and trust between stakeholders.
What we often see within the cross section of the life science ecosystem that is represented in SwedenBIO’s member base is that there’s a high degree of willingness to offer a helping hand and learn from one another. Bigger, more experienced companies are willing to offer their insights and wisdom to younger companies, and companies struggling with similar issues are able to draw on the experiences of each other.
However, a knack for self-promotion is not among our many advantages in this part of the world. We need to rid ourselves of the modesty that’s deeply rooted in the Nordic psyche. If we want to take advantage of the current situation, and if we wish to attract global investments and further establishment of international businesses in the Nordics, we need to get much better at taking credit for our immense innovative power and the potential that lies in the region’s many strengths.
“To lock down stable partnerships, we recognize that visibility is a prerequisite when it comes to drawing international business to our companies and life-science ecosystem.”
Besides collaboration and a sound business acumen, international partnering will be key as we weather the storms that lie ahead. To lock down stable partnerships, we recognize that visibility is a prerequisite when it comes to drawing international business to our companies and life-science ecosystem. As an industry organization, we will as always continue to work for improved exposure for our companies and to create international platforms where people can gather.
With Nordic Life Science Days 2022 wrapped up, we’re already gearing up for JP Morgan in San Francisco in January, and have our aim locked on NLSDays 2023 in Copenhagen in November next year.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Text by Frida Lawenius, Interim Director General, SwedenBIO