November 2020
WORDS FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Election night, Tuesday November 3, became more of a cliff hanger on both sides than what was widely anticipated. The pre-election polls had the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden up with a comfortable margin, a more significant margin than what Hillary Clinton had four years ago. It was (the conservative-leaning) Fox News that was first to call an Arizona victory for Joe Biden that evening and, reportedly, spoiling the election party at the White House.  
 
Going to bed on November 3rd, Americans thought that President Donald Trump might be on a path to another four years. There has been suspense ever since.  Even though all the major U.S. news outlets, on Saturday November 7, declared Joe Biden to have the electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Donald Trump has, at this writing, not conceded the election. 
 
The Administrator of the General Service Administration, Emily Murphy, has not signed the paperwork required to start the transition to a new presidential administration, nor has the republican senate leadership come out in support of such a transition. December 8, 2020 is the deadline to contest a state election result and December 14, 2020 is when the Electoral College votes. Until then, we are headed for a ballot recount in Georgia and other legal battles.
 
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-president Elect Kamala Harris via Twitter on November 8, but a formal letter has yet to be sent. For those of us old enough to remember, this brings back the 2000 Bush vs. Gore case. We know this kind of political uncertainty is not ideal for business development. But however long the wait, Sweden is well positioned because Swedish businesses have so much to offer the United States, particularly in the areas of infrastructure build-up and sustainability development. Innovation is key and we need to look toward the possibilities ahead!

Personally, I am an optimist, and I want you to know that SACC-USA stands ready to assist all Swedish-American business opportunities.  It is a pleasure to lead a network of 19 regional chambers that are constantly striving to create value for current as well as new members. If you are not already a member in a regional chamber, please sign up!
 


Best regards,
Johan
Johan Marcus
President and Executive Director
(202) 848-5342
INSIGHTS
Team Sweden Report - Reclaiming growth in the US market
Seven out of ten Swedish companies operating in the US have either recovered or are in a recovery phase, this new survey shows. Can the optimistic outlook be sustained as the pandemic rages on? Get perspectives from the ground in the world’s largest economy.

The US is showing promising signs of recovery despite hitting record daily increases in coronavirus infections in recent weeks. The economy grew in the third quarter by 7.4 per cent and in September unemployment dropped to 7.9 per cent, down from a high of 14.7 per cent in April.

To get a sense of the recovery progress and how Swedish companies in the US market are coping with the fall-out of Covid-19, Team Sweden (Business Sweden, The Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce) carried out a follow-up survey among 70 management level executives operating across 20 sectors in all parts of the country.

A clear sense of optimism was echoed by all respondents with seven out of 10 companies reporting they have fully recovered or are in a recovery phase.
Over 25 per cent of Swedish companies confirm their performance is back at pre-pandemic levels, and one out of ten respondents have expanded their business during the pandemic.

The fastest pace of recovery can be detected in business services, energy, infrastructure, transportation and automotive. Nonetheless, the survey shows that 15 per cent of Swedish companies in the US have yet to enter the recovery phase with sectors such as materials and mining and consumer products and services lagging far behind.

This report outlines the findings based on three focus areas: current state of recovery among Swedish companies; recovery and growth strategies and finally; future commitment to the US market including respondents’ views on business impacts of the presidential election. 

Download the report for a full presentation of the US survey results.  
“Guesses upon guesses”: National polls fall short again in 2020, raising red flags for future contests
The US election that took place on November 3rd turned out to be a closer call than national polls suggested it would be. What first looked like a landslide ended up being another scramble for electors. As the vote counting continued into Saturday, Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes finally put Joe Biden above the 270 votes needed to become the 46th president of the United States.
 
The clear underestimation of Trump’s support in many states has raised questions about the reliability of campaigns, the press and public surveys that report on the race. This was already prominent in the 2016 election, and the story has now repeated itself in 2020.

A Washington Post article refers to a review of polling numbers conducted in 10 key states when more than 85 percent of the vote was counted. The review shows that public polls underestimated Trump’s vote margin by about 4.5 percentage points on average, which was similar to the size of errors in key states four years ago. Polls in some states told a more accurate story about the turnout than others.

Nate Cohn, domestic correspondent at the New York Times, elaborates on what the polls got wrong in this election. Cohn suggests that “the resistance broke the polls”, or that the portrayal of increased political participation among progressives was a reason the polls fell short, since politically engaged voters are more likely to respond to these types of surveys. Another important factor that was not reflected in the polls is the vote in rural America, that turned out to be a lot similar to the 2016 election. A third factor of importance was the surprising swing towards Trump in, for instance, Hispanic areas.

Both articles show how polls can have a major effect on candidate fundraising and the trajectory of the race. Ultimately, polls are a “science of estimation”, or a way of “piling guesses upon guesses upon ­guesses”, but might be falsely interpreted by the public and impact their voting patterns.    

Read the full New Yorker article here and the Washington Post article here.
NEWS
While the pandemic wrecked some businesses, others did fine. Even great.
Third-quarter financial results suggest that strong companies have gotten stronger and that some others are in dire straits.

The pandemic has turbocharged profits at some big businesses, like Amazon, which reported a 70 percent increase in earnings in the first nine months of the year. But it has devastated others, like Delta Air Lines, which lost $5.4 billion in just the third quarter.

Perhaps most surprising: Some companies that had feared for their lives in the spring, among them some rental car businesses, restaurant chains and financial firms, are now doing fine — or even excelling.
Amazon’s profits in the first nine months of this year were up 70 percent from a year earlier.
Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times.
Sweden extends pandemic travel warning for non-EU countries into next year
Aircraft parked at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
The Swedish foreign ministry has extended its pandemic-related advisory against non-essential travel to all countries outside the EU, EEA or Schengen area.

As far as the Swedish foreign ministry's travel advice goes (and there may of course be several other reasons not to travel at this stage), Swedish residents can currently travel freely for any reason, including tourism, to all countries in the EU, except from Estonia, Ireland and Latvia.

For Estonia, Ireland and Latvia the warning remains in place until at least November 18th, 2020. And for countries outside the EU, EEA or Schengen area, the advice against non-essential travel was on Monday extended from November 15th, 2020, to January 31st, 2021.
IKEA opens pilot second-hand store in Sweden
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - IKEA, the world’s biggest furniture retailer, will on Monday open a pilot second-hand store for IKEA furniture in Sweden as part of its efforts to reach its 2030 climate targets.

The store in Eskilstuna west of Stockholm will, after the used furniture is repaired or brushed up in an adjacent repair shop, sell the items at below their initial price, IKEA Sweden’s head of sustainability Jonas Carlehed said.

The goods come from municipal recycling centres in the area, where people can donate furniture.

IKEA has a target to be circular - which includes using renewable or recycled material only, and helping customers prolong the life of their products - by 2030.

CORPORATE SPOTLIGHTS
Autoliv - With a Vision to Save More Lives
Meet Mikael Bratt, President and CEO of Autoliv
Autoliv has a long history, going back to 1953, founded in Vårgårda, Sweden. When the company was founded, they mainly manufactured seatbelts. But today, Autoliv is at the forefront of automotive safety technology.

Can you please describe your company Autoliv in short?
Autoliv develops, manufactures and markets airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels. Our products are sold to all leading car manufacturers worldwide. When a traffic accident occurs, our products have a few milliseconds to function and saving lives. We are a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and incorporated in the state of Delaware, U.S. Autoliv Inc. is the result of a 1997 merger of the Swedish company Autoliv AB and the U.S. company Morton ASP.
In terms of size we are around 8.5 billion US dollars in turnover (2019), around 65,000 employees around the world. We are a very localized company in terms of being close to our customers and operate directly in the different markets; Asia for Asia, China for China, Americas for Americas and Europe for Europe.

How do you keep up with technological development in the automotive industry?
We constantly develop our products. Our research team collaborates with academic institutes, insurance companies, research institutes and governments. In addition we develop products based on real life data, like traffic accident data and so on. By working with these institutes and companies we can learn more on how accidents are happening and what creates injuries. Thereafter we can convert this information and data to our product development.

Mowida - A Success Start-Up in Our US Talent to Sweden Program
Meet Meiju Vartiainen, Founder and CEO of Mowida, and Yang Wang, a US young professional and current intern at Mowida
Mowida is an innovative company situated in Umeå, Sweden, using a customer-focused approach to develop a digital platform that helps property owners simplify their everyday lives as well as contribute to digitalization of the industry. Since 2019, the company is a part of the SACC-USA Talent Mobility Program.
 
Meiju Vartiainen, originally from Haparanda, Sweden, moved to Umeå to study business development and entrepreneurship. Umeå is a university city in the northern part of Sweden, and Meiju experienced the struggle of finding a student accommodation, despite two years of queuing. A look into various Facebook groups for housing in Umeå showed that she was not alone; many people addressed the same difficulties, some said that they had “tried everything” and that the situation was “hopeless.”

Driven by a strong will to help people out that are in a similar situation that she had been in, Meiju began doing research about possible student accommodations in Umeå and posted them in the Facebook group. She got a huge response and within a couple of months she ended up helping over 100 students to find a place to stay and got contacted by over 700 students.

Thus, there was a clear demand for a service that could provide housing contacts to people in Umeå. Meiju – being entrepreneurial by nature – realized that this service could be automated. She sat in her one-bedroom apartment and designed and created the first version of a digital platform for that purpose. This was six years ago, and since then, the work has been characterized by a culture of asking questions and learning.
Meiju Vartiainen, Founder and CEO of Mowida and Yang Wang, a US young professional and current intern at Mowida
Instead of focusing on what a real estate system usually looks like, she chose to build a system from scratch that has the features that property owners in the area were looking for.

NEED HELP TO SOLVE A STRATEGIC BUSINESS CHALLENGE?
The “International Practicum – Nordics” is a strategy consulting assignment involving four MBA students that provides a unique opportunity for your company to engage with and utilize international top talent for the benefit of your business!

The Practicum is part of the MBA program of the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology (GaTech), a world-renowned technological research university in Atlanta, Georgia (the city with the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 Headquarters in the U.S.). Strategically positioned at the intersection of business and technology, Scheller College of Business is internationally recognized as a leader in business education grounded in a comprehensive understanding how technology advances impact how business is conducted.

Last year’s program was a great success with Accedo, AVK, Captario, Ericsson, Normative and Sigma Connectivity as participating companies. Christopher Grahn, Adjunct Professor in Strategy & Innovation, is now preparing for the spring semester 2021 and looks forward to involving more Nordic companies. Participation in the program is free of charge.

 “I was very impressed with the maturity and professionalism of the students. At the time, Captario was developing strategies for expanding our business in the US, and the four GaTech students that were assigned to us through the program became a great asset throughout this effort. I would recommend participation in the program to any Swedish company that wants to better understand how to build business in the US.” Magnus Ytterstad, Vice President Customer Success & Analytics, Captario AB.
The International Practicum also serves as an excellent recruitment opportunity for Swedish companies in the US, Sweden or elsewhere. Through the relationship with GaTech and the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce, Swedish companies have the possibility to offer internships to the students in Sweden this upcoming summer, supported by a highly simplified work permit process. For more information https://sacc-usa.org/trainee/.

If you have interest in participating, please feel free to contact Christopher Grahn at Christopher.grahn@scheller.gatech.edu or Agnes Wiberg (SACC-USA) at agnes.wiberg@sacc-usa.org
REGIONAL CHAMBERS
HOW TO NETWORK IN A VIRTUAL WORLD
Webinar, November 18
Level up your networking skills & make valuable connections within the SACC network!

Join us on November 18 for the opportunity to gain new contacts all over the U.S. 

One thing we really miss in this virtual climate is the great networking opportunities our in-person events made possible. Therefore, we are now nine regional chapters of The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce who are co-hosting a virtual networking event together. This way, we open up the opportunity to network over the regional borders of our organization.

We admit, it’s not completely the same to network virtually as in a face-to-face setting.Therefore we have invited networking expert Stephanie Thoma who will give us valuable tips on how to network online, before practicing ourselves.

The event will last for 90 minutes, with the first half coaching by Stephanie Thoma, followed by the second half’s networking. We will use zoom breakout rooms, where participants will be shuffled into groups of 4, 8 minutes apart, which means every person will gain 15 new connections!

Stephanie Thoma is a networking strategy coach, event host, and founder and author of the bestseller Confident Introvert. As a super-connector, Stephanie’s views around networking have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, and Thrive Global. She has also been invited to speak at Harvard, Northeastern, and Boston Universities as well as at international conferences. To date, Stephanie has helped thousands of people celebrate their strengths, step into their authentic confidence, and make meaningful connections.

You are most welcome to join us – we’re excited to e-meet you!

The event is free for all members. Sign up through Eventbrite HERE.

U.S. TALENT TO SWEDEN
Looking for specific skills, internationalization, and diversity? SACC-USA will assist your company in finding talent from the United States.

SACC-USA, in partnership with the Swedish Institute and the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden (AmCham), offers Swedish companies the opportunity to hire technology & business talent from the United States for traineeships up to 18 months. Augment your workforce with skills and entrepreneurial spirit from the United States.

Want to know more? Please Contact Us

COVID-19
REGIONAL CHAMBER WEBINAR EVENTS

November 17

November 18
SACC DC, SACC New England, SACC Georgia, SACC Detroit, SACC Philadelphia, SACC San Francisco & Silicon Valley, SACC Chicago, SACC Florida, SACC-USA

November 18

November 18

November 19

November 23

November 25

November 29



Due to the current status of the Corona virus, and our main focus being the health of our participants, SACC USA’s regional chambers have decided to postpone or cancel all planned events, except for webinars, until further notice. Thank you very much for your understanding and assistance in this matter.

Please contact your regional chamber for further information regarding local events and programs.