Northern Connections

Successful matchmaking helps companies generate business

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Published by Rikke Schak Toustrup-Jensen

Gothenburg is a world leader in district heating and cooling. In recent days, cities from all around Europe convened to discuss the theme at the Celsius Summit conference, where Business Region Göteborg, via EEN, Enterprise Europe Network, and Green Gothenburg organised around 90 pre-arranged matchmaking meetings between companies, politicians and representatives of European cities.

The Celsius Summit, based on the theme ‘The Power of Networks’ took place on 27-28 November and represented a fantastic opportunity for Swedish environmental technology companies. The European elite in district heating and cooling was in attendance. The public sector, politicians and the business community were represented by over 175 people from 15 countries. During the first day of pre-arranged matchmaking meetings, organised by EEN, Enterprise Europe Network, 69 participants exchanged ideas in approximately 90 meetings. The second day ended with study visits on the topic of energy efficiency and innovation, in which Green Gothenburg was involved.

"The demand for our matchmaking meetings has, thankfully, been really pleasing," says Karin Grundskog, who works at Business Region Göteborg with EEN, Enterprise Europe Network. Matchmaking is one of EEN’s tools for helping companies find business partners. "It is an effective way to carry out smart business meetings in a short time. We also offer free individual business advice and innovation coaching," notes Karin.

Curiosity creates business

There was a quiet buzz of anticipation in one of the halls of the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre as the networking through matchmaking got going. At the appointed time, the participants divided themselves into pairs, sitting fact to face at the 25 small tables.  After 20 minutes a bell rang, whereby everybody smoothly moved tables and found their new discussion partner, with the hope that these may turn out to be a new collaborator or business associate. The participants had booked who they wanted to meet in advance and therefore received their personal meeting schedule with the opportunity to participate in up to four matchmaking meetings.

One Swedish company that already operates on the global market is Regin AB, with its head offices in Kållered outside Gothenburg. Regin develops and markets products in indoor comfort and building automation. During the matchmaking session, Stefan Blom, Sales Director at Regin AB and Oubbol Oung, advisor in urban development from the City of Rotterdam, had booked a meeting with each other.

Stefan’s goal for the matchmaking was to find out what kind of activities are carried out by the authorities in Europe on their markets.

"I want to listen and learn how they think regarding innovation and development. Regin’s focus areas are increased profit, reduced energy costs and improving climate impact, and we have the technology to achieve this," says Stefan.

Oubbol Oung is part of the sustainable energy transition team in the City of Rotterdam. She works with, among many other things, energy innovation and making existing buildings more sustainable.

"I am very interested and curious to see what kind of innovation exists in different companies. I also want to know how other local authorities work, their experiences and best practices in knowledge sharing. I find that there is a possibility to do that here."

Cities create business opportunities

Lydia Hameeteman works as project manager with urban development at the City of Rotterdam. She had found a topic in which she shared a mutual interest with Ola Nordgren. Ola is an Energy Consultant and Head of Foreign affairs at FVB Sverige, and he emphasises the benefits from attending the Celsius Summit and the matchmaking: 

"For me as a consultant it’s a great opportunity to be able to listen to how different cities around Europe think and work within the area. I am very keen on building up new contacts, and it is important to stay informed on what is happening and foster the relationships that you already have in the business network."

Lydia is also content with the possibilities of knowledge sharing provided by the matchmaking.

"I really like the structure of the matchmaking, where you could choose the topics you are interested in on the website in advance. Since we know the topics we want to discuss during these matchmaking meetings, it is much more effective than what is possible during coffee breaks."

Tech is not the obstacle

One of the foreign participants of the matchmaking was the politician Anna Richardson, from the Glasgow City Council. We asked her for her impressions just before she headed into her first matchmaking meeting:

"As a politician I work with everything within the green sector. It’s a new role for me and I find the world of Celsius a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself."

What strikes me is that the complexity of the technical stuff is not an issue. The major obstacles are the governmental, legal and human boundaries.  I am totally determined that we over time will overcome the obstacles and see positive results.

PhD student tests matchmaking

Maria Jungsten attended the Celsius Summit and took part in the matchmaking for the first time. She has just started her work with a PhD in Building Services Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.

"I am here to establish new contacts and to learn as much as possible. It is great to be able to be a part of this knowledge sharing in real time.  I have already met people who will be very useful for me in my coming PhD work."

 

Facts:

Celsius

The City of Gothenburg has, as part of the EU project Celsius, led a constellation of five European cities – London, Rotterdam, Genoa, Cologne and Gothenburg – aiming to demonstrate district heating and cooling solutions in Europe.

www.celsiuscity.eu

EEN

Enterprise Europe Network helps enterprising companies to grow in the international market and is the world’s largest business network for small and medium-sized companies that want to enter international markets. EEN’s experts provide the advice needed for the commercialisation of innovative concepts and for expansion into international markets. EEN has the scope, knowledge and services required to find interesting international business contacts for companies.

http://een.ec.europa.eu/

Green Gothenburg

Green Gothenburg works to increase national and international recognition of the Gothenburg region as a leader in environmental and sustainable development. By providing high-quality study tours, Green Gothenburg offers expertise, inspiration and useful business contacts.

Green Gothenburg is owned by the City of Gothenburg, with operations managed by the municipal company Business Region Gothenburg. Green Gothenburg is supported the City of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland together with five municipal companies.

www.greengothenburg.se

Business Region Göteborg

Business Region Göteborg works to create favourable conditions for trade and industry throughout the entire region by offering knowledge, contacts and arenas for collaboration. Business Region Göteborg is responsible for business development in the City of Gothenburg and represents thirteen municipalities in the region.

https://www.businessregiongoteborg.se/en