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Location, innovation and talent attract investments to Skåne - Part 2 of 2

Interview
Investment opportunities

With many countries spending a lot of resources to attract foreign investors and to ensure growth, Invest in Skåne has a slightly different approach. 

“Sweden is a relatively small player in this context. We do not invest as much time and money as many other countries and regions do, but we have a pretty strong reputation and what works for us is simply focusing on the areas we know and presenting a strong case with credible arguments substantiated with facts and data," says Martin Diamantoudis, Director of Investment Promotion at Invest in Skåne.

While the competition for investments has toughened on the international level, domestically it has rather taken the opposite direction.

“In my experience, competition between different Swedish regions has decreased over the last few years. It used to be quite protectionistic but these days everyone is talking about open innovation and the importance of working together. This is partially due to the regions having become more aware of their own, as well as other regions’, selling points, and better at promoting these”, Martin says.

Another reason behind the increasing national cooperation may be that competition has intensified internationally. Martin points out that international competition is simply too fierce to promote yourself as second-best.

"If a prospect inquires about something we know another Swedish region are experts at, we will tell the client this. It is our mission to attract long-term and sustainable investments to the Skåne region."

“If a prospect inquires about something we know another Swedish region are experts at, we will tell the client this. It is our mission to attract long-term and sustainable investments to the Skåne region. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that our clients will feel at home in the region and can see themselves grow here. This wouldn’t be the case if regions instead just tried to win as many investments as possible without considering what’s best for the client. We also have enough leads and opportunities to keep ourselves busy.”

Progress despite the pandemic

The pandemic has been a challenge and meant great uncertainty to many businesses. However, Martin explains that the sectors that mainly attract investments to the Skåne region are not among the sectors which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Areas like life science, pharmaceuticals and our ageing populations have rather become more interesting to investors, and tech areas such as connectivity have also gained momentum due to the pandemic.

“Generally speaking, we have been affected less than we thought we would be. Projects and events have been postponed or paused rather than cancelled. Normally, we attend between 40-60 international events per year, some of which have instead been held digitally during the pandemic. This has worked surprisingly well, but making yourself heard and getting your message across has definitely been a challenge, not least due to the abundance of webinars. The global meeting places normally work very well for us. Few people pass by Malmö so it’s much easier for us to meet with prospects e.g. at a convention in London. We’ve had to shift our focus on reaching prospects by other means, e.g. through our many partners in and outside of Sweden.”

Looking beyond the pandemic

Martin expects at least the first half of 2021 to look pretty much the way 2020 did. With meetings and conferences held digitally, his team has got a couple of new tools to reach clients more efficiently.

“We are also involved in the recently approved EU-Interreg project ‘Greater Copenhagen Green Deal’, aiming to contribute to developing new solutions for green growth by creating strategic collaborations between companies, academia, the public sector, and other relevant players in Greater Copenhagen. There are many interesting things happening within the gaming industry as well. Massive Entertainment’s new Star Wars-project has once again put Malmö on the map. In addition several other large projects are being explored and discussed. At Invest in Skåne, we are proud to work with and be part of these exciting projects.”

In late 2021, Malmö will be hosting TechConnect which is one of the largest tech conferences in the U.S. The conference is designed to connect research and early-stage technologies from universities, labs and startups with industry and investors, end-users and prospectors. It will be the first time the conference is held outside of the US, so we are very excited about that.”

This article was originally published in Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK's member magazine The Link in February, 2021. The article has been divided into two parts for legibility. This is part two of two. You can find the first part here.