SI gathers business leaders from 19 countries for learning and exchange with Swedish sustainability experts

Last week, the Swedish Institute gathered 36 business representatives and alumni of the Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) for a week of exchange, new perspectives and learning on the topic of sustainable business.
A group picture of 36 leaders from 19 countries.

Business representatives want to contribute to make their businesses more sustainable

Over the course of a week, business representatives from 19 countries across Africa, Asia, South America and Northern and Eastern Europe were invited to Sweden for the event SIMP Sweden Week, participants a platform for exchange, inspiration, and new approaches to sustainability. The event is offered as an opportunity for alumni to further their learning after having attended the Swedish Institute Management Programme. This year’s participants range from founders and CEOs of small and medium-sized enterprises to CEOs and top managers of regional and global corporations. They cover a wide variety of sectors such as agriculture, consulting, energy, media, mobility, pharmaceuticals, telecommunication, and many more. What they have in common is the important ambition of finding ways to make their businesses more sustainable.

Ahead of SIMP Sweden Week, participants engaged online to get to know each other, network and present their business challenges. Lucas Grind, Programme Manager for SIMP Sweden Week reflects on the organisation of the programme and what makes it successful:

– Each participant is an expert and leader in their field, contributing immensely to the learning outcome of the programme. The trick is to create a well-facilitated platform for exchange of experience and knowledge.

Bild pĂĄ fyra personer i ett panelsamtal.
SIMP Sweden Week 2023 visits Sweco. Photo: Safi Sabuni

Sweden and SI stand at a great position to offer inspiration of green transition

The Swedish Institute and Sweden stands at a great position to offer inspiration of green transition and sustainability initiatives across a variety of sectors. During the week, study visits were made to Skanska, Sweco, and The Park and its successful start-ups, all bringing various perspectives to sustainable business and how to develop sustainability strategies. In addition, workshops and presentations were held by Swedish sustainability and leadership experts.

Strong business relationships and friendships are formed

– The aim of the week was to build even stronger sustainability leaders equipped for driving change and to build stronger relationships between participants and with Sweden. After this week, we can already see strong business relationships and friendships being formed – across four continents. That’s the power of bringing ambitious and motivated leaders together and part of Sweden’s belief in building partnerships and capacity globally to tackle complex challenges that we all face, Lucas continues.

A special programme highlight was the networking with Swedish business organisations

A special programme highlight for many participants were the opportunity to network with Swedish business organisations that might be present in their regions. A networking event was held at the Nobel Prize Museum inviting representatives from the Pioneer the Possible project team at the Swedish Institute, Business Sweden, Swedfund and National Board of Trade Sweden. The aim was to inform about the various activities implemented by Sweden across the world and the possibilities for collaboration. Dave Jesus Devilles, ESG Director at Prime Infrastructure Capital, Inc. particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet Swedish businesses and institutions. In a LinkedIn post he writes:

“Innovation, collaboration and transparency make for a potent recipe”

– This was one of the highlights of our SIMP leadership track — the Swedish Institute hosting a reception at the Nobel Prize Museum! We had a guided tour of the museum after meeting with representatives from Team Sweden, a cornucopia of Swedish institutions and organizations at the forefront of innovation, business and trade, and education. It is amazing how much new things are unfolding right before my very eyes. My key takeaways: innovation, collaboration and TRANSPARENCY make for a potent recipe for making this small country be at the top of everything.

Charlene Rwemereza, Manager Internal Investigation at Uganda Revenue Authority -URA, shared her main insights from the event:

– We already have a lot of knowledge on what sustainability is, and we have taken some steps when it comes to policy change. The question is if we are being practical and hands-on with what we want. If we are to achieve and join the sustainability transformation, we must be intentional, it is not enough with only policy.

En grafisk dokumentation av deltagarnas lärdomar. Illustratör: Frida Adamsson.
A graphical documentation of the participants’ experiences and learning points. Graphic recorder: Frida Adamsson.

Learn more about how the SI leadership programmes empower current and future leaders.