It is the first time that SME’s had the opportunity to book face-to-face meetings with other companies at a BDF Summit, but not the last, hopes Andrzej Król. His Krakow-based company is currently exporting its wood frame houses mainly to Norway. He hopes BBA will prove a shortcut to other markets.
The Polish CEO just finished a meeting with Mikael Håkansson from the non-profit organisation European Minds – a meeting that might prove fruitful Mr. Håkansson says. His office is currently involved in a mining project in Northern Sweden that requires construction of housing for a total 12.000 mine workers.
European Minds is a consulting company offering support in developing EU strategies, EU applications, transnational projects and partnerships.
- We are here to broaden our network to include more first of all authorities but also companies in the Baltic Sea Region, Mikael Håkansson explains.
While he is focusing on the Baltic Business Arena some of his colleagues are covering the political sessions and workshops at the summit. For Mikael Håkansson the whole event constitutes the perfect mix of politics and business.
Business and regional development
Dorota Isajuk also represents a non-profit organisation. She is advisor in the BISNEP (Business and Innovation Support for North-East Poland), addressing the challenges faced by SME’s in the Białystok region in North-West Poland. The Białystok region is one of the poorest regions in Poland and Ms. Isajuk sees events as BBA as a means of boosting economic growth in the region by providing local companies with partners and customers in the Baltic Sea Region.
At BBA Dorota Isajuk has set up meetings with other non-profit organisations, but also companies. She attends networking conferences regularly but is impressed by the BBA event and Swedish innovation company ALMI handling the logistics at Baltic Business Arena.
Artis Treimanis is impressed too. The 21-year-old entrepreneur is representing the small Latvian enterprise Svecu Darbnica specializing in candle making kits.
- I had really good meetings at the Business Arena and a lot of new ideas, Tremanis says.
It is the first time he is attending a matchmaking event and he hopes Baltic Business Arena can become a stepstone on the five employee Ventspils-based company’s road to the Scandinavian markets.
- I guess I represent the smallest company at the business arena. This year, Artis Treimanis emphasizes with an optimistic smile.
BBA 2012 was set up on the initiative of Swedish Agency of Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) which is also main sponsor of the event and strategic partner of BDF. The Agency has asked ALMI (Swedish business development organization) and BDF to arrange BBA 2012. Co-sponsors were Enterprise Europe Network, Swedish Institute and BDF.
Activities of BBA 2012 were:
- Business-to-business meetings
- Brief thematic seminars presenting topics related to everyday business conditions.
Most participants were SME’s but also business development organizations, legal advisers, innovation agents etc. They came from eight BSR countries: Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
The first BBA was set up in Stockholm in 2011 when 70 companies from 11 countries performed over 350 meetings.
Karin Hallerby, Head of Dept. at Swedish Agency of Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket): “The Baltic Sea Region offers attractive market opportunities for many SME’s. A developed cooperation between SME’s will further strenghten the competitiveness of the region”
“The Baltic Sea Region is performing well in Europe regarding growth and competitiveness”, adds BDF Chairman Hans Skov Christensen. “Our business structure is dominated by SME’s and dynamic entrepreneurs. Their engagement in establishing new contacts and business opportunities across the Baltic Sea is crucial for the further development of our region”, he emphasizes.
“The best way to exploit and develop cooperation opportunities is to establish personal contacts. In a globalized, digitalized world we are still dependent on personal contacts to take the first step”.
“Especially within green growth this region has global top competences, not least due to traditions of public-private cooperation. BDF is established to facilitate such co-operations” says Torben Aaberg, Head of Public Affairs and BDF’s coordinator of BBA 2012. “This year we have been very pleased with the close cooperation with ALMI and Tillväxtverket, the latter being one of our most important Swedish partners. We hope that we together can continue and further develop Baltic Business Arena as an annual event”.
- BBA 2012 was initiated – and mainly sponsored by – Swedish Agency of Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) and arranged by ALMI and BDF. Co-sponsors: Enterprise Europe Network, Swedish Institute and BDF.
- The following contributed to the content of BBA 2012: Magnusson Law Firm, GlobeEight, SKOK Poland, Danish Trade Council, Vaeksthus Greater Copenhagen
- The following partners co-operated with BDF in recruiting participants for the event: Confederation of Danish Industry, Fehmarn Belt Business Council, Kaliningrad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Union of Baltic Cities Business Commission and Latvian Investment and Development Agency.