Swedish Royal Visit to the UK – Tech City, City Hall and Cambridge
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria and His Royal Highness Prince Daniel visited the United Kingdom on 7 – 8 November. Their Royal Highnesses were accompanied by the Swedish Minister of Trade Ewa Björling. The main theme of the visit was to further strengthen creative and digital links between Sweden and the United Kingdom. Both our countries are very focused on innovation and entrepreneurship in the high tech and digital sector.
Sweden is a strong actor in sectors like life science, music and digital entertainment and the UK is in many ways a key partner. The major challenges that we face in the creative industries are currently skills and financing.
Just like the UK Government – the Swedish Government is working hard to support new companies in a dynamic way that provides the best possible environment to grow and be competitive in the global market.
Exchanging ideas and creating networks with British counterparts as well as to visit creative environments like the Tech City in East London was most inspiring. The tech cluster serves as a tech hub for London and backs some of the most innovative and creative companies to grow.
During the visit to London the Swedish delegation had most constructive meetings with The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse (who is also the Chairman of London & Partners) and the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Roger Gifford.
On Thursday 7 November the programme included a visit to Hackney Community College, a school on the doorstep of London’s Tech City. The college is working with companies to help local young people get ahead in the digital industry. At the Tech City the delegation met with Ms Joanna Shields, Chief Executive of Tech and toured the Google Campus.
The delegation also visited Level 39 at Canary Wharf, Europe’s largest accelerator space for finance, retail and future cities technology companies. The Swedish high-tech companies iZettle, TicTail and King represented Swedish creative industries at the lunch. The UK companies included UsTwo and The Bakery. The delegation later on had an opportunity to follow up the discussions with Eric Van der Kleij, who leads the Level39 programme.
In the late afternoon Their Royal Highnesses had tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
In the evening the delegation attended the Industrial Forum at the Swedish Residence, where Börje Ekholm, CEO of Investor was the key note speaker. The Industrial Forum is a lecture series that brings together business representatives from Sweden and the UK. More than 5o different companies attended the dinner.
On Friday 8 November the Swedish delegation visited Skanska’s development at Seven Acres in Cambridge. Seven Acres is a new community of beautiful Scandinavian-style homes that are spacious, easy-to-run homes, designed on Scandinavian principles.
The final stop of the visit was Cambridge University where Their Royal Highnesses had very good discussions on environment and sustainability with representatives of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI).
During the visit to Cambridge University Their Royal Highnesses had a chance to meet with the Swedish students . It is quite impressive that there are as many as 100 Swedish students attending the University. There was a delicious lunch served at Jesus College that was followed by a most insightful presentations by the Centre for Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) and Humanitarian Centre (HC).
It was a most successful visit where the British counterparts were tremendously helpful in every way. It is my firm belief that the visit will create several new interesting networks that will be conducive to future collaboration in the high tech sector.
It was also brilliant that the British Ambassador Paul Johnston (blog) could take part in the visit. This makes it a lot easier to follow up on many of the interesting proposals for future cooperation that were presented during the visit.
One such idea was to create a global strategic network of entrepreneurs where the British-Swedish axis would form the foundation.