On July 4 at Almedalen, the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden (AmCham) was proud to host our first ever America Day, powered by 3M, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GE, MSD and Mannheimer Swartling.
Held at Wisby Strand Congress & Event in Visby, America Day involved a full day of programming on issues critical to AmCham members, with a special focus on those in line with our mission to be “The Voice of American Business in Sweden”.
By facilitating conversations on The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), innovation, big data, and the U.S. presidential election, America Day was a big success, both for participants, and for AmCham.
Prior to the first session, U.S. Ambassador Azita Raji rang in the day at an opening bell ceremony that was made possible by one of AmCham Sweden’s newest members, Nasdaq, together with AmCham Chair Biörn Riese.
The first session of America Day was devoted to the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, and what it would mean for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The conversation with Christina Sevilla, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR); Maria Åsenius, Head of Cabinet for Cecilia Malmström; Magnus Larsson, Svenskt Näringsliv SME Committee; and Fredrik Ringquist, Mannheimer Swartling, updated the audience on the state of play of the negotiations, and shed light on many of the misconceptions and myths surrounding the negotiations.
The second session of America Day, masterfully moderated by Magnus Aronsson from the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research Institute (ESBRI), focused on innovations that leverage big data and analytics to deliver more affordable healthcare around the world, all while achieving unprecedented outcomes. The speakers addressed how digitalization is driving innovation in life science and business generally, and what is needed to foster the markets, products, and services of tomorrow.
Hans Enocson, President and CEO of GE for the Nordic countries, described industrial transformation, and Martin Ingvar, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Future Medical Services at Karolinska Institutet, spoke about technical as well as semantic interoperability in the future healthcare environment. Following these remarks, Magnus led an insightful panel discussion with Lars Näslund of 3M, Malin Parkler of Pfizer, Amir Hefni of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Jacob Tellgren of MSD.
Our third session, The “Sweet Spot”: Where Innovation Meets Societal Needs, was opened with remarks by U.S. Ambassador Azita Raji, followed by a presentation from Susan Windham-Bannister, Immediate Past President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center on the objectives of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, why it works, and what Sweden could learn from its model. The presentation was particularly focused on how targeted investment in the life sciences sector, driven by public involvement, can directly build innovation capacity.
This was followed up by Anders Lönnberg, Sweden’s National Coordinator for Life Science, who described ongoing activities in the Swedish Life Science sector. The event closed with a panel discussion on developing the life sciences sector moderated by Carolina Wallenius, Head of Nordics at GE Healthcare Partners. Panelists included U.S. Ambassador Azita Raji, Susan Windham-Bannister, Anders Lönnberg, and Magnus Aronsson from the Entrepreneurship. and Small Business Research Institute (ESBRI).
After lunch, Mikael Törnwall of Hill + Knowlton Strategies moderated our fourth session of the day; Making Sense of the U.S. Elections. Robert Gilchrist, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, provided an overview of what might be the most closely watched Presidential contest in recent history.
A panel of speakers consisting of Marcus Oscarsson TV4, David Landes from The Local, and Elizabeth Walentin of Crimson Clarke discussed the Swedish media’s coverage of the race. Eirik Winter, Managing Director, Head of Investment Banking & Chairman, Nordic Region for Citi, also provided insights into the global economic and foreign policy implications.
America Day came to a fitting end with our final session of the day, Data: The Invisible Commodity, which focused on data-driven innovation, its potential and challenges. The role of SMEs in benefiting and driving data-driven innovation was a big discussion point, as were the risks involved in the increasing use of data by both private individuals and businesses.
Speaking on the panel were Ulf Pehrsson from Ericsson, Jan Gulliksen the Chairman of the Swedish Digitalization Commission, and Anders Bergsten from Mannheimer Swartling. The panel was moderated by Fredrik Erixon from the European Centre for International Political Economy.