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Helsinki to Stockholm in less than 30 mins by Hyperloop

What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a technology to move people or things anywhere in the world quickly, safely, efficiently, on-demand and with minimal impact to the environment. The technology was reintroduced and updated by Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX). The system uses electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger or cargo vehicle through a tube in a low pressure environment. The autonomous vehicle levitates slightly above the track and glides at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances.  Direct emissions, noise, delay, weather concerns and pilot error are eliminated. This could be a giant step in transportation.

Helsinki to Stockholm in less than 30 minutes

Hyperloop is no longer science fiction as Hyperloop is now aiming to demonstrate a full-scale, high-speed test of its track, vehicle and controlled-environment tube in late 2016 or early 2017. This bold vision may become reality thanks to a proposed Hyperloop link between the two capital cities which is estimated to bring annual savings of 321 million euros from the reduced travel time.  The Hyperloop will also connect the city centers with the airports, a trip of 10 minutes. Todays travel options between the two capitals are about 3-4 hours by air, including airport tranfers and time spent at airport or an overnight cruise-ferry crossing.

These are the results of the world’s first pre-feasibility study of a full-scale Hyperloop system produced by US-based technology specialist Hyperloop One, consultants KPMG and Finnish company FS Links. FS Links was founded a year ago to facilitate the building of a fixed link between the two Nordic countries. An entire region of 5 million people would become a metro network, lifting property values and productivity along the route.

According to FS Links, Hyperloop One is currently looking for a ‘proof of operations’ facility, with research centre and rails, and they have already decided it will be in Europe. Many places are competing for it, but Finland has the lead. FS Links have made the first actual business case and are also the first company Hyperloop has invested in.”

Key to these plans is the Finnish city of Salo. The city, located 115 kilometres from Helsinki, has signed a ‘letter of intent’ with Hyperloop One to become the first test station along the proposed Helsinki-Stockholm route. Salo officials believe the super-fast connection would be a great opportunity for growth and new jobs in the high-tech city.

hyperloop

A Nordic metropol

The next steps in FS Links and Salo’s plans are to find partners to fund the public-private initiative (the total cost is estimated to be 19 billion euros) and then secure a final agreement with Hyperloop One.

There are still many things that need to be solved. But the pre-feasibility study shows the connection between Stockholm and Helsinki is not impossible. The challenges appear to be funding and execution.

While the proposed Helsinki-Stockholm route could take 12-15 years to build, a fast way to transport goods would open up completely new business opportunities, while people could quickly and easily commute from one country to another.

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Finnish bank launches a credit card that lets users track their carbon footprint

Baltic Sea Credit Card

A small Finnish bank, Ålandsbanken, based on the autonomous Åland Islands but with offices in Finland and Sweden, is launching a new credit card to combat climate change.

Made of renewable raw materials

This new Baltic Sea Credit Card is made completely of renewable raw materials, is non-toxic and is biodegradable but that is not all: Card users will get an environmental report in their mobile app or internet bank account, effectively tracking the carbon footprint of their consumption. The bank hopes that increased transparency will contribute to changing daily habits to become more sustainable in the long run.

The environmental calculations of the card are based on the Åland Index developed by the Ålandsbanken. The index works on the basis of a category code provided by retailers to Mastercard enabling a value for the carbon footprint to be calculated on each transaction.

Peter Wiklöf, CEO of Ålandsbanken says: “The sea is never far away when you are based in the Åland islands, and we can’t avoid seeing the effects of pollution. In 2015 we launched the Baltic Sea Project, founded on our commitment to enable smart ideas for the environment. But we also wanted to give our customers the opportunity to contribute to the environment through their daily choices. Only if we all get involved will we be able to save the Baltic Sea”

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Increasing Demand from Property Investors for the Nordics

Catella is a leading specialist in property investments, fund management and banking, with operations in 12 countries across Europe. Catella recently published a Nordic Market Tracker.

Investment Opportunities

The Northern European property market is increasingly featuring in the pan-European real estate portfolios of institutional investors. Compared with other European countries, the economic transparency and prosperity of the markets in the Nordic countries makes them a popular option. Also, the availability of capital opens up new investment opportunities. Catella foresees these opportunities, especially for investments in the office and retail markets.

In general, some 90% of invested capital in the Nordic countries is based on domestic markets (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland), with a high share of Swedish capital – but this will change. Demand from German, French and UK investors rose in the past three quarters, not least through pressure from capital markets to look for a stable income stream.

“Many markets offer clear potential for portfolio diversification. Copenhagen and Helsinki display a correlation that is slightly negative, as does Berlin. Stockholm’s correlation is below the level identified, for example, for the German cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf, and also from the perspective of Lisbon, Warsaw and London investors. Against this backdrop, combining a Nordic segment with a German, Spanish or Belgium office property segment could be a successful strategy for anyone interested in risk diversification,” explained Dr. Thomas Beyerle, Head of Group Research at Catella, talking about the investment strategy from an international perspective.

Catellas report concludes

Catellas report concludes: “The Nordic countries are not as homogeneous as international stereotypes often suggest. There are marked differences to be aware of when investing. Not only do investors need to know how Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland differ when it comes to their social, economic and political arenas, but there’s something else international observers should keep an eye on, as well: intra-Nordic investment patterns. This report thus concludes that the northern European countries represent enormous potential when it comes to diversifying multinational portfolios. Furthermore, they also demonstrate structural stability for long-term investors with multi-country and multi-asset funds/strategy.”

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Nordea Bank launches platform for crowdfunding

Sweden’s Nordea Bank, the largest bank in the Nordic region, is launching a platform for crowdfunding where individuals can participate in the financing of unlisted companies through purchasing shares in such companies. The bank appears to be taking up the fight against startups in the fintech business.

The platform is being announced today in Finland, where the Finnish Crowdfunding Act is scheduled to come into force in July 2016. According to the Bank’s Twitter account, the platform will be announced in Sweden tomorrow in connection with the quarterly report.

Crowdfunding and crowdlending have become popular in the Nordic region. In Sweden, examples are Fundedbyme , Toborrow , Pepins , Tessin and Kameo, all of which have entered the business from slightly different different angles. These players have been able to act undisturbed by major banks for more than five years , but now Nordea becomes the first traditional bank to embark in the crowdfunding area .

Nordea on Twitter

Photo: Outi Järvinen/Kl/Arkisto

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Member of the Finnish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce

FINSVE-logo
Scandicorp is today a member of the Finnish-Swedish Chamber of Commerce (FINSVE). The Chamber of Commerce helps especially small and medium sized Finnish businesses in entering the Swedish market. Scandicorp is convinced that many Finnish companies would benefit greatly from a presence in neighboring Sweden. Scandicorp will happily help with company formation and related accounting and management services. Read more about our services www.scandicorp.com/services/

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Finland and Sweden top Net Impact on Global Innovation

Finland and Sweden rank 1st and 2nd respectively in how its domestic policies support worldwide innovation, according to an analysis released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a global technology policy think tank. The findings come in a new report assessing 56 countries—which together comprise close to 90 percent of the world’s economy—on the extent to which, on a per-capita basis, their economic and trade policies contribute to and detract from innovation globally.

“Robust innovation is essential for economic growth and progress,” said co-author Stephen Ezell, ITIF’s vice president for global innovation. “As countries increasingly vie for leadership in the innovation economy, they can implement policies that try to benefit only themselves but harm the production of innovation in the rest of the world. Or they can implement ‘win-win’ policies that bolster their own innovation capacity while also generating positive spillovers for the entire global economy. For innovation to flourish around the world, we need a system that is doing much more of the latter.”

While previous research has ranked countries based on innovation capabilities or outcomes, this report is the first to assess the impact of countries’ policies on the broader innovation system. The authors examined 14 factors that not only support innovation domestically but have positive spillover effects globally, such as supportive tax systems and investment in R&D and human capital, and another 13 factors that have negative spillover effects, such as forced localisation and weak intellectual property protection. Finland’s 1st-place overall ranking reflected a combination of policies that the report found to be 3rd best in their positive contribution to the global innovation ecosystem and also the least damaging.

While six European countries were in the top 10 for their positive contributions to the global innovation ecosystem, the continent’s prominence on the list was driven in particular by holding nine of the top 10 spots for being the least damaging. Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands were all ranked in the top 10 in both categories.

The report also found a strong correlation between countries’ contributions to global innovation and their levels of domestic innovation success, meaning that doing well domestically on innovation policy can also mean doing well for the world.

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Nordic countries are the best for business

Forbes gauged the World’s Best Countries for Business by grading 144 nations on 11 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. Denmark scored first, Norway third, Sweden fifth, and Finland sixth. New Zeland was second and Ireland fourth.

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The Nordic countries among the top five in English skills

The EF English Proficiency Index 2015 (EF EPI) attempts to measure the Worldwide English Proficiency when it comes to English as a Second language. The Nordic countries ranked among the top five in the world: Sweden 1st place, followed by the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Finland. This year’s EF EPI report profiles all 70 ranked countries, using test data from 910,000 adult English language learners.

The report reveals a correlation between countries English abilities and innovation metrics such as R&D expenditure and high-tech exports. There is also a high correlation between English skills and quality of life, GNI per capita, and internet connectivity.

As English is widely spoken in the Nordics it will reflect on the ease of doing business. Download our free corporate fact sheets for Norway, Sweden and Finland.

EF Education First is a Swiss based education company specializing in language training. The company was founded in Lund, Southern Sweden.

 

For full report see: EF EPI

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Should we appoint an external auditor or not?

Today the Nordic countries have small company provisions making it unnecessary to appoint an external auditor if certain conditions depending on size of turnover, number of employees, and size of balance sheet are met. In the start-up phase of a company it may seem appropriate to save on costs and revert to the issues of appointing an auditor later on.

A frequently asked question by SCANDICORP clients setting up companies in the Nordic region is whether they should appoint an auditor in connection with incorporating the company or save that decision until later.

In most cases our advice to the client has been that it makes sense to appoint a qualified external auditor from the very start in connection with registering the company. Naturally this will depend on the business activities of the company, the structure of ownership, appointed directors and other factors to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Pros of having an external auditor:

  • Clients, suppliers, collaborators, banks and other parties involved with the company will be more comfortable in their dealings with the new company.
  • There is less risk of unforeseen problems due to the professionalism and qualifications of the auditor.
  • A way to ensure that the company complies with legal and tax regulations.
  • Having access to independent advice and guidance on short notice from someone who knows the company.
  • Giving the shareholders assurance that the accounting, management and directors have performed up to required standards.
  • A foreign investor or director in a Nordic company, not being totally aware of local rules and regulations, will be more comfortable compared to if the company has no external auditors.
  • The tax office may also be more comfortable with tax returns from an audited company.

The Cons of having an external auditor:

    • The costs associated with external audits.
    • Faster preparation of Annual Reports and tax returns.

SCANDICORP is happy to introduce clients to qualified external auditors suiting their particular needs. Some clients may opt for one of the international “Big Four” firms or maybe the next tier of international firms that are all present in the Nordic countries, while other clients might prefer a smaller local audit firm more suited for their particular business.

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High Nordic rankings in ease of doing business

The Nordic countries ranked high in the world for doing business by the World Bank’s annual Doing Business 2016 report.

Surveying a total of 189 countries, the list is widely considered the most authoritative in the world.

The index takes into account regulations that affect facilitating the smooth flow of business. A total of 10 different areas were assessed, included everything from starting a business, to dealing with construction permits, getting credit, paying taxes, trading across borders and enforcing contracts.

Denmark ranked third, Sweden, Norway and Finland as eight, ninth and tenth. repectively

Singapore once again topped the list this year, followed by New Zealand.

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