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The Nordic nations among the most innovative economies

Bloomberg Markets recently published a survey ”The Battle of Ideas” ranking the most innovative countries in the World. South Korea topped the list. The silver medal was won by Sweden which climbed up one place from last year passing Germany.

The Nordic countries are still highly ranked on the list: Finland as number five, Denmark as eight and Norway as fourteen. Bloomberg ranks countries on the basis of parameters such as patent activity, number of high-tech companies, education and research.

Bloombergs survey correlates well with another recent report, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017 (GTCI) published by Adecco and INSEAD. According to this report the Nordic countries rank among the top in the World. GTCI focuses on how technology affects talent competitiveness and the nature of work. Finland is ranked best in formal education, vocational enrolment, social mobility, environmental performance, employability, ease of finding employees and availability of scientists and engineers.

Do you want to set up your business in one of the most innovative regions of the world? Feel free to contact Scandicorp who will happily provide you with any help and information.

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Sweden first in Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index

The Nordic countries ranked as top five overall in this year’s Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index. Sweden as first, followed by Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.

Altogether, the index evaluated 180 countries across their natural capital, resource intensity, intellectual capital, social cohesion and governance. The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Index utilizes recognized data sources (the World Bank, various UN databases) and 109 quantitative performance indicators to measure performance.

The index was compiled by Swiss-Korean sustainability think-tank and advisory SolAbility.

The Nordic countries will no doubt be a good choice to establish a Cleantech startup. Likewise this market would be well suited for established Cleantech companies to test their products and services. Scandicorp will gladly provide you with guidance and corporate services.

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Sweden’s Riksbank introduce e-krona a digital currency

The world’s oldest central bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, was the first to issue paper banknotes in the 1660s. Now it is launching a project to examine what a central bank-backed digital currency would look like and what challenges it would pose. It hopes to take a decision on whether to start issuing what it calls an “e-krona” within two years.

Sweden has seen a dramatic drop in the use of cash – down 40% since 2009.

Cecilia Skingsley, deputy governor at the Riksbank: “This is as revolutionary as the paper note 300 years ago. What does it mean for monetary policy and financial stability? How do we design this: a rechargeable card, an app or another way?” Cecilia Skingsley gave a speech today at a Fin-Tech conference in Stockholm. She pointed out that the “e-krona” will not replace cash and other means of payment but would function as a complement.

Other central banks such the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada have started looking at the potential benefits and challenges of digital currencies such as bitcoin.

Source: Read the Finacial Times story
Images: Sveriges Riksbank

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Sweden – One of the world’s easiest places to do business

A recently published report by the World Bank places Sweden as the 9th easiest places to do business in out of 190 countries surveyed. The 2017 edition of the report, which is the 14th instalment of the annual study, appraises policies and regulations which boosts business activities in a country. Besides cost, other notable factors taken into consideration by foreign investors when assessing a country for investments include political and economic stability, risks, business policies, transparency, monetary and fiscal policies, bureaucracy, human capital, logistics, infrastructure and intellectual property protection.

In contrast to Sweden’s reputation for tricky bureaucracy, this year’s report shows it is becoming a more efficient place for business, with increased administrative efficiency highlighted, as well as praise for new automatic registration of mortgages and renewal of ownership.

The report ranks New Zealand as the best, Singapore as the second best and Denmark as the third best countries in the world for doing business. Overall the Nordic countries scored high with Norway as 6th and Finland as 13th.

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The Nordic countries lead the world in the rule of law

Denmark, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden turned out to enjoy the world’s best and fairest rule of law according to a new global ranking report by the World Justice Project (WSP). Rule of law is a fundamental condition for liberal democracy.

More than 100,000 households and experts were surveyed to measure rule of law in 113 countries. The index is based on the primary factors of: constraint on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice.

Here are the top four performers in each of the index’s main categories:

Constraints on Government Powers – Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands
Absence of Corruption – Denmark, Singapore, Norway, Finland
Open Government – Norway, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands
Fundamental Rights – Norway, Finland, Denmark, Austria
Order and Security – Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Denmark
Regulatory Enforcement – Singapore, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden
Civil Justice – Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Singapore
Criminal Justice – Finland, Norway, Austria, Singapore

One more good reason to establish a business presence in the Nordic countries?

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Image from “Polisen” the Swedish Police

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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.

Image source

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Stockholm top ranked in world’s best Cities of Opportunities

PwC just published a report Cities of Opportunities 7. The report measures 30 cities across 10 indicator groups and 67 variables. The report ranks Stockholm as the seventh best city in the world and the only Nordic city in the report.

The world’s best City of Opportunity according to PwC is London which scores high in economic clout, intellectual capital and international accessibility. However the report was compiled before the Brexit referendum. Experts at PwC also warned there were risks Brexit could impact London, possibly hitting recruitment, trade and regulation, although they said it was too early to gauge the effect. London’s closest rival was Singapore, followed by Toronto, Paris, Amsterdam and New York.

Stockholm is the champion of sustainability and environment as well as infrastructure. Among the cities in the report Stockholm also has the smallest income inequality. Though Stockholm generally evaluates well, the city is pulled down in the ranking because of the housing shortage and its relatively expensive living costs.

Do you want to set up your business in one of the most innovative regions of the world? Welcome to Stockholm, where start-ups flourish. Feel free to contact Scandicorp who will happily provide you with any help and information.

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Member of the Norwegian-Swedish Chamber of Commerce

Norsk Svenska Handelskammaren Scandicorp

Scandicorp, with offices in both Stockholm and Oslo, is now a member of the Norwegian-Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm.

Both Scandicorp and the Chamber of Commerce share a common purpose: to help entrepreneurs and companies in either country to establish a presence in the other country.

Scandicorp is convinced that many Norwegian companies would benefit greatly from neighboring Sweden and vice versa. If you are a Swedish or Norwegian entrepreneur interested in expanding your horizons good ways to start your journey may be to contact Scandicorp or the Norwegian-Swedish Chamber of Commerce. Scandicorp will happily help you with establishing a presence and provide you with accounting and company management services.

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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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