Unlocking the high potential of Ukrainian-Swedish cooperation
The fourth Sweden-Ukraine Business Forum was held in Kyiv, on June 15-16th. The goal of the Forum was to highlight Ukraine’s market potential and promote Sweden as an innovative and competitive business partner. The new Ukrainian government gave an update on the reforms implementation, their impact on running business in Ukraine, and upcoming business opportunities in different sectors of the economy.
The forum started on June 15th with the reception given by the Embassy of Sweden. His Excellency Andreas von Beckerath, the Ambassador of Sweden to Ukraine, noted in his welcoming addresses that the trade volume between our two countries could be much higher.
“I find the Swedish community quite optimistic regarding cooperation with Ukraine,” he emphasized. “There are two main reasons why Sweden is giving a closer look to Ukraine today. First is the Association Agreement with European Union that promotes trade, and the second is Ukrainian reform-minded government, supported by Europe.”
One of the greatest Swedish businessmen, philanthropist and the founder of Sigma AB, Dan Olofsson joined the Forum to show support and belief in the future of Ukraine.
“There is a very illustrative quote of Winston Churchill. He once said that pessimists see the troubles in the opportunities. Optimists, on the contrary, see opportunities in the troubles. I think Ukrainian people are optimistic. Despite our two countries have a long history of cooperation, Sweden still can — and should — do more.”
The second day of the Forum started with the press-conference that was followed by the debates panel, dedicated to reforms implementations in Ukraine. The keynote speaker, Minister of Finance Natalie Yaresko, has been speaking about the ways to make Ukraine more attractive for the foreign business:
“The main steps Ukraine should take to attract investments are to stabilize economics and create favorable business conditions.” She noted some of the business-related reforms that have been put in place over the last year in Ukraine, including corruption disabling, court system reformation, steps to energy independence, tax policy review and reducing budget deficit.
The second panel was dedicated to corporate social responsibility as a competitive advantage of companies. Vladimir Beck, Board Member at Sigma Software, was talking about the activities aimed at education and professional development of IT specialists in Ukraine and within the company.
“There are many ways to demonstrate the company`s dedication to social responsibility,” he comments. “Our company pays a great attention to the preparation of young specialists. Yearly about 300 students are engaged in various educational programs Sigma conducts jointly with 12 universities and up to 10 non-governmental educational establishments in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and Lviv. We offer practical expertise in addition to general education. It`s not possible just to acquire the talent. We need to constantly participate in the ecosystem of the educational system to help this talent grow.”
The last debates panel was called to lighten the effective E-government solutions and their implementation in Ukraine. Michael Lauridsen, Business Development Manager and E-government expert at Sigma, took part in the panel, and mentioned:
“There is no need to invent technologies; these solutions were already implemented in Estonia, Sweden, and other countries. Use their experience and their knowledge. In Sweden, for example, we know the platforms, know the processes, and we would be glad to help.”
The event ended with a series of workshops powered by the partner companies. Valery Krasovsky, Sigma Software CEO, held a workshop “Outsourcing vs IT consulting” to clearly define the difference between these two terms and examine which one is applicable to Ukrainian IT export industry today.
“When the industry started back in 90th, most companies were doing outsourcing. Now the situation has changed. The IT companies have accumulated cross-industry expertise and experience with the market-leading customers in creation of the sophisticated and innovative software products and robust industry systems,” Valery states. “It is no longer the outsourcing. It is a mature and highly competitive IT consulting sector. And this sector is recognized as one of the most perspective in regard to the Swedish-Ukrainian cooperation.”