This year´s SACC Summit marked the 25th anniversary of SACC USA, with a record number of chamber representatives, corporate members and partners participating. The summit which took place on September 18–19 at the beautiful House of Sweden, in Washington DC opened with Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall and U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski via video link commenting on the strong ties Sweden has with the U.S. and the importance of the SACC network. Aaron Brickman, Executive Director of Select USA, also gave his insights into U.S. investment opportunities for Swedish companies looking to set up shop here in the United States. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of SACC USA, Olle Wijkström co-founder of SACC USA, and Lars Forsberg, son of co-founder Franklin Forsberg, summarized the success of the organization to date, and emphasized the significant impact SACC has had on Swedish–American business relations.
In the first speaker session of day one, ´Perspectives & Trends with Impact on Swedish Related Business,’ Eva Walder, Director–General for Trade, at the Foreign Ministry of Sweden, highlighted the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which is currently in discussion on both sides of the pond, and the importance it bears on Swedish–American trade relations. The TTIP agreement would facilitate trade between the U.S. and the European Union, by easing existing trade barriers, harmonizing standards and strengthen social and cultural ties between the two regions. An insight into the differences between Swedish and U.S. investment culture was given by Anders Berggren, CEO of Marmon Retail, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The afternoon kicked off with a panel discussion on ´U.S. Market Trends and Expansion Strategies´ with corporate members and partners sharing their thoughts on a wide range of topics involving expansion, manufacturing, protectionism, regulations, leadership, branding, sales and marketing in the U.S. market place. The panel was moderated by Johan Westberg, Chair of SACC Colorado and panelists included Klas Abrahamsson, Michael Andersson, Anders Berggren, Gary Bruce and Rasmus Goksor, all of whom are part of the SACC network.
The panel was followed by drinks and jazz music on the House of Sweden´s rooftop with special guests Evfa Attling and Eva Dahlgren joining the SACC members and partners, giving everyone the opportunity to mingle before heading to the Swedish Ambassador´s residence for a buffet dinner. A silent auction was held, with SACC participants being asked to bid on a range of luxury items generously donated by individuals, members and business partners of SACC–USA. The proceeds from the auction will go to our Traineeship program to support our talented and hard working trainees. The lucky winners of the auction were announced at the dinner with the highest bidder winning a unique piece of jewelry made by Evfa Attling, the renowned Swedish jewelry designer.
Day two of the SACC Summit started off with an inspirational talk by Susanne Connors Bowman, Co–owner of The Haefer Group, Ltd., who shared her thoughts on how an organization establishes its membership protocol and the different expectations members have depending on the generation they belong to. The morning continued with SACC members and partners breaking out into groups to discuss a range of topics spanning from board governance to membership categories and benefits, and programs and events. Results of the group discussions were brought up in a session led by Therese Linde, President of SACC–USA, who called on each group´s leader to summarize the outcome of the break–out sessions. The topics were in turn elaborated on in the open Board of Directors´ meeting afterwards, which set out future SACC network actions going forward.
The team at SACC–USA would like to thank everyone for taking part in yet another successful event and for celebrating the organization´s 25th anniversary together with us! SACC–USA looks forward to continuing its collaboration with its fellow chamber representatives, corporate members and partners, and hopes to see everyone next year! A special thank you to all our sponsors including the Embassy of Sweden, Scandinavian Airlines, SAAB, PartnerTech, Wackes, and Swedbank.