Patrik Andersson, CEO Business Region Göteborg
14 May 2020

CEO’s outlook: Gothenburg’s business community will get a kickstart after corona

“With the right measures and initiatives during the crisis, I believe that the Gothenburg region’s business community can get a kickstart and come out of this holding a stronger position internationally,” writes Patrik Andersson, CEO at Business Region Göteborg.

We have now had around two months of crisis handling of the corona situation. The virus has hit society hard, both financially and in terms of health and lives. A demand and supply shock is impacting the whole economic system and the world has shut down.

At Business Region Göteborg, we have had contact with hundreds of companies that have been impacted, including via our expanded guidance service “Företagslotsen Extra”. It’s incredibly sad to hear the stories of people whose prospering life’s works are now bleeding.      

Our analyst Peter Warda has been following the developments in the region closely. Unemployment has increased significantly, job growth has weakened (although some sectors continue to go well), and both the number of redundancies and businesses filing for reorganisation have increased significantly. We will continue to keep a close watch on the statistics and developments.  

That as many companies as possible survive this period and retain their vital personnel is of utmost importance. A lot has been done centrally at the government level, regionally and at the municipal level in the Gothenburg region. The measures are good, but more are required and across the board. And it’s important that we think about the future strategically.

We can’t forget how the situation was before corona. We were one of the strongest growing regions in Europe with incredible developments within, among others, the automotive and life science clusters and unparalleled volumes of urban development. And there is nothing that changes this fact, looking from a slightly longer perspective.

There are many uncertainties around the coronavirus. We don’t know when things will be more under control and we don’t know what the overall economic consequences for the region will be. But we remain focussed on the future and are working offensively with the difficulties we face, step by step. There is going to be intense competition between different regions and countries in the world, and it’s important that Gothenburg and Sweden get out of the starting blocks with high quality.With the right measures and initiatives during the crises, I believe that the Gothenburg region’s business community can get a kickstart and come out of this holding a stronger position internationally.

With a strategic advance, it’s important that we don’t lose pace and large investments in, for example, infrastructure and skills development, must be made. All of the people, who today have lost their jobs must be taken care of and with the help of concrete initiatives be ready to step into, what we understand, will be a new reality.

The high-level expertise that up until mid-March was in short supply, has now been made available in the local labour market. Among other things, this has opened up new discussions around large innovation partnerships and establishment inquiries.   

I also see that the ongoing pandemic creates conditions to move forward with substantial investments in the other big crisis that is also ongoing, which is now somewhat playing second fiddle – the climate crisis. We should make the most of this opportunity and invest, and for the Gothenburg region’s part, it’s about continuing with, among other things, the transformations that have already started in the automotive industry.  

Finally, every year a survey is carried out on how businesses experience the service from the City of Gothenburg and the municipalities in the Gothenburg region. After two years of decline, I’m happy to say that Gothenburg and the Gothenburg region have bounced back to their highest levels ever. At times like these, when companies fight for their survival, it’s more important than ever that the region’s municipalities provide good service. The latest numbers show that things are again heading in the right direction.

Patrik Andersson

CEO at Business Region Göteborg 

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