Women, Leadership and International Business drawing a full house in West Sweden

On May 19th Chamber Trade Sweden together with the West Sweden Chamber of Commerce held an “Eat and Talk” lunch focusing on Women, Leadership and International Business. With guests coming in to share their story from Iraq, Kenya and Indonesia and more than 50 business women from western Sweden which had come to listen, learn and engage it made for a very interesting lunch and afternoon.

Jeanette Andersson, in charge of member services at the West Sweden Chamber of Commerce was responsible for putting together the event and we touched base with her to get her views on the success.

Why do you think there was such a great interest from the business women in your region to attend the lunch?

– It is not often we arrange a networking meeting on this topic. The focus on businesswomen from developing countries raised great curiosity and interest. Many of the participants had either worked or had a connection to developing countries, or simply wanted to know more about what is happening today and how they can get involved.

Do you think that women (+ the 3 men present) in your region are particularly involved in international affairs?

– The entire western Sweden is working daily with the global market, hence the large interest in international issues. We have a strong presence on the international arena through the large global businesses in the region. However, we are not as engaged in developing countries and more complex markets. Many expressed that they would like to be there but have not found a context which suits their needs or simply lack the knowledge about these market Many were for example impressed hearing about when we went to Kurdistan and took part in the first demonstration on International Women’s Day. People are generally afraid of the unknown and colored by what the media writes. They need a larger context to fit into for them to dare to venture into projects like the ones Chamber Trade now has started on several continents. We can see both the business benefits for the member companies as well as the engagement to share knowledge to women entrepreneurs in complex markets.

What has the feedback been from the participants and will the chamber try to find a way to pick up similar issues again?
– The response came immediately and was overwhelming. “This we had no idea of …” was the most common comment. “How can I / we be involved in the future?” Was the second.
Therefore, we will now follow up the meeting with all participants with a description of the different projects, so those who want to can become engaged. We will also encourage our members to first nominate women candidates for IWEC 2015. We have a feeling that we should be able to find several good candidates from western Sweden where we have many strong and good businesses run by women. We will also be sure to keep them updated on future projects and opportunities with Chamber Trade Sweden and I hope we’ll see more engagement from the business community in western Sweden in Chamber Trades activities going forward.

Sofie Wikander, Programme manager

To learn more about IWEC read here http://chambertradesweden.se/2015/04/28/become-the-next-swedish-iwec-awardee/

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