Hopeful despite the world situation at this spring’s first Gazelle meeting

Charlie Taylor

KALMAR. In addition to major global challenges, the regional skills shortage is a major obstacle to growth. But crises also provide an opportunity for business development. The forward spirit took place during Di Gasell’s network breakfast in Kalmar yesterday.Published: 6 April 2022, 22:58Increased fuel costs, inflation, record high energy prices, interest rates, sanctions, trade barriers and war in Ukraine. Despite gloomy topics of conversation, the focus was on the future during the spring’s first Di Gasell network breakfast. The companies present at Utblicken Science Park, with a panoramic view of the Öland Bridge, revealed in a survey that they are noticing supply disruptions and higher raw material prices. But the lack of skills is described as the biggest obstacle to future growth. “It has been super difficult to find the right skills. At the same time, as a small company, you have to be very picky about who you hire, ”said Niklas Wahlman, founder of Awenkon, and one of the guests on stage. The Västervik company has nevertheless managed to grow and became the Gazelle Company of the Year in Kalmar County in 2021. Awenkon rents out, among other things, operational and engineering expertise in the energy sector – a red-hot industry. “We are facing an energy revolution, more or less. I believe that Sweden will speed up the decisions it had made anyway, to invest in nuclear power. Just a few months ago, we started a new subsidiary in Oskarshamn, focusing on nuclear technology. If there is ever a time to start working in the energy industry, it is now, ”says Niklas Wahlman. In the group discussions at the tables, the entrepreneurs highlighted the validation of skills from abroad and increased immigration – by strengthening the region’s attractiveness – as some of the solutions to the skills shortage. Thomas Davidsson, business director of Kalmar municipality, highlighted the power of the university as a crucial piece of the puzzle and Louise Östlund, CEO of Kalmar Science Park, came up with a general appeal: “As an entrepreneur, you must dare to bring in the younger ones and dare to mess it up a bit.”Good infrastructure is another key issue to attract the right skills. Here was Anna Barkevall, CEO of Böda Sand, for an unexpected news. ”I want an airport for electric aircraft. We have a vacant potato field. ”Anna Barkevall, CEO of Böda Sand, and Di: s Pontus Herin, moderator. Photo: SUVAD MRKONJICBöda Sand is already pulling its weight when it comes to marketing the region. During the two years of the pandemic, the family business has also attracted even more visitor groups: the charter travelers and new immigrant groups. ”In the past, people talked about camping as a form of accommodation, today it is an experience. Barfotalyx. We have refined the place into a destination and that we have succeeded in doing so is largely due to the fact that we have managed to surround ourselves with talented people, despite the lack of skills, ”says Anna Barkevall, and believes that the pandemic has given the company new strengths. “Today we have full crisis preparedness and the ability to switch quickly. In crises, it is important to embrace the lessons of the leaps one must take, to see the opportunity for business development. ”Hopeful insights in a turbulent time. Ulf Petterson, a stock market analyst at Di and also Kalmarbo, was on the same track as to whether the recession would actually come: “Take advantage of the crisis, do not be paralyzed.”Photo: SUVAD MRKONJIC

Gazelle breakfast in Kalmar

Place: View Science Park, Kalmar. Participating guests: Anna Barkevall, CEO of Böda Sand. Niklas Wahlman, founder of Awenkon. Louise Östlund, CEO of Science Park. Thomas Davidsson, Business Director Kalmar Municipality. Ulf Petterson, stock exchange expert and analyst at Dagens Industri. Moderator: Pontus Herin, reporter and host, Dagens Industri. Björn Solfors

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