Text: Gabrielle Akal
Foto: Business Sweden
In the year 2000, I took a gap year and visited South Africa and I fell in love with this beautiful country and was very fascinated by its history. I then moved back home to Sweden to complete my Master of Science in Business Administration. On completion of my studies, I moved back to South Africa and joined Business Sweden in the fall of 2007. My reason for applying to Business Sweden was that I saw a lot of potential for Swedish companies in South Africa and wanted to be part of an organization that assists Swedish companies in expanding their business in Africa.
Rupa Thakrar Bagoon
Titel: Senior Project Manager
Education: Master of Science in Business Administration from Mälardalen University.
At Business Sweden, we work as management consultants and assist with the growth and expansion of Swedish companies abroad. We also assist international companies to invest and expand in Sweden.
Our work normally involves hands-on engagement working with high-level management within multi-national companies and diplomatic missions in various countries across the world.
I work as a senior project manager and manage various projects from start to end across different industries. These projects can be anything from assisting Swedish companies setting up in South Africa, to finding a local partner or distributor, recruiting personnel locally, or doing a market analysis to understand the potential, risks, and opportunities.
To strategically understand the business opportunities for Swedish companies in the FMCG sector in Africa, we recently conducted a project where we did a market analysis looking at consumption trends, different supply chain models, and regulations around international trade in order to identify potential markets for Swedish consumer goods companies. This market analysis focused on 12 countries in four trade blocks, chosen because of their market size, population demographics, and corresponding retail opportunities. Our conclusion from the analysis was that an early presence in African markets targeting specific epicenters will help Swedish companies learn and grow as the market expands.
Africa is generally understated as a market and not always on the priority agenda for Swedish companies. Living and working in Africa which consists of 54 countries, gives us an internal perspective as we see huge potential based on population growth, a rising middle class, a large young population, urbanization growing megacities, and IoT adoption.
Business Sweden’s Head Quarters are located in Sweden, but we have local offices in around 50 markets globally. Each market forms part of a region and we work very closely within these regions. In my case, I am based in South Africa, but get to work closely with my colleagues in Kenya and Morocco, and together we cover the region of Africa. We also get to take part in many global assignments and initiatives. This allows for greater exposure to other regions, markets, colleagues, and business cultures.
At Business Sweden no day is like the previous day and you get the opportunity to work with diverse clients, markets, and colleagues around the world. You develop and grow daily and are exposed to so many aspects of the business.
I enjoy being part of an organization that makes a difference in Sweden by helping Swedish companies to grow their global sales and international companies to invest and expand into Sweden. I enjoy assisting any company with a vision to grow their footprint in a foreign market and being part of that journey. Guiding them throughout the journey from an idea or concept to implementing their strategy, establishing themselves in the market, and growing sales while also contributing to the local country by creating jobs and adding value to their economy in a very sustainable way.