Text: Sara Schedin
Foto: Business Sweden
Elsa Stefenson’s dream of working abroad became a reality when she joined Business Sweden nine years ago.
As half Brazilian and half Swedish, Elsa Stefenson was raised in both Rio de Janeiro and Gothenburg. Her knowledge of both countries and their cultures has been very useful as an employee of Business Sweden, where she works as a Trade Commissioner in Chile, helping Swedish companies to increase their global sales in South America – and also assist international companies that want to invest in Sweden.
Titel: Trade Commissioner
Utbildning: Business Administration, University of Gothenburg universitet, degree year 2006
Which is your favourite place in Santiago? “Many tourists are surprised that Santiago is a well-organized and functioning city. The views with the Andes in the background wherever you look are also distinctive. My favourite place is the Lastarria area, which offers a nice atmosphere with many fine older houses, bars and restaurants. There is also the area Barrio Italia which has many design stores that showcase furniture and fashion. “
– After studying at the University of Gothenburg and then working for Swedish companies for a few years, I began to feel that it was time to go back to Brazil. Especially since the country began to show interesting growth figures in late 2009. I already had a dream of working with Swedish companies in Brazil, and since São Paulo is sometimes referred to as Sweden’s second largest industrial city, because of all the Swedish companies that have their production there, it did not feel like an impossibility. At that time I had no clear image of what Business Sweden did, but after having a lunch with a project manager at the São Paulo office, I knew I had found my dream job.
– My first customer was a small Swedish company that had invented a filter solution for the hygiene sector. I helped the company to write a business plan for Brazil and identify potential customers that would be of interest to them. Since then I have worked with Swedish companies across all industries to support them in their international journey. My overall assignment in Business Sweden also includes building business relationships and finding local partners. In addition to the consulting business, Business Sweden also work with finding synergies between the investments made in our export markets and what Sweden has to offer in terms of innovations. For these assignments we work closely with the embassies and in my case I cooperate with the Swedish Embassy in Chile, Peru and Argentina.
– My assignment is about helping Swedish companies increase their global sales and international companies to invest in Sweden. Among other things, we identify the companies’ challenges and provide practical local support to enable them to increase their growth. Our Swedish companies operate in complex environments where procurement and purchasing processes are affected by several stakeholders. Understanding how these processes work, who takes decisions, and how one can influence with Swedish guidelines on sustainable and ethical entrepreneurship, is also part of my work. It is about minimising risks and quickly giving companies the best conditions to grow on the market. As you can hear the work we do is truly high level to hands on.
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