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The Node

Sweden: the new Silicon Valley?

We’re very proud of our Swedish heritage at Avinode Group. We’re the product of a strong, entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

From our Swedish origins, our story has spread across the world. And we’re not alone. Amazingly, a nation of just 10m people – that’s only about 0.13% of the total world population – is now one of the leading global technology powerhouses. There are reportedly over 20,000 tech companies in Stockholm alone. From revolutionary payments companies iZettle and Klarna to the automotive leader Volvo and the music streaming giants Spotify and SoundCloud, businesses born in Sweden are changing the way the world works, plays, travels, listens and pays.

Is it really surprising so many digital pioneers come from Sweden, though? After all…

We grew up with home computers and fast broadband. The so-called ‘PC reform’ in the 1990s meant Swedes could buy personal computers at very good prices through their employers. Huge numbers of households did so. Computing became more affordable, and therefore more widespread and popular, than ever before. And Sweden has long offered far quicker broadband than most of the world. High computer literacy and fast internet connections are a powerful combination. Many of the children who grew up at home with PCs – literally and metaphorically – are now running digital businesses changing the world.

We believe in equal opportunities…not just in principle but in practice. From the age of six, for example, every child has equal access to free education in Sweden. Equal opportunities exist for entrepreneurs too, which leads us to the fact…

Success breeds success. When Björn Borg ruled the world of tennis in the 1970s, everyone in Sweden was out on the courts practicing. They saw what could be achieved and wanted to be like the great man. Today, young Swedes are inspired by seeing so many of their compatriots launching and running hugely successful international tech businesses. They know they live in a society where their own digital dreams could come true too.

We’re happy to be early adopters. Sweden’s digital natives fearlessly embraced mobile phones and cashless transactions long before most of the world. Swedes love to ask: “What’s new? What’s next?” We’re always pushing at digital boundaries.

Swedish schools encourage lateral thinking. When we see a problem, we don’t give up. We look for a different route to get where we want to go, and we love using technology to help us get there.

We understand the importance of good design. The look of a product really matters; just ask Apple. Sweden’s sense of style – OK, let’s mention IKEA for the first and last time – is admired across the world. People appreciate technology that does a great job but they love technology that looks cool at the same time.

We share and support. Sweden operates with a business ecosystem of investment, generated by large companies, helping to support innovation and start-ups. Perhaps, then, we shouldn’t be surprised by reports Stockholm is second only to California’s ‘Silicon Valley’ in producing billion-dollar tech companies per capita.

Sharing still matters to Avinode Group. Helping people communicate and share information is at the heart of what we do. We believe a better-connected world is simply a better world.

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