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Olof Hällerman, Acting VP Americas and Trade Commissioner to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, is leaving Mexico to take on other responsibilities within the organization.

Olof has more than 15 years of work experience from international companies and management consulting firms. During his career, Olof has focused on business development and has been supporting Swedish companies to increase their competitiveness on global markets.

We spoke with Olof about his more than 3 years leading the Mexico office and his impressions of this region. 

During your time in Mexico, what is your perspective regarding doing business in this region?

Mexico is the easiest country in Latin America for doing business, with a similar ranking as some EU countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Given the many Free Trade Agreements that Mexico has (including EU/Sweden, NAFTA and other markets in Latin America and Asia) we see the Mexican market as very interesting, not only for selling to the world’s largest Spanish speaking market (there are 127 million inhabitants in Mexico), but also for regional expansion towards the south or north.   

What are the advantages for Swedish companies in the region?

The advantages for Swedish companies are that they often offer technologies and solutions that the region needs in terms of innovative, holistic and sustainable solutions with a low total cost of ownership. Furthermore, doing business with Swedish companies is hassle-free, efficient and transparent.

Which are the opportunity areas for Swedish companies?

At Business Sweden, we focus our work on industries where we see big potential for Swedish companies. Currently, we are working with several initiatives within the Mining industry where we have had the chance to support many Swedish clients in growing their sales. The Energy industry that has opened up for private investments and competition also provides many business opportunities. We also undertake projects for our clients on a regular basis within the Healthcare & Life Sciences, Manufacturing, ICT and Retail industries. 

How do you see Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean in ten years?

I believe that GDP growth in the coming years, to a higher extent, will come from productivity improvements through the use of new technologies and services. I hope to see an increasing use of holistic solutions for Smart and Sustainable Cities in the region. The challenges ahead with e.g. growing urbanization will require a long-term and holistic approach towards mobility, clean energy, public safety, and digitalization, i.e. areas where Swedish companies are in the forefront and where we want to partner with players in the region.

What was the most challenging moment during your time in Mexico?

It has been a challenge to quickly build up the Business Sweden organization to meet an increased demand for our services. During these three years, we have doubled our staff and the number of projects for our clients while Swedish exports to Mexico have increased by 44% during the same time period.

Favorite Mexican food

My homemade and barbecued Mixiote, a fantastic traditional Mexican dish with tons of spices. 

Can you tell us about your future work with Business Sweden?

I will take on a position within our organization that is not yet formalized, but within a couple of weeks, we will communicate about this.  

Final comments

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the fantastic Business Sweden team in Mexico. They have done a tremendous job during the last years in supporting Swedish companies grow global sales in our region and I feel confident that this will even accelerate under the leadership of Nicolas Leon. If you have any questions about the team or are interested in understanding how we could help you grow your business in Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean just let us know. 

  • Nicolas Leon, Trade Commissioner and Country Manager
  • Mårten Wilkens, Project Manager, ICT & Smart Cities
  • Nicolas Urbina, Project Manager, Energy
  • Abraham Morales, Consultant, Mining & Automotive 
  • Ernst Lundberg, Consultant, Retail
  • Lorena Matus, Associate, Healthcare & Life Sciences

We thank Olof for his amazing job in this region and wish him all the best continuing his work in increasing global sales for Swedish companies.

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Nicolas leon, new trade comissioner

Starting from May 23rd, 2018, Nicolas Leon will become Trade Commissioner for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean at Business Sweden, based in Mexico City. Nicolas´ background will strengthen our growth advisory toolbox and support our position as the partner of choice in revenue growth initiatives for our clients in the Americas.

Nicolas has earned both a BSc in Informatics and an MSc in Business from the School of Economics and Management at Lund University. He joined Growth-strategy consulting firm Differ in Sweden (former Xlent Strategy) as a “Growth Architect” in 2012. Prior work experience includes Deloitte Consulting and Private Equity firm Prosperitas Capital Partners in Uruguay.

We spoke with Nicolas about his plans for Business Sweden in Mexico.

What are your first impressions of Swedish companies established in this region?

It is very interesting to see the variety of companies in the region, from Ericsson with a Mexican footprint stretching over 100 years to Swedish payment unicorn iZettle, that entered the market 2014 and has since then grown with double digits. Sweden as a brand is strong in Mexico, often related to high technology products that breathe innovation and quality. This opens up many opportunities for Swedish companies not yet in Mexico.

Which sectors do you think are the most promising for Swedish companies?

While we see continuous opportunities for industrial companies, such as within the mining, automobile, and energy sector, as well as B2B technology companies, such as within life science and ICT - we also see growing opportunities for retail companies or companies targeting the end consumer. We see this as a consequence of a growing middle class, a high share of young population and the rise of the DINKS (dual income, no kids) - all driving consumption in Mexico. 

What are your plans for your first 100 days?

My overall ambition is to continue my predecessor´s successful path of creating value for Swedish companies in the region. I want to do this by truly understanding Swedish companies present in Mexico and those looking to enter. I want to understand their challenges and opportunities for growth and how we at Business Sweden can support them to further grow global sales.

What would you like to have accomplished in 5 years’ time?

Today, there are a bit over 100 Swedish companies established in Mexico. However, the potential residing in Mexico allows for much more than that. My ambition is to grow that number as well as enabling existing companies to grow their business in Mexico but also expand beyond its border. Mexico has all the potential of becoming the gateway to LatAm - a huge market of over 30 countries (including the Caribbean) but with a high degree of homogeneity due to shared history and similar culture, language, demographics and religion.

Favorite Mexican food

Well, I have to mention the taco right? One of the first tacos I tasted coming here was the ´al pastor´. Juicy adobo pork marinated and then roasted, served in a fresh warm tortilla. The "shaved" meat reminded me of the kebab back home in Stockholm. Then I heard that the ´al pastor´ was introduced by Lebanese immigrants. What a great story. Different cultures coming together in amazing food. Al pastor is also difficult to cook at home which is why I enjoy eating it out. 

Final comments

I would like to thank Olof for a fantastic job and wish you good luck in your adventures to come!  

22 Maj 2018