Andreas Lind, CEO of Norrbotten Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus from LTU, talks about the exciting developments taking place in Norrbotten.
I do not know if you as an alumnus from Luleå University of Technology has been in northern Sweden recently. If you have not, so I think it's time you take a turn here to us and to your old university. For it has happened a lot.
Maybe you read about it, but it bears repeating and should be experienced: Developments in the north without us unparalleled in modern history. In my job at Norrbotten Chamber of Commerce, I peppered daily with positive messages about our development.
Company after company grows. A basic industries that drive the development and Sweden forward. 200 billion invested in Norrbotten 2020. A creative sector add daily new energy and create a more dynamic, tolerant and modern northern Sweden. And, our tourism industry is constantly evolving and getting more and more to discover the unique Swedish Lapland.
Developments have understood their flagship: From the roundabout when turning into the Luleå University sees few weeks ago Facebook's first giant server room rates up among the trees. LKAB is in full swing with moving Malmberget and Kiruna - entire cities - to access a world class iron ore. In Markbygden outside Piteå built the largest wind farm in Europe. And in depopulated localities depopulation variety Pajala now works 800 people to launch next Norrbotten iron ore mine at Northland Resources.
But in addition to these prestigious projects is the development somewhat amazing. And what makes it so special is that the development is so broad that it covers so many communities and so many industries simultaneously.
This has of course its consequences: Both private and public sectors are crying out for the right skills. Our unemployment is well below the national average. Construction cranes are soaring. And in local marathon rankings in terms of growth, four of the eight counties of Norrbotten.
In doing so, something has happened with our own view of ourselves. Maybe it would be presumptuous to say that we all become proud - you who have studied here know that up here, we are not proud unnecessarily - but we have at least stopped ashamed. We have stopped seeing ourselves as a debilitating, progressive contributions part of Sweden, and started to understand us that we are one of the regions that Swedish growth is leaning against. The rest of Europe are looking at us and use repeatedly northern Sweden that is perhaps best example of good growth and good vitality despite long distances and demographic challenges.
What is causing this change on? Of course, there are many things that come into play. But I am convinced that one of the main causes of northern Sweden's good development is our University. The development of the University and the lift goes hand in hand. For many of the companies now driving this development forward is skilled labor from LTU a linchpin, and the research conducted here is always ranked high in terms of tangible business benefits.
Since Johan Sterte became rector has LTU in a most tangible way advanced its position as one of the most important bulwarks for the region's development. His vision of a university and a region in symbiosis has provided even more fuel to the region, just as the region goes LTU now from strength to strength.
We are very grateful for it. Northern Sweden has LTU to thank for much. And a prerequisite for us to continue moving forward, we will continue to take advantage of all the opportunities we have here in the north is a strong institution.
Another prerequisite for a positive development is that all of us who somehow came into contact with northern Sweden constantly pumps out positive messages. That we all are good ambassadors for what once was our university. That we learn what is true of Northern Sweden and we convey this.
For it is none other than that we have links to northern Sweden who will tell the truth. Doubt you ever will hear of you, and came up. We are many who are ready to receive you and show what actually happens here.
CEO, Norrbotten Chamber of Commerce