GlobalAtlanta is reporting from the Entrepreneurial Days conference in southern Sweden Aug. 20-23, where representatives from Savannah are courting Swedish companies wanting to expand in America by way of Georgia’s main port city.
Wade Caldwell, production manager for GlobalAtlanta, is traveling with Chris Miller, executive director of The Creative Coast Initiative, a non-profit organization that aims to attract knowledge-based businesses to Savannah and promote the city’s innovation economy.
“We’re going over to talk to companies that have expressed interest in entering the U.S. market through Savannah,” said Mr. Miller, whose organization is overseeing the creation of a “landing pad” in Savannah, which has characteristics of a small business incubator but is different because it is open to established companies.
Two Swedish companies have already committed to establishing operations in the landing pad facility, which will be housed in an old hospital building currently undergoing renovations, Mr. Miller said.
At the portion of the conference held in a city called Växjö, Mr. Miller plans to interview at least six more companies that have expressed interest in moving into the landing pad. Mr. Caldwell will cover the interview process for GlobalAtlanta, which Mr. Miller said will be competitive.
“You want to pick people that have the highest possibility of success and will benefit from the resources that you’ve got.”
Scheduled to open in mid-October, the landing pad will be constructed in five phases. The companies interviewed at the conference would be among the first to occupy space in the facility, which Mr. Miller said will eventually house 40-60 companies in a total of 110,000 square feet.
“We’re not going to run out of space anytime soon,” Mr. Miller said, but he emphasized the importance of gradually opening it companies from Sweden as well as other parts of the world. “We can only talk with so many companies at one time…and we need to make sure that these guys get real value out of this.”
Mr. Miller expects about 800 people at the conference, which will span four cities.
The delegation from Savannah will include Mr. Miller and Mr. Caldwell along with Page Siplon from the Savannah Maritime Logistics Innovation Center, Claude Galipeault from Digitus Biometrics Inc., a Savannah company that will install its access control technology in a Swedish incubator and Jeff Notrica from Inman Park Properties, the owner of the Savannah landing pad property, among others.
Mr. Miller said that the trip will be a strong step toward bringing Swedish companies to Georgia and firming ties between the state and Sweden.
He said that the mayor of Växjö has been supportive of the relationship, and he has set up a video teleconference between the mayors of Växjö and Savannah for Aug. 20.
He also noted that the Creative Coast has formed a fruitful relationship with the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta.
The chamber plans to expand its influence throughout Georgia and will hold a meeting in Savannah at the end of this month to discuss its future.
For more information, read Wade Caldwell’s trip blog or email him questions about the eDays conference. Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories The Creative Coast Initiative – Chris Miller, executive director (912) 484-3023
GlobalAtlanta – Wade Caldwell, technology (404) 664-6518 eDays Blog