In the week 28 June to 4 July this year, close to 8000 politicians, people from associations of all kinds, researchers and lobbyists met in Almedalen in central Visby on the island of Gotland.
The Almedalen Week started in 1968, when Prime Minister Olof Palme made a speech from the back of a lorry in Almedalen during his vacation. From that, the Almedalen Week has grown to this year’s record 1040 events arranged by 560 organisers. The heart of the week is that all political parties represented in the Parliament are there and are given a day each. It is a meeting where you relatively easy get access to many interesting people, at seminars and informally; an unusual combination of political summit and openness.
I attended the Almedalen Week in my capacity as chairperson of the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, a network organisation for the generation and transfer of knowledge relevant to policy in the field of entrepreneurship and small enterprise development. We have taken part in the Almedalen week for some years now. This year, we arranged five seminars; with very good attendance (the competition is fierce). Among many others, we had the new Minister for Higher Education and Research, Tobias Krantz, as a speaker in one seminar, and the chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on Education, Sofia Larsen and two secretaries of state in other seminars.
Our topics were R&D during the crisis; entrepreneurship in the global school (the Swedish government decided on a strategy for entrepreneurship in schools and universities in May 2009, and the Forum has made several studies of entrepreneurship education in Swedish schools); cornerstones for growth in SMEs; advice to entrepreneurs-to-be and SMEs (with presentation of a report by the Forum); and the export potential of Swedish health care. I moderated two of our seminars. People from the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum also took part in other seminars, for example I was on the panel of a seminar on university-region cooperation arranged by the Värmland region.
6 July 2009