Today, geographical and cultural barriers around the world are changing. Companies ranging in size from giants to the startup down the hall are routinely engaged in offshoring, not only for manufacturing, but for services as well. Lately though, companies have turned their attention to an alternative that is proving to be an attractive middle road between in housing and offshoring.
What exactly is “Nearshoring”?
Nearshoring means that an organization decides to transfer work to companies that are less expensive and geographically closer. Using this model allows businesses to move their operations to a closer, more cost-effective location, or transferring a portion of their labor to a foreign nation within close geographical proximity.
Nearshoring vs. Offshoring: What’s the difference?
Nearshoring means that the business has shifted work to a lower cost organization, but within its own region, like for instance to the Baltic region.
Offshoring involves moving work to an organization in another part of the world in order to reduce production costs. It’s become a global trend for a good many reasons. You stand to maintain or even increase productivity while simultaneously reducing costs.
Why should I Nearshore?
Many operational expenses (like air travel and shipping expenses) can be reduced with nearshoring.
Unlike offshoring, outsourcing to nations as close in proximity as Lithuania and Denmark allows a business to understand workflow expectations, while providing consumers with the service and experts they’ve come to expect in a global market.
By reducing time differences and distance, nearshoring provides the opportunity to communicate and maintain cultural and ethical ties between geographically separated groups of employees. When barriers are reduced, productivity increases.
Ready to Get Started?
Want to know more and find out how to get started? Contact Baltic Assist, a company with offices in Sweden and Lithuania.
Baltic Assist was founded by Per Moller and Andzej Rynkevic. Per Moller has served as the Managing Partner of EY both in the Baltics and Denmark. Andzej Rynkevic has previously worked for Barclays Technology Centre in Lithuania.
By Jonas Michanek, entrepreneur and writer, and working for Ideon Science Park on an assignment as acting Incubator Manager at the Roar Nigeria Hub.
Did you know that Nigeria has around 200 million people? Did you know that it will be the world’s third most populated country in around 30 years? Did you know that Facebook and Google are starting to invest heavily in Nigeria? I did not. But now I do. And here are some other things I learned about when working in Nigeria.
Since November 2017, I have had the privilege to work for Ideon Science Park in Lund on an assignment in Nigeria. The assignment was to start the first university-based startup Incubator and Science Park at The University of Nigeria (UNN), in Nsukka. If you have read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, then you know the setting. UNN is set on the Nigerian countryside with red soil, banana and mango trees, cassava plantations and great views of trees and jungle. And in the middle of that a lively campus with around 40.000 students where all the students, the faculty and their families are part of the campus. The whole city of Nsukka is basically the campus with the staff and services needed to run this academic microcosmos. The concept is very similar to another school I have attended, Duke University in the USA.
I have been to Africa many times before but never to Nigeria. Here are some of the most important things I learned.
Seventh most populated country in the world
When I ask people in Sweden to guess on how many people live in Nigeria – they often say about around 40-60 million. So did I. There are various numbers circulating – everything from around 180 million to some people arguing that it is even 250 million people. It is now the 7th most populated land in the world – the most populated in Africa – and is estimated to pretty soon being the third most populated country in the world. As population growth is one other big driver of economic growth, the middle class is growing steadily in Nigeria. As Hans Rosling writes in his fantastic book Factfulness, that this is a huge potential for global companies, with much greater potential than many western countries. If you are willing to take the risk…
And for example, Hanna Einarsson is. She is a Swede who started Oriflame in Nigeria and made a big impact, but wanted to do her own thing. So, she started Tribute – a perfume company for the Nigerian population. She saw that the creams and perfumes from Europe did not work so well in the warm weather and did not fit perfectly into the tastes of the Nigerian woman (who wanted stronger and more colorful scents). She is now enjoying tremendous growth with her lifestyle brand in Lagos, maybe (in my opinion) the coolest city in Africa besides Johannesburg, Cape Town or Nairobi.
Small economy – ready for the next step
Even though Nigeria has a great population, the economy in monetary terms is still small. For example, the GDP of Nigeria is only a little more than half of that in Sweden, with it’s 10 million population. And this makes it a market for cheap mass market products. As one of the directors of the leading Nigerian incubator CC Hub in Lagos, Tunji Eleso, told me: “There is a huge market, but still people have very little money. So, the startups we work with have to have “must-have”-solutions at a very, very low price. And go mass market. In 5-10 years, we might have a middle class of size – that can pay more”. So, Nigeria is still a small economy mostly based on the oil industry. But an economy that can be boosted with the right investments in infrastructure.
Infrastructure is still key
It is basic growth economics, but what is the key to economic development in Nigeria? It is infrastructure. As water, electricity and internet (mobile or land-based) is functioning only on and off – it really matters. It is hard to do business today without these services in place. Do you know you know what I experienced as being the biggest problem? Lack of internet. You can have electricity going on and off, because there are batteries and generators. But if the internet is not working (or is really slow or you cannot afford to pay for more mobile connection) – you cannot work in the startup world of today. And most of the incubator attendees have ideas involving internet, mobile and/or software. So, my advice to both the government of Nigeria and companies who want to locate in Nigeria – make sure that the internet works!
Mobile and drones will help Nigeria take a big leap
Even though Nigeria is not yet a booming economy, everybody pretty much has a phone. And it is mostly not phones like iPhones or Samsungs – it is Tecnos and Infinixs. The most used communication tool is WhatsApp. So, make sure you have it installed if you are entering Nigeria.
Facebook also have a huge user base and is a good tool for marketing. So mobile is big. And so are drones! As the roads are very bad in many areas, drone delivery is not a nice to have as when you see the Amazon commercials. Here it is for real. And a big business opportunity for companies. As well as a serious help for emergency situations and for the military. Because of the situation when it comes to infrastructure, Nigeria will skip some development steps and probably take the lead in areas like drones, mobile services for farming, solar panel solutions for rural areas etc.
The youth – the talent – the treasures
Nigerians are a young population, the median age is 17.9 years. And they are well educated, the country is bound to boom financially. Mark Zuckerberg has for example invested in Nigeria’s most prominent startup, Andela, which is mainly a software outsourcing company. I think that Nigeria is where India was maybe 15 years ago in this area. And think about what happened to for example Wipro and Infosys – these Indian companies are global star players today. Nigeria has the same potential. And this time, Nigeria has a great opportunity to learn from the ideas and shortfalls of others. Because of the internet, students can get the latest knowledge online, as well as the latest software code for free. President Muhammadu Buhari has called the Nigerian youth lazy. I think that Nigeria’s future lies in the hands of the youth, they are Nigeria’s treasure chest, not the old political and/or company structures. To get a taste of the talent, please look at the startups at the Roar Nigeria incubator that I have been part of.
So, would I invest in Nigeria? Yes, but I would use local help to get settled. As in all countries you have to get to know the local business culture. How to communicate in the best way. How to manage the work-place. And I would go for the new tech communities with young people having a global outlook. Nigeria is not only a huge market – it is also competing with South Africa of being the African leader and the door to Africa. So, if you make it here, you can make it everywhere in Africa.
/Jonas Michanek, entrepreneur and innovation writer from NEW working for Ideon Science Park
Interested in doing business in Nigeria?
If you are planning to invest, locate your business or just want to do some research into the Nigerian market, please join Ideon for the Swedish Innovation Delegation in October. A handful Swedish companies will go together to meet companies, universities, government agencies and lots of talented students. The goal is to start closer business relation and partnership with the Nigerian market.
“Working in sales, you can’t sit and wait for the phone to ring anymore. We live in a VUCA world, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This means that we are also operating at a more complex market. Long-term relationships with your clients are crucial”, this was the opening statement by Emma Troedsson at the Ideon Marketing and Sales network. The theme was how you can build a network in an intelligent way to boost your sales.
“It’s hard to keep up with the needs and the wants of your customers, even harder than before. This means that you really need to take your customer’s hand and understand what their needs and wants are. And how do you do that? You can do it in many ways, but the main way is by building a strong relationship. That’s the main tool that you have.”
Are networks undemocratic?
“Some people think that having a society based on networks might be undemocratic, like in the mafia where only some people get favours. But we must not forget how important networks are to your career. Your network is part of your competence. Just like your attitude, it is part of the package,” Emma comments. “The most successful people are the ones who have open networks, where you get different types of input.”
“To meet people equally is one of the hardest things in sales. Sometimes when I work with my clients, they say ‘I know, we’ll go to the customer and give a lecture’. I usually tell them that is the equivalent of saying ahead of a date ‘I can sleep at your place’. This way, you are making assumptions without understanding the client’s situation and it is so important to be present and open in the relationship, all the time”, Emma says.
The best connections and networks, according to Emma:
Are built on trust
There is a balance between the people, either in the economic situation or a balance in values, energy, focus or knowledge
They develop over time
Emma’s best networking tips
Time is a scarce resource and networking and talking to clients takes time. So how can you do it in an efficient and creative way?
Use the lunch, go out and meet people for lunch instead of scheduling a regular meeting.
Meet up for a coffee (fika), networking is the key to the future success of your career. Spend more time on this instead of making your project more perfect.
Talk to people around you at different venues, you never know who you’ll meet. This works best if you can start of as equals, find something that you both have in common or that you are interested in (like dogs) to start off the conversation.
You don’t have to be in your job persona to mingle and network. The best sales pitches are usually made when you’re not prepared, as you are being yourself, talking about something you believe in.
A great question to ask at a mingle is “what else is going on with you/your business?”. Be curious and find out what they are working on, it might lead up to a collaboration.
Build a long-term relationship with your clients
“We have a lot of misconceptions about how working in sales means being pushy and that calling a client means that you are disturbing them. When you call a client that you have done business with, you don’t call them to sell, you call them to ask about what’s going on. You show an interest in them and their situation. Otherwise, it is like going in a holiday with a friend, and then not call them for a year. If you’re closer to your shareholders than your customers – it is a dangerous path you have chosen. Build a relationship with your clients and take care of it,” Emma finishes her talk.
Join our next Marketing and Sales meeting
Do you want to improve your skills or your network in marketing and sales? Then join us for the next Ideon Marketing and Sales Network! Find the dates at ideon.se/events.
Do you want to find out more about what Emma Troedsson can do for your business? Check out her website at Sterner & Troedsson.
In May 2018, the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) will enter into force. This might make you worried about what to do and where to start, but don’t worry, Laurita Krisciunaite from Sällberg & Co has put together a checklist that you can follow to get an overview of the work you have in front of you. So let’s get started!
The GDPR largely resembles the current personal data act, but it will also bring some changes. Even though we have had the personal data act for a long time, the management of personal data has not been ideal. This becomes quite obvious when considering that the most commonly used paragraph is called “the abuse rule”. This means that most Swedish companies, authorities and organizations now face a major change in their management of personal data.
By now you should be reviewing what actions you need to take in your organization, in order to cost-effectively and efficiently adapt your business to the new general data protection regulation. The majority of the changes that have to take place should be done before the regulation is in play (and in some cases even before additional Swedish legislation is added). Some organizations will have a lot to do, others less. For this reason, we have created a checklist that you can follow to get an overview of the work you have before you.
1. Prepare and inform the organization
A thorough analysis of the current situation is an important success factor for each GDPR customization project. Personal data management rarely belongs to the core business of a company or organization, but as it is normally done in various parts of the organization, it is simplest if the project is led by the senior executive body. The reason for this is that they have an overview of the business and can easily determine what special needs you have, what resources are available and who will take the main responsibility for the remaining work. Next, you have to make sure to inform, and to different degrees educate, the co-workers in your company.
2. Take stock and document
The next step is to review what personal data you manage in your organization. Sensitive personal data requires you to be extra meticulous in your work. Examine any personal data that adds value or is critical to your business – and that you are entitled to retain – and delete everything else. You must ensure that you are fulfilling the requirements set up in the regulation for each set of information that you wish to keep and make sure that you have a clear purpose for why the data is kept.
3. Keep you customers informed
Once you have decided what personal data you want to keep, you should inform the physical persons whose information you have stored and inform them about:
What rights they have
How you manage their data
Why the data is stored
On what legal basis you are doing this
How long the data will be stored
You must also inform the data subjects, whose personal information you received from someone else (for example, purchased customer lists) or if you start using information that you collected for another, prior purpose.
This may seem a bit overwhelming, but it is better to be on the safe side, since the penalty fees can reach up to 4 % of your annual turnover. If you start early, you will on addition be able keep good relations with your customers by showing them that you take responsibility for their personal information.
4. Review you collaborations
You need to review collaborations you have with other parties where you share personal data. Do you have subcontractors or do you act as a subcontractor? Make sure that you have data processing agreements in place that regulate your obligations and rights (and appropriately regulate the risks since, according to GDPR, you are jointly responsible for many incidents).
5. Set up processes for the future
The regulation places high demands on organizational and technical safety proceedings. You need to review your systems and what additional actions that will be needed to ensure compliance with the regulation. Be sure to educate your staff, create processes and internal policies on how to handle personal information within your organization, ranging from how to obtain consent to how to delete personal data.
Don’t be afraid, get ahead
Initially, the regulation may seem overwhelming, but do not be afraid of it. The most important thing is to get started early and to take action. Ultimately, it will be a battle for the customer’s trust, as much of the data management in the future will be done based on consent. By doing this job early, you can win big market shares and create much closer relationships with your customers.
Want to know more? Contact Sällberg & Co!
Sällberg & Co is an entrepreneurial business law firm. At the moment, we are focusing on helping companies, authorities and organizations to adapt their business to the new general data protection regulation. We offer courses, consulting services and a proprietary IT solution, we help you to write and review your agreements, perform GAP-analyzes and data protection impact assessments, and much more.
Together with the IT company OMMH Scandinavia and external investors, we have developed GDPR Hero. It is a cloud-based tool that will help both small and large companies, but also authorities to comply with the regulation. GDPR Hero helps you to keep records of your personal data management. You also get access to checklists, standard agreements, news coverage and much more.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to know more or are interested in our tool and services!
Annette Gustafsson is an Insurance Broker at AssuransSelector. They offer professionally negotiated insurance solutions, often in collaboration with London underwriters, based on global reinsurance plans that Swedish insurers usually cannot offer.
“I think development companies should review these three key points in terms of insurance,” Annette says. She is the company’s representative at Ideon, where she has helped many companies to limit their risks within IT, med tech, drug development and clinical studies.
1 – Budget to enforce your patents
Comment from Annette: To get a patent in ten countries costs over one million SEK. It is easy to forget that it costs about the same amount to maintain the patent for ten years. A patent process in Sweden costs SEK 3-4 million or more. In the US, it costs at least SEK 6-10 million. So when you budget for patents, remember to review if you can afford to stop an infringement of your patent? Or if you can protect yourself, if you happen to infringe someone else’s patent? Get help to negotiate the right insurance solutions that cover this as well.
2 – With IPO, risk exposure also increases
Comment from Annette: It is easy to forget that with a board assignment follows personal responsibility for the company’s commitments. We see in our work how the ownership after a stock market introduction increases from a small number of people to a large number, and thus increases the risk exposure. Do not forget to get an insurance cover for the CEO and the board. Sometimes young companies find it difficult to get insurance because they cannot show enough positive financial statements, but there are opportunities for them too.
3 – We have signed an agreement, but does the insurance cover the commitments we make?
Comment from Annette: Signing agreements can be complicated in itself. But if you do notexplore the risks that the agreement can entail, the consequences can be really unpleasant.Therefore, it is important that you always look over the liability insurance before signing major business deals.
We’ll guide you through the jungle
Assurans Insurance can help you negotiate the best insurance solution for your business, whether you are a startup, medium-sized or large company, whether you have customers in Skåne or globally. Our focus is always on our customers, as well as continuously offering competitive solutions for high-tech companies in new areas. Understanding our customers’ operations is a vital part of our business and a necessity for providing optimal insurance solutions. Contact Annette Gustafsson, who is at Ideon in Beta 5 to hear more about what services they can offer your company: phone + 46 76 102 25 53 or by mail at email@example.com. Find out more at http://assuransselector.se/