Boden climbs 24 places in the ranking of municipalities’ business climate and thus passes the level that has been the target for some time. The situation was different eight years ago, when only 16 municipalities were worse off. How is such a change possible?
For a number of years, Boden has worked strategically to strengthen and develop long-term cooperation with Boden’s entrepreneurs and local business community. A proof of how this has worked out came on Wednesday when the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise published the ranking of the business climate among the country’s 290 municipalities.
The result shows that Boden continues its climb, from 68th to 44th place. This means that Boden is once again the municipality in Norrbotten with the best business climate, but it also means that a goal has been achieved. An ambition that has existed since 2018 when the municipality passed the 100th place, to enter the top 50 list.
– I feel proud of what we have managed to achieve within the organisation. We have created a climate in which we work together with businesses on development issues that also involve the exercise of public authority. I think this has been a success factor for us,” says Mats Berg, Director of Business and municipal manager.
But the tone has not always been so cheerful. The year before he took office, 2014, Boden had its worst ranking ever, 274th place. A strategic effort to reverse the negative trend also started there.
The strategic plan, which is the guiding document for all municipal work, describes the work of the business community. The growth programme is highlighted there. What the priority growth areas are, how many more businesses will be established and start up in the area each year, and a clear target to move up at least 25 places in the business climate ranking each year.
– Basically, business sector work is not very difficult. You need to have competent staff, good leadership that creates courageous employees and a responsive attitude. These are the parts we have focused on developing within the municipal organisation,” he says and continues:
– In practical terms, this could mean having finished detailed development plans, fast processing times for building permits, not having a fear of contact in the supervisory part and a service-and solution-oriented approach to the exercise of authority in what we do.
Another part has been to strengthen businesses in the municipality. This has been done in various ways through strategic efforts by business developers at Boden Business Park, targeting new and young entrepreneurs and larger established companies. But also through a cooperation agreement with the organisation Företagarna Boden, whereby Boden municipality co-finances a business developer, who in turn acts as a bridge between the municipality and businesses.
– As a result, we now have a business network where senior officials and administrators meet with representatives of our businesses. The purpose of the meetings is not to sit and point fingers at each other but to have a dialogue and make each other better by following up on different events and creating an understanding of each other’s situation. I am very happy that we have a committed business community that wants to be part of our development.
The country’s hottest development area
Municipality manager talks about the importance of having a responsive attitude in order to continue to develop in a positive direction. When something goes wrong, there should be a learning approach to avoid it happening again. He believes this will be particularly important now that society as a whole is changing.
– For us it is very important to have a good business climate, it is a prerequisite for developing our local business community and attracting new companies to come here. “We are now getting a gigantic establishment in H2 Green Steel, which creates fantastic opportunities, but it also poses challenges for our current organisation, which will have to deal with many major issues,” he says, adding:
– In this job, we don’t want to end up forgetting about our local businesses, instead we want them to benefit from the fact that Boden and the region is one of the country’s hottest development areas over the next seven to eight years. This is where our forms of cooperation become very important, and Boden Together is a good example of how we can achieve this.
Do it together
Boden Together is the result of several years of work that has been developed by the Boden Business Association, Boden Municipality, Boden Business Park, Boden Tourism, the local property owners’ network, the local trade network and parts of the rest of the business community in Boden.
The idea is that everyone should work together to create better conditions for trade, meeting places and events, and to promote attractive business premises, meeting places and living environments.
– I really feel that we in Boden are making this journey together and that makes it extra fun. I also feel that H2GS understands that their actions will have a major impact on our business climate and that makes me hopeful for the future.
Every year, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise measures more than 30,000 companies’ experiences of running companies in their municipalities. The answers from the survey provide a picture of how the business climate is perceived by companies. The results are then combined with five statistical factors to produce a ranking that makes it possible to compare Sweden’s 290 municipalities.