Erik and Malin on the backstory of Facebook’s move to Northern Sweden

“The Internet giants were thrilled by the opportunity to establish in the Nordics” says Erik Svensson, CEO at Boden Business Park.

3 January 2018

It all started back in 2007 with an ambition to change from a reactive approach to proactively attracting new enterprises to the region. “In 2011, Facebook decided to make their first billion-dollar investment outside US in our region and for us, that was the proof of concept”, says Erik Svensson, the CEO of Boden Business Park.

Situated along the Lule river valley, and with around 28 000 inhabitants, Boden is not only the center of the subarctic training for the Swedish armed forces, nor "just" a place to experience outstanding nature activities such as salmon fishing, hiking, climbing, and skiing. 

– It is now also an open, dynamic, transformed community with a unique blend of local innovative entrepreneurship and cutting-edge research in the field of cleantech and sustainability, says Erik Svensson and adds: 

– We are dedicated to serve as the preferred natural colocation partner where global software companies choose to build their server- and computer halls.

Erik is the CEO of Boden Business Park, a business that’s enabling innovation collaborations through cross-sectoral networks, and attracting all sorts of businesses and industries to Boden.

Data center success

In 2009, once deciding to turn the region’s reactive way into a forward leaning attitude, Erik and his colleagues developed a value proposition for the data center industry that would soon hit the market with success. 

– With the renewable energy and the lowest prices in Europe, the internet giants were thrilled by the opportunity to establish in the Nordics, Erik explains.

From quiet to 500

Fast forward to 2018, there are an installed effect of more than 220 MW in several international data centers and there is more to come. 

Thousands of jobs have been created. Boden and the region is a top of mind choice for the industry. 

– And Boden Business Park is the meeting place in Boden Science City. The park contains an attractive working environment for entrepreneurs, and most importantly, facilitation of networks and business development based on good hostility, says Malin Winsa, Business Developer at Boden Business Park, and adds:

– And depending on when you visit us, you’ll meet the midnight sun or the arctic winter light, aurora borealis.

Since Facebooks launch, there is a vibrant ecosystem growing and a research environment in the European top level around data centers, Erik explains.

– Back then it was a pretty quiet environment. Today, more than 100 people go to their work daily in Boden Business Park. In five years, it will be more than 500. We have more than ten companies in Block Chains, Games and a Go Business Incubator with an incoming flow of more companies. We also have a newly started educational program for indie game developers, attracting students on a national level, which also indicates an exciting progress.

In addition, the EU's research and innovation program, Horizon 2020, has awarded northern Sweden a three-year innovation project with Boden as a base, Erik explains.

– The purpose is to build a prototype of the world's most energy- and cost-effective data center. Of that, we’re extra proud, he says.

“Sale to scale” 

From this, as well as last year’s discussions around incubators and sales in the media, what’s your take on “sale to scale”?

– Our main learning is without doubt to be prepared. In the global competition, it’s time to market that puts you on the short list. And it also increases your national attraction, says Malin Winsa.

– The market perspective is the most important contribution a support system can add to a new company. We are convinced that all business development will be conducted in dialogue with customers, says Erik.

Done is better than perfect

– In sectors with exponential growth, an innovation system also has to live and act as entrepreneurs. As a business park, our everyday lives are characterized by creating relationships and winning business and establishments. Do your market analysis and try to understand what kind of disruptive solutions your companies looking for. And make it happen! Done is better than perfect, Erik concludes.

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About Boden Business Park

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