Greenland Business Association: The future of business in Greenland is now
BY NICOLAI LISBERG
Grønlands Erhverv (GE), or Greenland Business Association, is at the forefront of business in the country, taking care of corporate interests and developing the corporate climate. In May next year, they will host Greenland’s largest business conference in order to set the agenda for the future of the nation.
“If we arrive on time, we are five minutes late!” These words belong to Christian Keldsen, CEO of Greenland Business Association, and they have become the mantra of how the organisation is trying to shake things up in Greenland in order to develop and improve the corporate climate.
“The challenge in Greenland is that we are very good at doing what we’ve always done, but we are trying to challenge that agenda. We have to be more effective and bring in new technologies and new industries. We need to work more closely with research and science, and we need to make sure that our politicians have the best possible framework for helping our industries,” says Keldsen.
It is not enough to just be part of the development for Greenland Business Association. They want to set the actual agenda for what direction Greenland needs to move in, which is why, every other year, they host Greenland’s largest business conference. Future Greenland is the seventh of its kind, and it will take place next year on 17-18 May. The idea is to bring in inspiration from the outside world to Greenland to discuss Greenlandic challenges and options for the future.
One of the many things that will be discussed at the conference is how Greenland can get close to the objective of becoming an autonomous economy and less dependent on the money they receive from Denmark. “We are fighting for a strong private sector and creating the right conditions and an environment for our private sector to prosper. We have to be self-sufficient and self-suppliant, but also support our export industries. Currently, 93 per cent of our export is from the fishing industry, but we need to consider tourism as an export, and over time a functioning mineral industry as well. So we are working towards an understanding of what we can do in order for Greenland to be more self-reliant,” explains Keldsen.
Living the potential
It is well known that Greenland has among the best access to raw materials in the world, and all minerals can be found there. Greenland Business Association is not trying to sell Greenland as the next Klondike, but there is a strong belief that history is being written at this very moment.
“We talked about potential for 50 years here in Greenland, but we are now living the potential, and we are definitely open for business. There are so many options and so many things happening right now with the mineral industry, and all these kinds of things need to be emphasised and discussed at the conference. How are we making ourself more attractive? It’s not enough to just realise the potential, but we have to create potential on top of it and create opportunities for existing and future business in Greenland,” says Keldsen.
A ripple effect
Greenland Business Association represents about 330 companies and 7,000 employees and has over 55 years’ experience of taking care of corporate interests. A membership of Greenland Business Association is a key to direct influence on business development and a strong network, but it also comes with responsibility – because with opportunities come challenges, and one of the main ones for Greenland is the educational system.
“If someone is considering Greenland as a location for business, you need to know that you’ll have to take responsibility for the development of our educational system. We will always need an expat workforce, but there is a large number of our own workforce that can’t take on highly skilled jobs because of a lack of education. We need to minimise that gap by educating more young people and provide a better system,” says Keldsen, elaborating on how a better educational system will cause a ripple effect. “A better internal workforce is motivating for new companies that seek opportunities in Greenland, and if we are able to attract new industries and business to the country, we’ll provide our young people with more motivation to take an education. It’s kind of circular. We need to utilise the potential that we have and make sure that our young people are capable of taking on senior roles, if we are to reach our goals.”
Facts about Greenland Business Association: • Greenland Business Association was founded in 1966. • Next year, they are hosting the conference Future Greenland, which will take place on 17-18 May 2022. • The association is split into four main areas: the employers’ organisation, the service organisation, the interest group and the development group. • The Future Greenland conferences attract a broad range of social stakeholders, businesses, politicians from the government and the municipalities, civil servants, students, and others. Participants from Canada, the US, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scandinavia, and other places will also attend. • They represent over 330 companies and approximately 7,000 employees. The four Greenland Business Association (GE) focus areas: Interest organisation As an interest organisation, GE functions by influencing the political system to create the best environment for business life. GE is, for example, currently represented on approximately 20 committees and boards under the government of Greenland. Service organisation As a service organisation, GE provides legal and financial advice to its member companies, and compiles sector orientated statistical information and guidance materials for relevant legislation, as required. Employers’ organisation GE works to secure orderly relationships on the labour market. This is done via a collective agreement and four subsidiary agreements with the trade union SIK. These agreements cover construction craftsmen, the commercial and office sector, the manufacturing sector, and the transport and service industries. Active business development in new industrial areas GE has a duty to play an active role in relation to business development within both existing and new industries, including the mining and oil/gas industry and the production of Greenlandic foodstuffs. GE therefore works to collect and consolidate knowledge, and to establish networks and international contacts with experienced professionals and businesses. Web: ge.ga.gl and www.futuregreenland.gl LinkedIn: Grønlands Erhverv Greenland Business Association Facebook: Sulisitsisut
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