Niklas Zennström
- a change of mindset is needed for collaboration

Niklas Zennström is CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico. He is an experienced entrepreneur, having previously co-founded and managed globally successful technology companies including Skype, Kazaa, Joost and Joltid. We asked him about his commitment to the Baltic sea region and his expectations of the Strategy Forum.

How would you describe your interest and commitment to the Baltic Sea and the region?
For me, it is about ensuring sustainable growth throughout the region. Today, we have tremendous opportunities to use technology to solve many of the problems that we have long known. This region has the capacity to be seen as a world leader in responsible, innovative solutions to challenges in water quality. It will ensure the long-term prosperity and competitiveness and result in new blue economies and new value creation. For me, it’s about accelerating this win-win situation for the Baltic Sea Region.

With your initiative, Race For The Baltic, what do you aim to achieve?
In 2013 Race For The Baltic was launched – an initiative to connect business, science, government and civil society in joint action for a clean Baltic Sea – across all countries.

Race For The Baltic is working to develop a common understanding and plan for action and to identify, share and scale up new solutions and technologies. Through our main programme, the Baltic Sea City Accelerator, we are exploring new opportunities and solutions for financing, and developing, best practices that can be scaled to solve the problems. Our goal is to make the Baltic Sea an attractive investment – not only for politicians and local governments, but also for investors and citizens.

In the Baltic Sea City Accelerator we are currently working with 13 municipalities to accelerate local impact – changing this environmental disaster into an opportunity for local economic development. Municipalities see that the investment brings opportunities.

Our goal is to scale up to work with 100 cities by 2020. By working together and sharing best practices between cities and countries, we can find many good investments that are also good for the environment.

What are your expectations of the Strategy Forum 2016?
·We need a change in mindset with regard to the Baltic Sea conversation – it is not just an environmental issue but an opportunity for collaborative development and for us to take the position as global leaders in blue technologies and collaboration models.
·I’d like to see discussions promoting collaboration between governments and entrepreneurs/innovators – we need to improve and foster a supportive ecosystem that is conducive to real, sustainable, action.
·New technology and industry must be given the opportunity to be a driving force in the shift.

Niklas Zennström, CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico.
Niklas Zennström, CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico.

Niklas Zennström participates in:
Inspiration session 1