‘We looked at what would be best for the kids’
When TCP Solutions wanted boots on the ground in Scandinavia, Dutch managing director Rick Schevers chose to set up the business – and his family – in the Gothenburg region. After six weeks in Sweden, Rick tells us more about his motivations for Gothenburg and how it has been so far, from both a business and private perspective.
Tell me about TCP Solutions?
“We are a so-called employer of record, EOR, basically the product we sell is a service. We enable companies without any registration to get their people to Sweden and we take care of all the things a normal employer would do in Sweden. This means they have the benefit of not having to open an office and we take care of all the legalities,” says Rick.
Why did TCP choose Gothenburg?
“I did an analysis for where the next growth market would be in Europe. The Netherlands and Germany, were the biggest markets, and the market after that was Scandinavia, more specifically Sweden and Denmark.”
“It’s a numbers game when building your business case to go to a certain country. Gothenburg is the second largest city, in terms of the population that works. I always thought that Stockholm would be way bigger than Gothenburg, but actually there isn’t much of a difference in terms of employment. Gothenburg is also less expensive than Stockholm, whilst being in a better position from a connection point of view to the other cities in Scandinavia, plus good upcoming connections to the rest of Europe - providing corona doesn’t mess that up. A lot of the infrastructure is planned to be updated and the region has a long-term agenda to make it happen.”
“What we have also seen over the last year and a half is that the business region is developing as well. We see a lot of high-tech investments taking place throughout Sweden, but especially in Gothenburg. For example, there is a lot happening at Lindholmen at the science park. We see a lot of companies moving here with a small hub and some are even moving their whole research department here.”
“All in all, from a business perspective, I would say Gothenburg sounds very good.”
Do you hope to expand in Scandinavia?
“Yes, we were already growing in all of the four countries. We always say as soon as we are big enough from a business case perspective, we need to have some boots on the ground. We feel that it is needed in order to give the best service to the clients, that you should be there locally and know the local language and habits.”
“We also want to explore the local market to get Swedes to the US or to wherever in Europe, and that’s already happening now. We have some companies here locally, who wanted to have sales staff in other countries without the need to open an office.”
“The whole of TCP is automated, so we can scale up very quickly. At the moment, we have two dedicated people working for Sweden – from the London office, and soon from the Gothenburg office. We are hoping to hire soon.”
What attracted you and your family to the region?
“Before I even started at TCP, we talked about, from an experience point view, wanting to live in another country for a couple of years. You get a different perspective on life and on how you look at things in your own country. We looked at what would be best for the kids. In my mind that’s the thing you should think of first. We saw that the school system here was totally different. Here it feels like the mindset is that kids should be kids - and play a lot and be outside a lot no matter the weather. It rains a lot in the Netherlands, but we don’t adapt. But here kids go out no matter the weather.”
“The Swedish system is more focussed on developing the talents of a kid instead of trying to fit them into a system, and that’s good. They can explore themselves before a system demands they do a certain thing.”
How has your family settled in so far?
“Very good so far. What we read about Swedes is that at first they keep to themselves and are a bit reserved and shy. I have to admit, I haven’t met those Swedes yet. I mean, the neighbours came up with a bottle of wine the second day we were here, just to welcome us. We live in the countryside and we have met everyone who lives around the field. After six weeks we now know them all. They are all very helpful, one more talkative then the other. They try to help out as much as they can.”
“Through the school we have also met a lot of people. We also joined the mountain bike club. So, we go there every Saturday morning and the kids love it. Then you meet more people, and start making friends, especially the kids. They are 5 and 8 years old and it just goes so quickly - adapting to a new language and adapting to new customs. So far it’s picture perfect.”
What advice would you give other international companies and individuals who are looking to set up in the Gothenburg region?
“Dive into Google and read all about Sweden and see what fits you best. There are so many regions you can choose from. We love the sea, so we wanted to live close to the coast. Now we have a 5-minute bike ride, which is perfect. And we still live close to the city. You can also choose to live in the middle of a forest or by a lake and still be close to the city. So, you can find what fits you best.”
“Other advice would be, get a good moving company. When you come here it really is hard to screw it up. Basically, everyone you ask is willing to help. Official go-to points, like Move to Gothenburg and Business Region Göteborg, they help you out if you have any questions. Also the kommun – the municipality – they will help you out. The tax authorities, they’ll help you out.”
“I don’t want to say it’s super easy to move your whole family to another country, but if you start on time, packing your things and getting your steps in the right order, it’s not too hard. Basically, all the information is available in English and what isn’t available in English directly – you can use for example Google translate and instantly translate.”
“If you have a place you would like to go, then call the municipality and see how it is with schools. In our case we could choose from two schools. And the kids were able register without even having a personal number.”
“Tap into the network you have and reach out to people on LinkedIn who live here. The more people you know, the easier it gets. I only knew Helen [Bairu] from Business Region Göteborg and Move to Gothenburg when I arrived. Now I know maybe 40 people or so, within about six weeks.”
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