The County of Skaraborg, Sweden, has approved continued funding for an additional three-year period, beginning in 2017, for the International Business Developer position serving as a liaison between the Rockford Region, Madison, WI and Lidköping and the County of Skaraborg, Sweden.
Linnea Bengtsson was the first International Business Development Trainee at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council for eight months in 2008. In 2011, the City of Lidköping´s Mayor Kjell Hedvall, appointed Bengtsson to the worldly unique position of International Business Developer. Bengtsson is alternating her time between her offices at Lidköping City Hall and Rockford City Hall and Sustain Dane in Madison. In 2014, the County of Skaraborg began funding half of Bengtsson´s position. The other half is paid by the City of Lidköping. The U.S. partners provide office space, supplies, and access to local network and resources.
The County of Skaraborg is located between Sweden´s two largest cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg and is beautifully set between Sweden´s two largest lakes, Vänern and Vättern.
The County of Skaraborg consists of 15 municipalities and has approximately 260,000 inhabitants. The main business clusters are found in automotive, woodworking, food processing and computer gaming development.
The Industrial Partnership Agreement between the City of Lidköping and the City of Rockford was signed in 2006, renewed in 2011 and expanded in 2014 to include SwedishAmerican Health System, Winnebago County, Sustain Dane in Madison, Wisconsin, and the County of Skaraborg, Sweden. The main objective of the agreement is to serve as gateways to respective regions and markets for local companies and organizations connecting globally. Though many cities have sister-city relationships, the Industrial Partnership Agreement is worldly unique as it serves more as an economic development and navigation tool.
Bengtsson, adopted from India at six months old, grew up on a farm outside Lidköping. She started working on the farm at an early age and became very skilled at driving a tractor, primarily because she was too weak to bail the hay and too tired to get up in the morning to milk the cows. Bengtsson always saw her self in management, wearing nice clothes and carrying a brief case. She has always had an interest in the United States.
Bengtsson holds a Master´s Degree in Human Resources from Karlstad University, Sweden, and in 2005 she studied at Santa Monica College in California. Bengtsson currently serves on the boards of the SwedishAmerican Chamber of Commerce-Chicago, Swedish Historical Society of Rockford and the Stateline World Trade Association. In her spare time, Bengtsson enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys running 5K, playing tennis, piano and the enjoyment of good food and wine.
Bengtsson´s extended contract further strengthens Rockford´s ambition to grow world-class international relationships. Bengtsson considers this her dream job. She feels honored to continue to serve Skaraborg County, Sweden as well as the Rockford area and beyond.