Sylvie Chetty walking at Vasagatan
Sylvie Chetty is one of the professors within the Elof Hansson Visiting Professor Programme in International Business and Trade.
Photo: Carina Gran

Focus on entrepreneurs keen to get out into the world


It is easy to become stuck in the rut of everyday life. But don’t forget to stay open to new opportunities and to network, even with competitors. This is visiting professor Sylvie Chetty’s advice to Swedish entrepreneurs who want to get out into the world.

The School of Business, Economics and Law’s new visiting professor Sylvie Chetty researches international trade with a focus on networks and the internationalisation of entrepreneurial businesses. She sees similarities and differences between Sweden and her homeland of New Zealand.

“Both countries are small, open economies that have to be able to compete internationally. Collaboration is a factor for success, but New Zealand doesn’t really have the strong culture of cooperation that Sweden has. In one project, I studied the many boatbuilders that are clustered in Auckland. Initially, they saw each other as competitors, but the New Zealand Export Council got them to work together to strengthen their international competitiveness. As they gradually chose to specialise in different areas, such as sails, hulls and winches, they developed their products and achieved success in the global market,” says Sylvie Chetty.

Make the most of the resources you have and dare to improvise

Business students are often told how important it is to set goals and make plans when starting up a company. But there are alternative decision-making models, one of which is effectuation.

“Entrepreneurs can’t always begin by setting goals. If you only have a hundred dollars, you have to get out and meet people, see who is interested in your business concept, maybe try crowdfunding. It’s about improvisation, creativity and making the most of the resources you have,” explains Sylvie Chetty.

In a new research project at the School, Sylvie Chetty is looking at the role that the pace of innovation may play. There are early indications that companies with a rapid pace of innovation also have faster internationalisation processes.

“Innovative start-ups sometimes have to get their new product out quickly in order not to lose ground. If you’re too slow, the world will move on without you. Our results so far show that companies with the capacity to maintain a high pace of innovation and also the courage to take risks and be proactive can achieve commercial advantages,” says Sylvie Chetty.

Gothenburg – an elegant and warm city

As a new visiting professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law, Sylvie Chetty will spend the next three years working with the Centre for International Business Studies, part of the Department of Business Administration, on projects such as the internationalisation of Nordic companies in the field of digital health. Sylvie Chetty also teaches on the Master’s programme International Business and Trade.

She has been pleasantly surprised by her new surroundings.

“Gothenburg is a lovely, elegant city and the archipelago has a movie-like beauty,” says Sylvie Chetty. She would very much like to create long-term research collaborations and deepen her understanding of Swedish businesses, particularly with regard to our entrepreneurs.

“There are many large, multinational companies in Sweden, something that we don’t have in New Zealand, but I’m more interested in the smaller companies, the ones that could potentially grow to become the next IKEA,” concludes Sylvie Chetty.


This is an article from the School's Magazine 2019.

About the Visiting Professor Programme

Through their experience and perspectives, visiting professors vitalise and contribute to the development of the research environments at the School of Economics, Business and Law. The programme has been able to run thanks to generous support from the business world since its inception in 2009, and the current programme – the Elof Hansson Visiting Professor Programme in International Business and Trade – is funded by the Elof Hansson Foundation.