A meeting with leading representatives of the Swedish innovation ecosystem, the world's top incubator, universities, active startup investors, a science park, and Czech scientists successfully working in Sweden— this was the program of the mission involving representatives from Czech innovation and transfer centers, along with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jiří Kozák, to Sweden. The trip was carried out as part of the project of economic and scientific diplomacy. Representing IOCB Tech was our colleague Barbara Eignerová.

"The Swedish innovation ecosystem is unique in its ability to efficiently support innovative ideas. No idea is rejected right from the start; each one is given a chance to demonstrate its potential. I believe that, in this regard, we can draw a lot of inspiration here," explained Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jiří Kozák.

The trip was organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Stockholm in cooperation with 13 representatives from Czech innovation and transfer centers, with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. Czech participants had the opportunity to share Swedish know-how in the areas of commercializing science and research, knowledge and technology transfer into practice, and effective support for science, research, and innovation in Stockholm and Lund. At the same time, they established direct contacts with Swedish partners that they intend to further develop.

Deputy Minister Kozák added that Sweden is currently the main European center for innovation. The country currently ranks first in innovation according to the comparative evaluation of EU countries and third in the world according to the Global Innovation Index. Sweden also has a robust and one of the fastest-growing technological startup scenes in the world, valued at 240 billion euros. Sweden's research and development expenditures as a percentage of GDP reach 3.4%. According to Kozák, the efficiency of these expenditures is multiplied by the system of innovation and technology transfer support.

"During the perfectly prepared program, we had the opportunity to learn about the mechanisms that Sweden has set up to make the path of a scientific idea to a wide range of users as direct as possible," explained Eignerová.

During the inspiring mission, Czech representatives from innovation and transfer centers learned about the main pillars of the Swedish innovation ecosystem: from the initial idea through the creation of spin-off companies and startups, financial support options, to growing into a mature company. "Swedish support for knowledge transfer into practice is undoubtedly an inspiration for the Czech Republic. Maximum receptiveness to startups, the simplest possible processes, and the trust of the state in all actors are the driving force behind many projects," said Eva Janouškovcová, Chairwoman of the Transfera association, which brings together transfer offices in the Czech Republic.