The Danish Ambassador visits the Humber

By Marketing Humber Bondholders | Posted: 22 Jun 2018

On Monday 18 June Marketing Humber welcomed the Ambassador of Denmark in the UK, His Excellency Mr Lars Thuesen to a breakfast reception at Spencer Group offices, Humber Quays.

The Ambassador met with Marketing Humber Bondholder members and key partners such as Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber LEP, and Pauline Wade of the Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce, to discuss ways to strengthen the region’s links with Danish companies and sector markets.

Marketing Humber Chair, Andy Parkinson provided the Ambassador with an overview of the Humber growth sectors and relevant country synergies, and said; “Both the Humber and Denmark have increasingly strong economies and the opportunities for further growth are evident. 

The Humber has had a longstanding link with Denmark since the 1980s and there are many strategic investment alliances to build upon.”

The Danish Ambassador is an experienced diplomat with a strong background in the area of trade and investment.  He presented on the embassy’s role, consular services, trade and investment promotion and key sectors.   Specific focus was given to five significant projects; the ‘Danish energy model – district heating’ and ‘Brexit, e-commerce and innovation’. 

The Danish Ambassador, Lars Thuesen said; “This is the right time to be in the Humber, the UK is our fourth largest trading partner and our economy has grown by more than 70% since the 1980’s.

As a country we are highly competitive, with very favourable productivity levels, an adaptable and skilled workforce and there is a genuine ease about doing business in Denmark.  We are rated by the World Bank as the best in Europe and no.3 in the world for ease of doing business.”

Three Humber sector case study presentations were delivered by; Ben George (Director, Aura), John Connolly (Managing Director, C4DI) and Rob Marshall (Director of Spencer Group). 

Ben George, Director of Aura, presented on the Energy & Utility Skills Study, a qualitative review of the workforce requirements of the UK wind industry to 2031 and provided a project update on the Aura Innovation Centre, due to open Autumn 2019.  Mr George said; “The Aura Innovation Centre (AIC) will help SMEs looking to enter low carbon industries by providing the facility, personnel and resources to realise their innovative potential.  Support will consist of access to research personnel, development and light production equipment for prototyping as well as visualisation and business model refinement tools. Beyond the AIC, Aura also aims to prove the business case for the low carbon economy. As such, the opportunity to learn from Denmark’s ‘energy model’ and work with them in the future will be of great benefit.”    

Rob Marshall, Director of Spencer Group, discussed the many world and UK ‘firsts’ delivered by Spencer Group, including the £200m ‘Energy Works’, the largest privately funded Energy from Waste Facility of its kind under construction in the UK, and waste to energy opportunities of the future.     

The Danish Ambassador, Lars Thuesen added; “By 2050 Denmark will be 100% independent of fossil fuels and whilst Denmark’s economy has grown our energy consumption levels have remained the same.  70% of Denmark’s electricity generation is expected to come from various renewable sources by 2022.  Since 2000, exports of ‘Green Energy Technology’ have increased by more than 300%.  Green business is good business.”

John Connolly, Managing Director, C4DI presented on the Humber’s digital and technology sector using C4DI as a case study example of how they incubate and grow digital and technology companies by helping traditional businesses innovate.  Mr Connolly referred to the TechNation 2017 Report and said; “In 2017 jobs in digital technology in Hull were up by 15% and £133k is the average digital turnover by employee for Hull companies. That figure is the highest level north of London, and the reason for the report highlighting Hull as the most cost effective place in the UK to run a tech company.”

Synergies between Denmark and the Humber in digital technology were explored. Denmark was voted no.1 for digital services by the EU and OECD, is home to Apple’s largest datacentre outside of the USA and has received investment from Google and Facebook, as well as establishing software development centres for globally digital names such as; Microsoft, IBM and Uber. 

Ahead of the appointment as UK Ambassador, Mr Thuesen was Managing Director of The Trade Council, the governmental export and investment organisation under The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was in charge of 75 employees in Denmark and 230 employees abroad (located at more than 100 embassies, general consulates and trade commissions).  At the same time, Mr Thuesen was a member of the senior management of The Ministry. 

In The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen, Mr Thuesen has held managerial positions in the departments of Communication, Press and Culture as well as Consular services.  In his career, he has on multiple occasions worked with EU affairs, such as treaty changes, EU enlargements, presidencies, trade policy and coordination of the Danish EU policy.

His Excellency, Lars Thuesen said; “Maintaining the strongest possible relationship between the Humber and Denmark is important for everyone.  We are looking forward to having the Humber as a fervent and reliable trade and investment partner. 

The Humber and Denmark have many growing business sectors in common, particularly clean-tech and renewables, digital and technology, and pharmaceuticals.  We have a great opportunity to learn from each other’s economic reforms, environmental sustainability practices and cutting-edge technology”.

The Danish Ambassador and delegates of the event pledged to maintain and strengthen the relationships of both business and trade between the Humber and Denmark.

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