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get Insights from our first webinar 2021 - ‘Onwards & Forwards’

25 February 2021

On February 23, CLS held the webinar Onwards & Forwards in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Lisbon, Business Sweden Iberia, and NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA). The webinar aimed to highlight the challenges that the ongoing pandemic has imposed at multiple levels, and each speaker provided interesting insight on how their work is affected.

Throughout the session, we discussed contemporary challenges that the pandemic has shed light on, as well as the opportunities that have emerged from the lessons learned over the past year. Although the webinar faced some technical challenges, we are happy for the insights provided and for the fruitful discussion that was held between the speakers and the participants.


The Embassy of Sweden in Lisbon

During the webinar, Helena Pilsas, Ambassador of Sweden to Portugal, shared how the Embassy has adapted to the situation and the impact that it has on the future of their work. Ambassador Pilsas notes the importance of adaptability and that it is key to continuously adjust and re-adjust, and what you say in Swedish: Ställ om!

There has been a digital leap all over society and business, as well as in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador believes these changes are here to stay - though, there is a relevance of physical meetings and to get to know people in real life - especially when working with international relations. For this reason, as a Swedish old saying: Don´t throw the baby out with the bath water (Kasta inte ut barnet med badvattnet), meaning that you shouldn´t get rid of certain things just because related issues are bad.

A digital-human hybrid future is to expect and focus on urban planning ang mobile transport is needed!

Business Sweden Iberia 

Samira Grylin-Allalou, Country Manager Portugal and Spain at Business Sweden, provided an insightful discussion on how the EU will support the recovery of Portugal in light of the negative effect that the pandemic has had on the Portuguese economy. Samira gave insights on the EU Recovery Plan and the business opportunities that will emerge for Swedish companies. These four prominent sectors identified as emerging opportunities are: Health Care & Life Science, ICT & Digitalization, Decarbonization & Renewable Energy, and Infrastructure.

In the webinar, Samira also provided information on the variety of services that Business Sweden has to help support Swedish companies interested in expanding to Portugal, and for international companies interested in growing in Sweden. For more information on the services that you and your company are interested in, please contact Business Sweden.

NOVA School of Science & Technolgy (FCT NOVA)

José Barata, Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology (FCT) at NOVA University, discussed how they adapted to the ‘new normal’ and the technical solutions implemented continue their operations in face of the pandemic.

Professor Barata discussed the lessons learnt from the past year and notes that although the world rather smoothly adapted to working digitally from home in a productive manner, technology and innovative solutions cannot fully replace humans; we need physical connections too.

There is also a need to be autonomous, be critical thinkers and we all need to pay attendtion to the soft skills as diversity, equality and gender equality are key moving forward in our society.

The four pillars are: tech, human touch, autonomy and people. Digital solutions are great tools - but humans are the future! 

The webinar ended on a positive note as all of the speakers shared the concluding to maintain an optimistic outlook on the future. As Chairwoman of CLS Board of Directors, Jennifer Ekstrom emphasised, we need to collaborate, be inclusive, diverse, embrace technology but care for each other. Let us all aim to move onwards and forwards – the future will be bright!

As noted during the webinar, the EU Recovery Plan is not yet finalized, and the numbers presented are preliminary. The ambition is to arrange a follow-up webinar when the Recovery Plan has been finalized at an EU level and has been implemented at a national level in Portugal. CLS will keep you updated on this topic – stay tuned and more information will come in the future.

CLS is always happy to engage with its members and we are happy that the webinar had so many participants, and that the attendees were interactive in the Q&A session held in the last part of the webinar.


 For any additional questions to our speakers – feel free to get in touch with them:

  • Embassy of Sweden in Lisbon
    • Helena Pilsas, Ambassador of Sweden to Portugal, 
  • Business Sweden Iberia
    • Samira Grylin-Allalou, Country Manager of Portugal and Spain 
  • NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA)
    • José Barata, Professor 
  • CLS - the Swedish-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce
    • Jennifer Ekström, Chairwomen of the Board of Directors, 
    • Roya Moghaddas, Secretary-General:
    • Sofie Jacobsson, Trainee:
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