The newest addition to Sting Bioeconomy’s team is Simon Sendowski! When Simon takes on the role of finance manager at Sting Bioeconomy, it is with valuable experience in both business and organization. He has a background in finance, marketing, organization and social psychology from Gothenburg, USA and London, and roots in Arvika. Stepping into the new role comes as a natural step in a phase of life that, for Simon, is characterized by family and community.
A 4-year scholarship
Although Simon himself was born and raised in Gothenburg, Värmland has been in his life since childhood. With his grandmother and grandfather being from Årjäng and his mother born in Arvika, he remembers vividly the summers spent with his grandparents in Edane. When not in Värmland, Simon spent his time in Gothenburg, where he studied Finance in high school and spent most of his time on the football field. “I played in ÖIS, whose A-team at the time was in Allsvenskan (the Swedish premiere league). I myself played with both the boys’- and junior teams in Allsvenskan, as well as the ÖIS B-team and was training for a while with the A-team.” says Simon. His dedication and talent for football resulted in a 4-year scholarship to the United States, where he undertook a bachelor’s degree in Management Finance with an Economics minor. In parallel with his intense football schedule, he graduated from Plymouth State University with a Summa Laude (with highest honors), which paved way to a master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in London.
“My older sister studied at the Stockholm School of Economics,” says Simon. After this, she moved to London to work at Goldman Sachs, so moving to London also felt like a great step for Simon. You can tell that he is still happy that they were able to share that time together. In London, the “hard values” from the United States were supplemented with “softer values” – a master’s degree in Organization and Social Psychology.
Both of Simon’s parents are entrepreneurs. His mother started out as a teacher and later ran sock- and bag shops in Sweden and Denmark. Simon’s father was a purchasing director at Lindex and Gulins for many years, but eventually wanted to run his own company that produced clothes. “It was everything from Paramount Pictures to Disney, and Bally’s Golf collection,” Simon says. After graduating in London, Simon started working for the family business. What was supposed to be a summer job, ended up being a 10-year contract. “Those were very instructive years for me and brought experiences and knowledge that I wouldn’t have been able to gain so early in my career elsewhere” Simon explains.
After 10 years in the company, it was however time for new challenges. Simon continued his career at the Libro Group (later LFW – a part of Vätterleden Invest AB). The company specialized in the design, production and sale of consumer products. Sister companies included Salming, Epic Suitcases and Markslöjd. Pretty quickly, he became the Vice VD and was responsibile for all production, purchasing, and marketing. He also sat on the company’s board. It was a very tough decision to leave the job when, 8 years later, it was time for the next step.
Met in Gothenburg
Simon met his wife at a conference in Gothenburg. They clicked immediately, and every weekend he commuted to Karlstad, where she was permanently employed as a Senior Dentist in Orthodontics in Region Värmland. After a few years, they decided that it was time to move in together, and since Karlstad felt like a better and safer place to raise a family, they moved to Värmland. Simon says that even though it was hard to leave a job he enjoyed so much, he hasn’t regretted the decision for a second. He continues: “We were invited to a dinner by some acquaintances at Lövnäs, and I realized that this was exactly the kind of environment that I grew up when I was little. Our family eventually found a house on Lövnäs – a house that was exactly the kind of house we both wanted!” The fact that family is a priority is evident throughout my conversation with Simon, from the way he warmly talks about his sister in London and his parents in Kivik on Österlen and his family back home in Lövnäs, to how family business and collaboration has been a recurring theme in Simon’s career.
After moving to Värmland, Simon started working in Örebro for a previous client, NeH Svenska AB with clients such as SvFF, Tre Kronor, Svenska Spel, BAUHAUS, RF, ICA etc. After a long period of commuting, Dynasafe in Karlskoga managed to recruit Simon to the team. “They work in heavy industry in a segment that is growing and becoming increasingly important today,” Simon explains when he talks about what Dynasafe is doing. In 2021, Simon instead took on the role of finance manager at Karlstad Innovation Park, where he has remained ever since.
Värmland’s first private orthodontic clinic
In August 2019, a son was born, which marked a period of change within the family. After a parental leave and 20 years of experience in dentistry, Simon’s wife, who is a specialist in orthodontics, opened up Värmland’s first and so far only private orthodontic clinic. Simon of course supports with purchasing and finance, once again in the spirit of family business. The start-up phase has gone better than expected, and the clinic is growing at a pace the family feels comfortable with. “We have tried to make it as cozy and caring as possible. My wife is very caring and calm in herself, so it fits her very well,” Simon says warmly.
Sustainability is important
Sustainability is important to Simon, who has taken many steps in his private life towards a more circular lifestyle. He tells us; “I try to live as sustainably as possible, drive an electric car and have had solar panels on my roof for a few years now. We try to think second-hand where possible and attempt to make as small a footprint as possible.” Closeness to nature, and the freedom for children to be able to live their own lives quite freely was what attracted them most about life at Lövnäs, or “the utopia” as Simon calls it. Hammocks along the road, lovely swims in the summer and iceskating rinks on the football field in the winter. He explains; “I love being able to take walks in the woods, and love the scent from pine and spruce that you only come across when it’s really hot outside in the summer. It reminds me of Edane and grandma and grandpa. It makes you relax, you feel completely in your own little bubble.”
With nature around the corner and work closer and closer to family, Simon feels satisfied, despite the fact that he has left behind jobs and opportunities that he has enjoyed and that previously attracted him. “I don’t envy my friends who still live in London or Stockholm or Gothenburg now. The quality of life is incredible here,” he says confidently. Today, Simon’s son is four and a half years old, and when asked what Simon likes to do in his spare time, quality time with his family is at the top of the list. Simon happily says that “my son has started to have his own interests as well, which makes it possible to be involved in his life in a completely different way.” Football takes less space in everyday life now, Simon played a few years in ÖIS and GAIS “Oldboys” in Gothenburg and with his old friends from Näset, but now golf has taken on the role as Simon’s best trick to relax. He explains, “I love team sports and we have so much fun together, but now I’m terrified of tearing an Achilles tendon or cruciate ligament, so now there’s less of that.”
When the job at Sting Bioeconomy was available, Simon was immediately interested in taking over. It will be an incredible asset for us to have him on board! Over the years, he has built up a wide network of contacts, and in addition, he has extensive experience that makes it possible for him to relate to many of the entrepreneurs and companies Sting Bioeconomy works with. Simon explains; “I don’t think all economists have that, but it’s fun to be able to quickly familiarize myself with the business and understand the challenges and opportunities we have.” Simon concludes by reflecting on why this particular role feels so right. He says; “I love to challenge myself all the time. In nature, I like to “play it safe”, but at the same time I love to learn new things. I really think I’m going to do that here.” Although this may be a somewhat contradictory characteristic, it is one that goes well with the thinking that is often required in the context of sustainability. To be careful enough to protect what works well, but have the courage to try something new and keep innovation alive – finding new sustainable solutions.