Business Iceland's annual meeting took place in Gróska on Friday 1 April, in front of an audience of 100 guests, and more following the live stream.
Speakers at the meeting included the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Chairman of the Board of Business Iceland, Hildur Árnadóttir, Managing Director of Business Iceland, Pétur Þ. Óskarsson, and guest speaker Lenny Stern from the advertising agency M&C Saatchi.
Minister Gylfadóttir's speech emphasized Business Iceland's crucial role in supporting the creativity of Iceland's businesses and culture. In particular, how arts and creative industries play a significant role in Iceland's image abroad and attitude towards the country. She says, "A new agreement between the government and Business Iceland on the marketing project Creative Iceland (Skapandi Ísland) marks a turning point in promoting Icelandic culture abroad. The project will contribute ISK 90 million (EUR 638,000/USD 697,000) annually until 2025, so it is possible to launch more extensive projects and make long-term plans." Minister Gylfadóttir said that the development and shaping of the Icelandic economy of the future would be innovation, and Business Iceland will play a critical role in helping companies flourish here and abroad.
Business Iceland's Chairman of the Board, Hildur Árnadóttir's opening speech highlighted Iceland's export earnings of just over ISK 1,230 billion (EUR 8.7 m/USD 9.5 m). Árnadóttir shared that export earnings from the intellectual property will continue to grow in the next decade and approach ISK 200 billion (EUR 1.4 billion/USD 1.5 billion).
Business Iceland's Managing Director Pétur Þ. Óskarsson reviewed the highlights of 2021, including the launch of Reykjavík Science City, Creative Iceland, Eiderdown of Iceland, and The Future of Food. Mr. Óskarsson also spotlighted Business Iceland's collaboration with Business Sweden, which Icelandic companies can take advantage of to expand into foreign markets. Mr. Óskarsson informed the audience that an agreement was reached and funding secured to continue Saman í Sókn (Together in Progress), the marketing campaign for Icelandic tourism. Additionally, the Horses of Iceland campaign was renewed for three years.
The meeting's guest speaker was Lenny Stern from the advertising agency M&C Saatchi, responsible for the Saman í Sókn marketing campaigns. Lenny's entertaining talk entitled, "What the F — k just happened and what does that mean for how we do what we do?" discussed the impact of the pandemic on people's attitudes and perspectives on travel. People, companies, and organizations have needed to react, re-evaluate, and rethink all their values and activities, permanently affecting people's travel behavior. People are transforming how they travel and seek destinations with experiences where they can refresh mentally and physically. Places just like Iceland! "It's bucket list travel - not just once, but always," says Lenny.