There are those places which beams of self-confidence, Åre seems to be such a place. A great self-confidence, in turn, is based on good self-esteem, which rests on good self-insight. Without it, there is nothing. Only empty words and empty actions. It comes down to knowing what you are and what you are not. That's when it becomes credible and trustworthy over time. That's when we might dare to take the leap and put our lives in the hands of the place.
An event as the World Championships in Åre is full of opportunities. Unique ones. Not the least, opportunities for a place as Åre to put on their best show. To attract future visitors, future residents, for business relocating. It's an open net. We who are here in Åre want to be here. It’s the result of a conscious act. It’s something we share, those living here permanently and us being here temporarily. It is the result of a conscious act, an active choice. But we do need some help. We need help to be able to take the leap. It can feel like a huge step, a bit scary and almost impassable. Thats what it feels like when complete lives are to be changed, when minds and bodies are to be moved. We need some help. With all practicalities, with the administrative stuff. Sure we do. But above all, we need to feel welcomed. Get reassured that we are making the right choice. Get to feel that we are welcome. That you want us here. That we do not disturb. This can never be achieved through printed materials, websites and apps. Regardless of how brilliant they are. It must be experienced. In first person.
Åre has much of what many other places have less of. There’s room for both body and soul. Space enough to stretch and grow. To develop. Much of what Åre has been blessed with is also increasingly in demand by more and more people, more and more frequently. All in all, this provides an enviable platform for growth for any brand. And very much so for a municipality. Not least if the municipality in question happens to be located in what’s sometimes referred to as a sparsely populated rural area. In the innermost inland of Norrland, by the mountains, far from most.
The real challenge is to be able to grow without destroying what is the foundation of growth. To dare to focus on conscious and sustainable growth. Strategically sustainable, economically sustainable, structurally sustainable, socially sustainable, culturally sustainable, emotionally sustainable. To be able to identify the soil of growth itself, to understand the basis of the attraction. The most valuable asset one can posses. Then you invest, invest to expand. Then you can grow in a conscious way. Not at any cost. Attend to and develop at the same time, not either or but both. This is a duality which can be applied to everything in our contemporary society. We live our lives on-line, but we long for the analogue, hands-on experiences. We live globalized lives, but we long for the local. We consume mass produced products, but are increasingly seeking the unique. Not either or but both.
Based on its population, Åre municipality leads the corporate league in Sweden with approximately 1,200 companies on 11,500 residents. Of course, there are also larger companies, larger employers, but many now associate Åre with entrepreneurship. Often in the smaller formats. It might be easy to believe that Åre municipality is a place only for the self-employed and entrepreneurial. But all places with ambitions to grow and develop need a well-functioning public sector, which is populated by highly competent people within schools, healthcare and other municipal and regional services. These fundamental pieces must be in place without exceptions. Growth is demanding. It requires for schools and childcare care to be world-class. For communications, short and long-haul, to be top notch. Nothing less. People must be able to transport themselves with ease. Thats just how it is. Everything must be in place for a fully functional everyday life. In small and in large.
“In Åre municipality there’s a great need for people in a number of different sectors“, says Martin Söderström, Growth manager Åre municipality. Right now we need people in the school system, care and healthcare, but also in industrial production, project management, restaurants, finance and IT.
But as in all expansion phases, tight sectors emerge. It's late. So even when the dream of more life is to be realized. When several seek the same. At the same time. One such is the housing situation in Åre. To meet the growing need for housing, and to fulfill the desire for a life more in the country, the municipality has bought land where it is now planned for construction.
“Finding the place to live can be a challenge. For those who want to change city life for fresh mountain air and snowy winters, it’s needed to find somewhere to live. Many people are eager to move to Åre, but we do not always succeed in presenting the accommodation that is in demand, ”says Nina Troberg at the Åre municipality.
During the Alpine World Championships in Åre you have been able to find Åre municipality in the Sponsors Village where Nina together with her colleagues show-case examples of companies based in Åre and which in some cases have openings. During the Alpine World Championships in Åre back in 2007, Åre municipality received some criticism for not including themselves enough in the event, so this year they have created the platform found in the Sponsors village. To meet in person is important. That's when things happen. When the anonymity is broken, when we meet beyond title and function. That's when things happen.
That's when we feel welcome. That we make the right choice. Feel like we are welcome. That you want us here. That we do not disturb. That we can contribute. That's when we all can grow, we as humans and Åre as a place. The place where life is to be lived.