From left: Jesper Hofstedt, Jimmie Berggren, Hicham Larhnimi, Kevin Dai
Hicham Larhnimi came to San Francisco six years ago on a tennis scholarship and combined this with marketing and communication studies. He later moved to Miami were he currently serve as the Vice President and General Manager of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce Fort Lauderdale & Palm Beach (SACC-SFL). However, after almost two years at the Chamber he is now resigning to focus on his own projects. Luckily we got a chance to meet him when he came to visit us at our office in San Diego. Together we had an interesting conversation about Florida, SACC-SFL, and his own future projects.
With a strong Swedish presence in the south Florida area, SACC Fort Lauderdale & Palm Beach serve as a center for the Swedish community with a total of 200 members. This makes them one of the biggest Swedish American Chambers of Commerce. Florida attracts many Swedish start-ups because of the great climate, low taxes and the growing start-up scene in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. All this makes the area a perfect spot for Swedish businesses. Other than start-ups SACC-SFL is focusing on the maritime industry, which has a strong foothold in Florida.
Because SACC-SFL is the youngest Swedish organization in the area, the strategy has been to collaborate with other Swedish organizations rather than compete with them for the attention of the community. SACC-SFL has been working hard to create an open community together with other Swedish organizations, which was their very first goal with the Chamber. For example they created a popular social event called Fireball (Brännboll) to bring all the Swedish organizations together. This paid off and now they have a very close collaboration with organizations like the Swedish church, SWEA, and many more. The philosophy has always been to give more than they take.
“You should never enter a conversation with a question about what they can do for you. It’s all about helping others and you will build stronger connections”. Hicham says.
SACC Fort Lauderdale & Palm Beach now focuses a lot on their social and business events, which has around 100 people at almost every event. They have at least two events every month like mixers or seminars with educational purposes. With these events they try to create a relaxed and fun vibe and avoids the button-up dress code and banquets. Hicham tells us that there is a new generation of start-up companies and entrepreneurs that enjoys a more relaxed environment to make business in. “They don’t like the suit and tie thing” he says. This concept really seams to work because the word about their events has spread all the way to the mayor of Fort Lauderdale.
Another focus right now for SACC-SFL is their trainee program. Just as SACC San Diego, they offer an opportunity for members to get a full time trainee from the best universities in Sweden. Hicham is personally very focused on working together with SACC USA to make a complete trainee program and to produce information material about this to make it more visible for companies and members.
After two years at SACC-SFL Hicham is going to resign as Vice President later this spring. However he will continue being involved in the Chamber. Asked why he resigning, he answers;
"I have managed to build this Chamber together with the board and the team, and now is the time to focus on my own things, and let someone else who can be 110% dedicated carry the torch.”
This will be his company, OnDecker in Miami. OnDecker is a media-tech company that aims to help subscribers to rethink the definition of success through raw and truthful content. The company wants to provide readers with honest content of successful people and help them understand that success is about making the most out of the tools that you are given in life. They want to reach out to young people that are coming into adulthood looking to their role models of success. OnDecker wants to focus on the celebrity’s hard work, charitable influence, and core values which most other media sources neglect. The app will launch next month and we are all very excited to learn more about it. If you want to get the latest updates about them please visit http://www.ondecker.com.
To sum up our meeting with Hicham Larhnimi, I asked him for his best tips for non-profit organizations like the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce. His answer was simply;
"Nike said it a long time ago – Just do it!”
The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in San Diego is a thriving network of companies and individuals interested in the commercial and social exchange between Sweden and the Southern California’s San Diego region.
SACC is partly funded with City of San Diego Funds.
Swedish American Chamber of Commerce - San Diego
4475 Mission Boulevard, Suite 211
San Diego CA, 92109
Phone: +1 (858) 276 1210