In 1993 Hasse Karlsson met with the Business Developer in City of Lidköping, Mr. Leif Ericsson. He told me he had a problem, young talents left Lidköping to study at Universities in Sweden and abroad and they never returned back. At the same time there was a need for young university graduates with good languages skills and experiences from abroad to make it possible for small and medium companies (SMEs) to grow internationally.

The challenge was; how do we attract young talents to return to Lidköping and work for small and medium-sized companies? When the  large companies trainee programs was  hard to beat.

The solution was to offer an export trainee program for SMEs. The person recruited to the program was offered an opportunity for an international career in a flat organization. To compensate for the bigger companies well known brand, we helped the SMEs with the recruitment, using the brand of Swedish Trade Council.
The first trainee program started in Lidköping January 1994 and the rest is history. Since then we have trained more than 1.400 trainees in 24 countries in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Next stop is China.

Milestones of the developing of the ITM concept

  • January 1994 the first Export Trainee program was launched in the City of Lidköping together with the Swedish Trade Council
  • Between 1999-2007 the concept was further developed together with trade- and SME organizations in Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania, Norway and Iceland sponsored by European Commission.
  • October 1995 chosen ”Best Cases” by European Commission.
  • October 2007 the ITM Worldwide Concept was launched at INSEAD in France
  • April 2008 the ITM Worldwide Foundation was founded in Lidköping
  • May 2008 Accredited by IATTO (The International Association of Trade Training Organizations.
  • August 2008 awarded by IATTO for ” Honoring world-class achievement in trade education and development”
  • Hosting of the IATTO Forum in Stockholm 2008 and Cannes 2009

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