Creativity and smaller companies in Malmoe

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In the Southern Inner City/Södra Innerstaden here in Malmoe, between the former Southern Defence/Södervärn, (now a bus centre), and the Mill-field Square/Möllevångstorget there are many shops, cafés, restaurants, galleries etc. It’s an area coloured by its mix of people from different parts of the world. Apart from Swedish and specific Scanian dialect expressions such as “Ah du”, “Ah men halleåu”, “E du en fubbik, eller?” you might hear languages like different forms of Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Polish, Spanish, Somalian etc. The area is teaming with life and I love walking the streets of Malmoe in most parts of town. I love breathing in the mix of modern urban life, the continental feeling, the tranqulity of countryside here and there as well as enjoy the beauty of the parks and classical buildings.

Yesterday I visited two companies that I would like to describe to you. Near Södervärn/The Southern Defence there’s “Södervärns Café” on Claesgatan 18. It’s a small, cosy café where they serve a mix of bread, ciabatta, cakes and wafers, and of course coffee, tea and soft drinks. It’s run by a young woman born in Baghdad, Iraq. Her name is Saja Al-Subahi and she got the idea when she was working on her first job at Burger King. Saja loved cafées and used to visit many with her friends. In upper secondary school she studied the society-economy program at Mikael Elias Theoretic School and graduated in 2011. When she got the idea to start a café of her own she got support from her father Laith who helped her financially. They bought an already existing café in March 2012, renovated and opened up in May. Saja also has a couple of girls helping her sent to her from the Work Agency/Arbetsförmedlingen. When I have been at Södervärns Café I have noticed that they serve the food in a very nice and professional way. It’s clean, neat, nicely decorated and even if Saja isn’t educated cook she definitally has a natural talent for this. If you want to make some order yourself you might call the café on +46 (0)40-627 51 30. They have customers that come back on a regular basis and approximately 45 – 75 people visit the café each day. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Södervärn Café might be visited between 7.30 am and six pm, in the summer time until seven.

Even if the location is good Saja explains that it is tough to keep the café running financially. All the taxes, things that have to be bought or repaired. She would really need more guests to make the business thrive. When you run a small business you’re even more sensitive for backlashes, and you have to have a good economic base for all expected and unexpected expenses. When I met Saja yesterday we discussed the situation, and also the competition from larger café-chains such as Barista or bigger malls like Emporia and Entré. The interesting thing is that many boutiques, shops, cafées and galleries both at Emporia and Entré have been forced to shut down, because the owners can’t afford to keep them. The two malls exist and Emporia is very new, but many shops and rooms are now silent, empty and shut. Before Emporia opened up there was a debate in the media whether Malmoe was big enough for yet another mall which drew customers from the smaller businesses downtown and in the suburbs? Seeing what has happened it’s doubtful, but the politicians had loved the idea. Many shop-owners and smaller businesses in the city and suburbs however are struggling to survive. Why not easening the taxation system for them even more? We as customers also ought to be more curious and test new places, and keep a keen eye for what’s good for society in company and society development. We see a similar pattern in many other countries around the world as well.

When I had been to Södervärns Café I walked the few metres along Claesgatan to number 8. There we find Mitt Möllan/My Mill-Field. During the 16th to 18th centuries this area lay south of the city walls, south of the two large swamp-lakes outside Malmoe. Here was a field where the wind-mills stood, which later has given name to the square Möllevångstorget that was built ca 100 years ago. Mitt Möllan present themselves as design, art, crafts, food, fashion, culture, vintage and beyond from local and unlocal creators. Not long ago I got an invitation to a presentation day of Mitt Möllan via Facebook. I got curious and came to the guided presentation. It’s a building complex of 7000 square metres that already has its creative activities, but they look for more company owners, designers, artists, sections from Malmoe Municipality etc. I met two lovely women in their early 30s yesterday who presented the concept for me, Malin Busck and Terese Arvidsson. On a commercial leaflet I got from Terese it said: “Office? Gallery? Shop? Studio? Kitchen? Mitt Möllan is a house in change. With art, culture, design and fashion in focus here’s room for creativity and new ideas. Do you want to join?” Another sign near the entrance from Claesgatan tells us that the building is owned by Stena Fastigheter Malmö AB and if you want to get anything of the above mentioned you should contact Daniel Fredlund on, or to If you want to check out Mitt Möllan you can do that on It started in 2009 after the former shopping mall Leonard. Now they want to widen the concept. Already there are ecologic fashion, art galleries, restaurants, key makers and sewing of clothes in the house. Also exhibitions and rooms to rent for temporary events are meant to exist here. On May 18th and 19th Mitt Möllan will have a spring market between 11am and 4pm.

Malin Busck is educated textile economist. As such she’s been working before mainly as purchaser of textiles and contacting producers. She’s now very much into fair trade, ecologic sustainbility and ecologic responsibility. At Mitt Möllan she also has an ecologic fashion boutique with her German male co-partner. It’s called Hi on life. Most of their customers are hipsters. The clothes are made of ecologic cotton, hemp, recycled wool and recycled polyester from the Amazon area in Brazil.  Malin has a sound radiance in her charisma and I get the feeling that this is just the right way forward, not only for her, but for many others as well. Terese Arvidsson is educated project leader. She’s also educated in media and information techniques, has been working on PR bureaus, but she thought that the commercial business too often do not take resposibility for the environment and working conditions. She’s been working a lot with visual communication, and is used to present what different kinds of concepts and project ideas might look like depending on the context, such as in a brochure, at a big fair or in a shop-window.  Terese Arvidsson has been working for Malmoe Municipality and Folkuniversitetet, but been part of Mitt Möllan since April. Here she participates in economic structures, and shaping the new environment hands-on. Both Malin and Terese seem to co-operate well and creates a team that might contribute to making Mitt Möllan a pulsating place full of creativity and life even more. They want to grow and thrive and also show that Möllevången, Malmoe and Scania might be so much more than just problems. Both women love the mix of people and the mix of nationalities that exist here, and I agree. We need a development in this direction for a future to be proud of.

Anders Moberg, May 9th 2013


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