Interview with Honorary Consul Petr Lukasík, Honorary Consulate of Finland, Ostrava
1) Economic outlook of the Czech Republic today – and what are the prospects for the country for the new decade?
Each and every country economic situation has been influenced by Covid-19 recently. But in general, the Czech Republic has a strong economy characterized by stability and lowest unemployment rate in EU. It is a place with significant business opportunities as it has a great location in the geographical heart of Europe (easy access to everywhere) with increasing quality of infrastructure and rising consumption. Finally, I firmly believe in highly skilled and innovative people in various fields. Czech people are also well known for their loyalty, dedication and hard work.
2) If a Finnish company decides to invest in the Czech Republic, what are the most important issues this enterprise must take into its consideration to succeed in the market?
First, the Czech Republic is not a member of eurozone. As challenges, I would also mention long building permit processes and bureaucracy. Otherwise, the Czech Republic is a good place for business with many advantageous conditions. There are no major cultural issues companies should be aware of.
3) Which kind of assistance and which kinds of benefits there are in the Czech Republic for Finnish companies which would like to invest in the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic is one of the most developed European countries at ease of doing business, ranks among 10 safest countries in the world and among 25 countries with the highest quality of life index. We are part of the EU market, one of the most successful CEE countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment since the 1990s. We have stable political, social and economic environment and advantageous geographical location in the middle of Europe with great access to both emerging eastern as well as established western markets. Our infrastructure is reliable and advanced: direct highway connection to Germany, Poland and Slovakia. Our treasure is intellectual capital, well-educated and highly competent people available at a fraction of the cost of those in western economies. Foreigner investors would surely appreciate also availability of suppliers and specialized inputs, transparent system of investment incentives and strong focus on R&D and innovations. Furthermore, there is a state agency CzechInvest focused on supporting foreign companies in doing business in the Czech Republic and several innovation centres supporting R&D, start-up communities etc.
4) Please, explain us which kinds of investment opportunities there are for Finnish companies in Czech Republic and in your region?
I believe the most perspective fields for investments are the ones connected to digital era, such as IT, robotics, artificial intelligence, engineering, smart transportation and communications, biotechnology or life sciences. These fields are unstoppable, being crucial part of today´s digital world, way of living and working. There is also plenty of start-ups focusing on this field and I truly believe this could be good investment opportunity also for foreign companies. Besides that there are opportunities in traditional sectors such as manufacturing, automotive etc. Investors can acquire established companies (e.g. Czech based Armatury Group acquired by Vexve, Oy in 2019) or find suitable business parks for their activities. Many companies have in the recent years established their shared service centres in the Czech Republic and current unpredictable situation shows the benefits of having these crucial operations located in highly developed and stable country. New normal brings also new ways of working and Czech Republic with plenty of graduates can serve as a pool of required competences which are scarce elsewhere.
5) We know the Czech Republic as a great holiday destination for Finns. Please, tell us more about the tourist attractions and holiday resorts in your country and region.
I really love to spend my free time together with my family in the Czech Republic. In general, we are proud of our nature – mountains with many ski resorts (e.g. Krkonoše), national parks (e.g. Bohemian Switzerland, Bohemian Paradise) or vineyards (e.g. Mikulov). Concretely, our capital Prague ranks among one of the most visited cities in the world thanks to its rich cultural and historical heritage. There are also plenty other historical cities like Český Krumlov, Kutná Hora, Kroměříž, Telč or Olomouc, which is perceived as hidden jewel of Europe according to Lonely Planet. In Ostrava, I would recommend visiting world-unique former industrial place Dolní Vítkovice, which has become educational, cultural and social centre.
Contact person for questions:
Liaison Manager, International Affairs
Finland Chamber of Commerce
anne.hatanpaa ( a ) chamber.fi