Despite the country’s recent fall in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report, Czech technology start-ups seem to dominate in the Central European region. At least according to the latest ranking published by the accountancy firm Deloitte on Thursday, which placed 19 Czech businesses among its list of the top 50 home-grown technology companies in Central Europe.
In 2018, the top two spots of the rankings were dominated by two Czech companies, the 3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research and flight booking website Kiwi.com, which were separated from the rest of the pack by more than 10,000 percent higher growth numbers.
This year the rankings were much closer and Prusa Research had to concede first place to Lithuania’s software company Voltas IT, whose growth exceeded the Czech start-up by more than a 1,000 percent.
However, absolute domination at the top of the ladder gave way to much greater representation of Czech companies in the Top 50 rankings. Whereas in 2018 seven Czech companies made it onto the list, this year there were 19.
It should also be said that this year saw a record number of applications from Czech companies into the competition, which increased threefold compared to 2018. However, this is not the cause behind their significant representation says Kateřina Novotná from Deloitte who worked on the ranking.
“There are 19 countries in the competition, so while there was an increase in Czech participants they do not of course make up the great majority of companies that are competing.”
Neither, she says, are the results of any advantages provided to local entrepreneurs.
“I wouldn’t say that there is an easier business environment here compared to other Central European countries. However, the Czech Republic does have a lot of great and hard-working people with lots of innovative ideas who inspire and need each other.
“For example we have a number of web design companies that were able to successfully expand into foreign markets. For example, Kiwi.com and Prusa Research are a great example of companies that have become undisputed world leaders within their business focus.”
Prusa Research has indeed managed to expand beyond regional constraints in terms of importance, with its share on the world market exceeding 10 percent last year.
Meanwhile, the Brno based start-up Kiwi.com, which focuses on online bookings, placed alongside Prusa Research in last year’s top 500 of the fastest growing companies in the Europe, Middle East and Asia region.
This year Kiwi.com went on to sell shares reputedly worth as much as CZK 3 billion to the American fund General Atlantic, which now has a majority stake in the company.
Despite these successes however, the Czech Republic’s recent drop to 32nd place in the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Competitiveness Report suggests that targets need to be set higher than dominance in the Central European region.
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