New project to help Czech exporters succeed

05-09-2003

The Czech economy is export-oriented but success of Czech products on foreign markets depends on a number of factors, not just their quality but also the firm's knowledge of local social, legal and business conditions as well as presentation skills. Vladimir Tax reports on a new project that should help improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized Czech firms.

Oto Jelinek from Deloitte & Touche and Martin Tlapa (right), photo: CTKOto Jelinek from Deloitte & Touche and Martin Tlapa (right), photo: CTK The Czech government's trade promotion agency, CzechTrade, the Czech branch of the international audit and consultancy company Deloitte & Touche and the consultancy firm Adwise have launched a new service for Czech companies - a practical training course aimed at helping companies with gathering information about foreign markets, building knowledge management systems, and improving their presentation skills.

The director of CzechTrade, Martin Tlapa, says these are areas than can be improved at a relatively low cost but could render significant results in business performance.

"This is a challenge for companies which can be easily improved, because it needs just to invest in the people to help them train these skills. It should significantly increase the competitiveness of Czech companies without any big investment."

While large corporations can usually afford to implement complex training schemes and systematically develop their human resources, small and medium-sized enterprises often lack the funds needed to train top professionals in international trade and to realise large export contracts.

This project focuses on small and medium sized enterprises, as I was told by the Head of Deloitte and Touche in Prague, Otto Jelinek.

"In any economy, the small and medium-size enterprise segment is the backbone of the economy. It employs the largest number of people and has the largest potential for growth. That is why as we move towards becoming members of the European Union, we have to work with the small and medium-size sector to try to bring in the competitiveness and the productivity that is so necessary for them to be able to export to other countries."

There are around 40 thousand exporters in the Czech Republic. Given the capacity of the course is around twenty companies and it runs for two months, it would take 300 years to train them all. I asked Mr. Tlapa about CzechTrade's ambitions regarding this course.

"We would like to see 20 companies in the first course, and if there are positive results, we have an agreement with Deloitte and Touche to continue with the training for the whole of next year. This is just the beginning and we would like to train many more companies than we are able to now by ourselves."

In your opinion, how many companies would need such a raining?

"I hope that this course is so good that we should count thousands of companies and I would like to encourage more companies to put the effort and budgets towards training of their own people, because this is something that should significantly increase the competitiveness of Czech exporters."

05-09-2003