Stories in English

Innovation gives Retap competitive edgeFrom fireplace stoves to nano cleaners

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It all began in a small workshop in the early 1990s, without any capital but with a lot of enthusiasm. A small family company, Retap first started its business in metal production, then some ten years later, they went on to manufacture their own tiles and tiled stoves. Seven years ago, Retap launched their unique nano air cleaners in the Czech market and abroad. Last year, they won the Family Company of the Year award in the Small Business category.

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Prague as SME hubConnecting entrepreneurs and politicians

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For three days in November, Prague hosted the most important international conference focused on SMEs. The conference is attended by SME representatives as well as officials who administer the rules for doing business. This year, politicians also took part for the first time. I had the honour to lead a delegation of five Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the political group of liberals Renew Europe. The SME Assembly conference thus became a unique opportunity to connect the world of entrepreneurs and politicians. It is a big step towards cultivating a business environment that requires mutual dialogue.

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Technology, innovation and sustainabilityKB is building a bank for the third millennium

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Jitka Haubová is in charge of operations at Komerční banka. In practice, this means for example ensuring that your payment goes smoothly, that you can withdraw money from an ATM, your contract is legible, your account is functional and your branch is easy to use. Jitka Haubová argues that the bank is intertwined with the daily lives of its clients more than they may realise. It also protects clients from risks and helps them fulfil their dreams.

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SMEs in the spotlight. Finally

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"SMEs are the backbone of the European economy." This is still very true, as SMEs represent 99% of companies in the EU and give work to two thirds of private sector employees. The same share applies to the Czech Republic, where SMEs employ over two million people. Many politicians have overused these figures in nice speeches, but with no real action resulting from it. Thankfully, times are changing.

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My life is EuropeEurope is my life

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I started going to Italy on a regular basis in 1992, when I was sixteen. In 1995, I went to study political science at the University of Padua. I still thank my parents for letting me go there back then. It must have been difficult for them, but I was stubborn. So we made a deal. If I find it hard to take care of myself and fail to become independent in twelve months’ time, I will give up on my dream and come back to the Czech Republic. I didn't give up, though, and didn't return home to Czechia until twenty years later. I had the opportunity to be there when, following the 2004 EU enlargement, the CEE markets opened up to the West and also to Italy – the third biggest economy in Europe.

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Michal Štefl and Daniel Mahovský: Georgia has become our second home

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Czech engineers have been building hydro power plants all over the world for decades. Now, however, an opportunity to participate in the famous tradition of the Czech energy construction industry has opened up also for Czech investors. An experienced team of building engineers and investment specialists have established an investment fund that will help grow eco-friendly hydro power plants on the wild rivers in Georgia’s Caucasus mountains. This is what we have discussed with Michal Štefl, vice president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and a prominent Czech property developer, and Daniel Mahovský, experienced entrepreneur in the field of renewable energy sources.

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