20. 7. 2009 | Source: BusinessInfo.cz
The scope of CzechInvests activities is aptly described in its full name: The Investment and Business Development Agency CzechInvest. More precisely, CzechInvest is a government agency whose task is to contribute to strengthening the Czech economy competitiveness through support for small and medium-sized enterprises, business infrastructure and innovation, and by attracting foreign investments in the areas of manufacturing, business support services and technology centres.
CzechInvest is a powerful instrument of support for business, as it manages aid programmes intended to support business, originally mostly with domestic resources, though more recently with funding from European Union programmes. However, the agency’s strength lies in its enormous volume of information and experience as well as a detailed understanding of individual regions and their needs, which the agency has gained from its offices in each of the Czech Republic’s thirteen regional capitals. These regional offices provide information on the agency’s services and possibilities of business support from EU structural funds, assist firms that are interested in implementing their own investments in the given region and cooperate with local administrative authorities, schools and other regional institutions in finding opportunities for development of the regions’ business environment.
CzechInvest offers both domestic and foreign investors support precisely according to their needs. One of the agency’s main tasks is to provide those interested in doing business in the country with up-to-date information on the Czech Republic’s business environment and specific sectors in which it is possible to invest, while offering a helping hand in the search for a suitable property or location with respect to the specific investment project. The agency also facilitates communication between investors and all other concerned parties, including representatives of state, regional and local administrative bodies. Thanks to the extensive database of suppliers that CzechInvest set up and administers, the agency is also able to assist with finding suppliers and partners for joint ventures in the Czech Republic.
Since 1993 CzechInvest has mediated nearly 1,000 investment projects, of which more than 190 were of Czech origin. In recent years support for technologically demanding investment projects with high added value has become a priority. As recently as 1999 such projects comprised only one percent of all projects implemented with CzechInvest’s assistance, whereas the remainder consisted in projects in the manufacturing industry. In 2007, however, 10% of projects were in the area of business support services and 14 % involved technology centres.
For the Ministry of Industry and Trade, CzechInvest administers investment incentives for projects in the areas of manufacturing, research and development and business support services. The agency is the only place where applications for investment incentives can be registered.
CzechInvest knows that a sufficient volume of well-equipped business properties is one of the conditions for a successful investment process. The agency has long been committed to the development of business properties. As such, in the past ten years it has provided support to 103 industrial zones throughout the Czech Republic. Grants from the programme to support construction and development of business properties, which is primarily focused on industrial zones intended for strategic investors, can be obtained in the form of direct aid, subsidies for payment of interest on bank loans, support for paying the loan principal and as non-refundable financial assistance. The state had dedicated a total of CZK 8.9 billion to this purpose by the end of 2007.
Investors interested in investing in technology centres, business support services centres or in manufacturing can expect from CzechInvest complete information service, primarily with regard to the condition of the chosen sector in the Czech Republic, the labour market in the selected region, transport accessibility and the capacity of utilities and other networks.
Of course, the agency’s aim is not only to build quality zones and related infrastructure, but to also provide support for property-development projects that expand the palette of offers for investors and thus improve the business-property market in the Czech Republic.
In addition to this, CzechInvest has also set its sights on brownfields in recent years. In the first half of 2008 the Czech government approved the National Brownfield Regeneration Strategy, which was prepared with CzechInvest’s active participation and sets forth rules that facilitate the coordination of individual projects involving the revitalisation of several thousand brownfields in the Czech Republic.
CzechInvest administers an extensive database of business properties that is the most comprehensive of its kind in the Czech Republic and is setting up a separate National Brownfields Database. The agency is also an organiser of the Business Property of the Year competition.
CzechInvest’s support for foreign business entities does not end with the implementation of the investment. The agency’s AfterCare Department helps investors resolve issues that normally arise in the course of doing business in the Czech Republic, just as they do elsewhere in the world. Subsequent care for investors includes a broad range of activities such as support for expansion, reinvestment and development of research, consulting in the area of investment incentives and co-financing of projects through EU structural funds, finding suppliers in the given region, support in the area of human resources, development of cooperation between investors and institutions of higher learning (secondary and higher professional schools, universities), and assistance in dealing with local authorities, the state administration and public institutions.
More information on CzechInvest and its services is available on the agency’s website at www.czechinvest.org or at CzechInvest’s office in your country.