There are several state-run and state-supported institutions to help businesses outside the Czech Republic to enter the local market and to help Czech-based companies to do international business. The most important are CzechInvest and CzechTrade, both run by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
CzechInvest is an investment and business development agency. Its goal is to attract foreign investment and develop Czech companies. The agency provides many services for free. It offers full information assistance, handles incentives, and helps locate business locations and suppliers, for example. It also helps with infrastructure development.
It serves as an intermediary between the European Union and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to help with the implementation of structural funds in the Czech Republic.
Accessing EU funds
Businesses involved in manufacturing and industry, for example, can use CzechInvest for help in accessing the Operational Program Enterprise and Innovation (OPEI), which is 85 percent EU-funded and offers subsidies loans and guarantees for projects in the Czech Republic but outside Prague.
One of the agency’s key functions is to deal with incentives. CzechInvest is the only agency authorized to file applications with governmental bodies responsible for investment incentives. It also prepares draft offers for granting incentives.
Comprehensive information on the current investment climate and legal matters regarding work permits and visas is available from the agency. CzechInvest is able to provide in-depth information on a number of sectors including automotive, aerospace, nanotechnology, renewable energy and software development. The agency tries to promote the country as a good location for research and development (R&D).
One method of business that the agency promotes is joint ventures. It has a database of potential suppliers and partners and organizes business forums and supplier days where foreign companies can establish business contacts with Czech firms that operate in the same sector.
A database of business properties is available, listing construction zones for industry and services, as well as existing industrial halls, office space and brownfield sites that were previously used and need some degree of regeneration.
Finding suitable partners
For Czech-based businesses looking to do business beyond the borders, CzechTrade is the state agency that promotes trade. It has 33 offices worldwide in 30 countries to provide export consulting services and information on business opportunities. In some locations, CzechTrade and CzechInvest maintain joint offices, as they have some amount of overlap.
One service offered by CzechTrade is Czech Industrial Partner Search (CIPAS), aimed at companies interested in establishing long-term partnerships in product development, manufacturing or other industrial sectors. “CzechTrade carefully researches your requirements and on this basis offers you a proper portfolio of reliable industrial partners for long-term partnership,” according to information from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In some locations, CzechTrade and CzechInvest maintain joint offices
CzechTrade also helps foreign firms to locate suitable business partners and suppliers in the Czech Republic. The agency maintains the Czech Exporters Directory, an online database of Czech export firms. The database is searchable by keyword, territory and sector. Companies can update information on a daily basis. It also operates Your Czech Supplier, an online service to link foreign companies to Czech suppliers.
Business visits that grow out of using CIPAS or Your Czech Supplier can be arranged by CzechTrade offices in Prague or foreign countries. The agency can set up itineraries, arrange for interpreting and cultural activities. It also offers help in arranging negotiations with potential business partners.