Insights from Enterprise Ireland’s Ladislav Muller show that Irish companies have much to offer partners in the Czech Republic.
For the fourth year in a row, Ireland was named the fastest growing economy in the European Union (EU), with the European Commission reporting that GDP grew by 7.3% over 2017. The Czech Republic also experienced strong growth in the period, at 4.5%.
The economic growth experienced by both countries is reflected in the quality of their products and services. According to Ladislav Muller, strong economic performance, a shared business culture and a commitment to quality are important parallels the countries share.
“Broadly speaking, Ireland and the Czech Republic are two small countries surrounded by large neighbours, so there is a bond there. Ireland has also led the way in terms of showing how to make economic progress in the EU.
“Irish businesses are making great strides in the Czech Republic. There is a growing concentration of them in the country that are making an impression by offering innovative, flexible solutions that help Czech businesses to grow.”
Ireland’s B2B advantage
Czech businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the innovative solutions offered by Irish businesses. In 2016, Enterprise Ireland, the national export agency, reported that exports by its client companies to the Czech Republic grew to €80 million.
According to Muller, growth has been driven by Ireland’s natural strength in offering B2B solutions in a manner that Czech partners appreciate.
Muller says, “Irish companies offer solutions that aren’t available in the Czech market at the moment. People are very technical here and look for different, innovative solutions.
“Czechs respond very well to the Irish ability to adapt and create strong partnerships that deliver results. We see it all the time. That growing reputation is driving Czech businesses to look to Ireland for unique, bespoke products and services.”
Irish businesses are already delivering results for Czech businesses. Waterford based PPI Adhesive Products Ltd supply an innovative adhesive tape to Czech company AGC Automotive. PPI Adhesives were recently named AGC’s supplier of the year, highlighting the value the Irish company added to their supply chain.
Wicklow-based Ventac, secured a long-term supply partnership with Czech company Zetor, a global tractor manufacturer. The bespoke solution saw Ventac provide Zetor with products that reduce noise for tractor drivers. Ventac’s commitment to innovation was crucial in developing the product.
Another Irish company, Realtime Technologies from Dublin, a leading provider of electronics manufacturing training in the Czech Republic, signed a co-operation agreement with research centre of the University of West Bohemia that will help strengthen their market position.
Ireland’s sectoral strengths are open to Czech business
In the Czech Republic, manufacturing has the highest share of GDP compared to other European countries, at 35%, with the sector employing 38% of the population. The sector is constantly looking to source innovative solutions that companies in Ireland’s engineering sector are capable of supplying.
Muller comments, “The Czech manufacturing sector is always looking for a competitive edge to boost production. When looking for innovative solutions, that are feasible and responsive to customer needs, Czech businesses should look to Ireland. Irish engineering companies work with Czech manufacturers, helping them to improve production and cost efficiency.”
Medtech is a quickly developing sector in the Czech Republic. BMI Research from 2016 reported that the sector’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2016-2021 is expected to be 11.1%.
Per capita, Ireland is the second largest employer of medtech professionals in Europe. Companies in the sector offer expertise and quality to Czech buyers. Muller says, “Although the Czech Republic is a large producer of medical devices, many technologies and materials are imported and Ireland’s expertise is very much valued. The average spend on medical devices here is significant.”
Companies like Prodieco that supply blister pack tooling for local pharma industry or Arravasc that offers specialized catheters, are well-known names on the Czech medical devices market.
Other sectors also offer opportunities. According to Muller, Irish expertise in agritech can also benefit Czech businesses: “Czech farms are typically large, so innovative Irish solutions can be of great value to buyers here.”
Muller also emphasises opportunities for Irish service providers: “In the area of services, there is scope for growth with a number of Irish companies supplying excellent enterprise software that isn’t visible in the Czech market. Irish companies involved in innovative solutions for recruitment are also sought after in the Czech Republic.”
Sourcing the right products and services is always challenging. Czech businesses looking for a new competitive advantage need look no further than Ireland.