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3 September, 2015 - 08:26 By Kate Sweeney

October trade mission to Slovakia and Czech Republic


Enterprise Europe Network and UK Trade and Investment are organising a trade mission to Slovakia and the Czech Republic from October 13-16 to help SMEs access business opportunities in the dynamic Central European economy.

Slovakia and the Czech Republic have a significant combined domestic market of 16 million consumers located in the geographical heart of Europe. The visit’s destinations – Bratislava and Brno – provide a convenient location for expansion into neighbouring high-growth regions.

The Central European states will receive EUR 36 billion in EU Structural and Cohesion funds for the current strategic period 2014-2020, with the Slovak economy forecast to grow by three per cent in 2015 and a further 3.4 per cent in 2016. The Czech economy is predicted to grow by 2.5 per cent this year and 2.6 per cent in 2016.

Mark Hofman, an international trade adviser specialising in the Central Eastern European region at Enterprise Europe Network, said the visit was an excellent opportunity for East of England businesses to tap into the strong contacts the organisation has forged over recent years. He said: “Central Europe represents a dynamic market where British goods and expertise are held in high regard.

“The opportunity for market growth is real with EU funds paving the way for the continued development of regional economies. We have a strong relationship with our partners in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, October’s visit will be our third in recent years that have brought a number of new contracts for British businesses and we hope to assist further in 2015.”

EU funds will predominately be spent on modernising transport, infrastructure, projects supporting R & D, the environmental sector, supporting SMEs, social inclusion, tourism and the reconstruction and expansion of the JANAF-Adria pipelines.

Over the last 10 years Slovakia and the Czech Republic have experienced massive trade growth with the UK; UK exports have more than doubled to £2.45 billion.

Major UK investors in Slovakia and the Czech Republic include Marks & Spencer, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, GSK and Amec, and a further 250-350 British businesses are estimated to be operating in the Central European republics.

British products and expertise are associated with reliability, quality and durability with English being widely spoken, particularly amongst the younger population and accepted as a business language in some areas.

Up to 15 pre-arranged meetings with prospective Slovak and Czech business partners in Bratislava and Brno have been set up for the visit. There will also be networking receptions and dinners to which delegates can invite guests. Companies can call Mark Hofman on 01707 398069 or email him at: m.hofman [at] 

How to Export – 7 Routes to Market

To support businesses in the East of England thinking about exporting, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) has organised a workshop in conjunction with the University of Essex at Wivenhoe House Hotel, Colchester, on October 14.

‘How to Export – 7 Routes to Market’ has been developed to help businesses prepare to move into international markets and gives an excellent overview of key international business considerations to help develop an export strategy and prepare to move into new markets.

Enterprise Europe Network offers support to businesses that want to grow in Europe and provides information about funding, partnership opportunities and market research.

Gillio Moscardini, an export consultant from Export Advisory Solutions Ltd will be facilitating the workshop. Gillio’s expertise in bringing goods to export market and advising on the Enterprise Initiative Scheme through different channels of distribution spans 30 years.

He said: “There are great opportunities for British businesses in exporting. However there can also be a number of hurdles to take into account, which need careful understanding, so that they can be overcome without affecting the rest of a company’s existing business model.”

The workshop will take businesses through the fundamentals of researching markets, finding export partners, identifying what resources are needed, how cash flow will be affected, understanding the routes to market and the mechanics involved.

Contact is Heather Benham on 01707 398183; Email:  h.benham [at] 

Image courtesy: Bratislava Tourist Board –

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