High Growth Europe is a £16 billion export market for the UK (including £4 billion in services). UK exports have more than doubled over the past 10 years and the appetite for British goods and services continues to expand. Positive economic credentials (growth forecasts for the region over the next 20 years are comparable with Russia or Brazil), and increasing spending power, mean this trend will continue. At the same time, EU membership has secured billions in structural funds to modernise transport and social infrastructure; upgrade utilities, including water and the region’s disparate gas and electricity grids; provide education and skills to increasingly aspirational local populations; and develop new and competitive industries building on traditional strengths.
Together, this creates huge opportunities for British services, engineering and construction companies, along with demand for UK financial services expertise and growing appetites for private healthcare, improved qualifications and consumer goods among the region’s newly affluent population.
Enchanting Krakow, the largest Medieval City Square in Europe and its bustling Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) is the backdrop to our GREAT Megamission Poland leg which takes place on 2 and 3 March 2014. Recently ranked as the most beautiful City square in the world, this UNESCO world heritage site has been a bustling centre of international trade since the 14th century. What better place to do business.
Visit Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the informal hub of Czech life sciences and ICT and seat of some of the best Czech universities. By dint of its strategic location in the heart of Europe, Moravia has attracted significant FDI in areas such as aerospace, automotive, advanced technologies and R&D, along with EU funding for pan-European life sciences projects. Brno is the gateway to many new and innovative businesses, as well as traditional heavy industries in North Moravia.
With an urban population of almost 2 million and a GDP per capita more than double that of the Czech Republic as a whole, Prague has developed into an attractive regional business hub for a large number of foreign investors; a centre for services and R&D; and the access point for a range of industries including energy, creative & media, automotive and life sciences. The city attracts millions of tourists each year, contributing to the development of a strong and sophisticated retail sector with more international brands and more luxury brands present than anywhere else in the CEE.
The Slovak economy has been one of the best performers in the EU over recent years, stimulated by significant Foreign Direct Investment in the automotive and electrical engineering sectors, in particular. An estimated 80 per cent of the Slovak working population is now employed by foreign investments, which offer broad potential for the UK supply chain for technology and services. The automotive sector, in particular, is strong, with more vehicles produced per capita in Slovakia than anywhere else in the world.
Bratislava itself is a centre for trade, banking, IT, retail, telecommunications and other high tech businesses; and an access point for the important energy and automotive sectors. Bratislava might well be Europe’s most relaxed city, because of its old-town charm, sophisticated restaurants, traditional pubs, good music ranging from jazz to opera, stylish people, and a human scale which means that as a visitor you will not spend half your day trekking in and out of underground stations or getting from the airport into town. All this, and Europe’s greatest river Danube as a backdrop. What more could you want?
Budapest is famous as a tourist destination. But good business is also waiting for you here. Many UK multinational companies agree and have bases here, including British Telecom, GSK, BP, Vodafone and Diageo. Hungary has also become a centre of attention for its automotive industry as Audi, Mercedes, Opel, Suzuki host huge plants in Hungary. There are also many opportunities for smaller business to flourish in Hungary. For instance the life sciences sector is historically strong. It offers significant opportunities for UK companies to collaborate with Hungarian counterparts and supply good quality and competitively priced products to this market.
Hungary’s energy sector offers opportunities in the field of civil nuclear, gas pipeline project (South Stream), increased use of RES technologies and power plant modernisation. As far as British food and drink products are concerned, there is good potential for innovative, healthy foodstuff well packaged that represent good value for money. Financial services always play a critical role in the economy of given country.
Hungary’s strategic goal is to establish itself as a venture capital hub of Central Eastern European. And these are just a selection of the sectors we think are ripe for UK companies to make the most of.