Nominees 2018

The companies, organisations, agencies and local governments below have all been chosen as nominees for the Emerging Europe Awards.

Apart from the National Investment Promotion Agency of the Year category, in which all the regional IPAs have been included, all nominees have been selected because of their excellence and impact on the local or national scene.

FDI Project of the Year

Foreign direct investment has been the fuel powering the engine of growth in the CEE region over the last few years. While it’s essential that businesses nurture their own capital and that regional companies expand across the goal, FDI remains an integral part of the economies of emerging Europe. But smarter and more sustainable development is now key. Foreign investors can no longer see the region simply as a source of cheap labour or an easy market for their products – they need to plan their investments in order to give to the community in which they are developing.

This category assesses recent investment projects which have had a real, positive impact on the country or local area in which they have been implemented or completed.

Amazon, the global distributor, invested £100 million and created 700 jobs in its returns centre in Sered, Slovakia.
Chocolette Confectionary invested €12,5 million and opened its first chocolate factory in Jelgava, Latvia.
IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, invested ‎€70 million and employed 416 people in Belgrade, Serbia.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States, opened its new operation centre and is planning to create 2,500 jobs in Warsaw, Poland.
One&Only opened its first luxury resort in Europe and invested€650 million‎ in Kumbor, Montenegro.
RuchTech, an American fibre laser manufacturer and a subsidiary of IPG Photonics Corporation, aims to employ thousands of people in Minsk, Belarus.
Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze, the car-parts manufacturer, opened an electric cable system following a ‎€30 million investment and expects to employ 2,500 people in Moldova.
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts opened new 218-room urban resort next to the Bosnian Parliament in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Teraplast Group, the biggest PVC processor in Romania, purchased a factory and invested €11 million in Leskovac, Serbia.
Yazaki, the automotive component maker, opened a new factory employing more than 500 people. By the end of 2019, it plans to create 1,700 jobs in Šabac, Serbia.

Global Market Champion of the Year

If emerging Europe is to truly reach its full potential, the region needs strong companies which are not only preeminent in their local markets but are also strong on the international scene, sell- ing or distributing to markets across the world. One of the upsides of globalisation is that when a company has a good product or service, with the ambition and resourcefulness to back it up, the world is literally its oyster.

This category recognises and rewards companies for whom open borders are invitations to succeed.

airBaltic, the Latvia-based airline, launched 13 new destinations in 2017, introduced seven brand-new Bombardier CS300 aircrafts and became the most punctual airline globally with a home base in Riga.
Avast, the Czech software company, has over 435 million monthly active users and is recognized as a leader in consumer and mobile security. Every month they protect users from over 2 billion malware attacks and more than 500 million visits to malicious sites, worldwide.
HB Reavis, the commercial real estate developer from Slovakia, launched developments in the UK with two flagship projects and continues to strengthen its presence in Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary as well as Germany.
LPP, the biggest Polish clothing manufacturer in CEE, has opened a flagship store on world-famous Oxford Street in London and has extended its market to Belarus and Serbia.
Maxima Grupė, the Lithuanian holding company that controls retails chains MAXIMA, T-MARKET, ALDIK and Barbora, opened 17 new stores in 2017, bringing the total number to 568 stores across five countries with about one million customers every day.
Penta Investments from Slovakia is one of the largest employers in the region and provides more than 41,000 jobs. Penta is active on more than 10 markets throughout Europe and owns assets valued at €9 billion.
Polcom Group from Poland provides construction solutions and furniture for the hotel and retail market and has new ventures in North America and Benelux.
Selena FM, the Polish manufacturer and distributor of construction chemicals, acquired a 64% stake in the Italian company Uniflex S.p.A. and established a joint venture in China called House Selena.
Solaris Bus & Coach, the producer of city, intercity and special-purpose buses and a low-floor trams from Poland, sold the highest number of its vehicles ever in 2017, exported nearly 70% of its total sales and expanded exports to two new countries, now reaching 32 countries in total.
Wizz Air, CEE’s largest low-cost airline, carried more than 30 million passengers over the past 12 months and introduced the new Airbus A321ceo aircraft. Last year, Wizz Air launched 34 new routes across its European network and added three new destinations.

Research & Development Initiative of the Year

It’s no longer enough for emerging Europe economies and businesses to copy the methods and ideas of others in their efforts to catch up with their western counterparts. They need to come up with ideas for themselves.

The importance of R&D in the future economic landscape of the region cannot be overstated, which is why we are highlighting programmes which stand out from the crowd and are helping to raise the region to a higher level of enterprise.

3Pillar Global, the IT service provider, opened its third research and development centre in 2017 and hired 50 engineers and IT experts in Lasi, Romania.
Continental’s R&D centre in Serbia has 150 highly specialized engineers responsible for systems and control modules for highly automated trucks. In the next three years, more than 500 skilled employees will be hired for complete product development in the automotive industry.
Embraco, the Brazilian refrigeration compressor manufacturer, has established a new €2.5 million technology centre at its European production plant in Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia.
Ericsson AB opened its first Ukrainian R&D centre in Lviv last year. The manufacturer of equipment for wireless networks plans to hire 160 programmers and strengthen Ukraine’s software development competences in radio, cloud technologies and IP.
Huawei, one of China’s largest manufacturers of smartphones and tablets, opened an R&D centre in Kyiv, Ukraine, which is one of 21 Huawei's global R&D centres.
The International Centre of Excellence on Coal Mine Methane in Poland was launched in 2017 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The centre will contribute to the development of new methods of capturing and use of methane as a valuable energy source.
Mondelēz International’s newest global Technical Center supports new products for many of the company’s iconic brands of sweets and biscuits in Wroclaw, Poland. The 9,500 sqm facility is part of the company's $65 million investment in nine large R&D hubs around the world.
Nokia Skypark in Budapest, Hungary is one of the country’s largest IT and telecommunications R&D centres. Opened by Futureal Group and Nokia, the €70 million investment is occupied by over 2,000 employees of the Nokia Networks Global Technological Centre.
Sentiance, the data science company, plans to employ 30 data scientists and highly qualified system software specialists in its new research and development unit in Vilnius.
Siemens Czech Republic will expand and modernise its local branches over the next seven years with investments totalling more than CZK 7 billion. The company will create more than 1,800 jobs, one-third of which are in research and development, management and other functions.

Renewal Project of the Year

Years of neglect and under-investment across the region during communist times and the lack of resources to renovate them since have left many projects and locations in desperate need of restoration. Yet things have been changing in recent years, led by ambitious municipalities and resourceful developers, resulting in fantastic projects of renewal. We want to bring these projects to the attention of a wider audience, thereby providing inspiration to others to do the same.

The restored Armenian American University creates a new learning environment for a modern day student by integrating ancient Soviet architecture and modern style, making a Soviet-era building pleasant again.
The Bank of Slovenia’s previously monofunctional bank hall has been reconstructed into a diverse work environment designed to provide a more relaxed, diverse and interactive work environment for the bank’s employees.
The CEDET building in the centre of Warsaw - famous as the home of Poland’s kids store Smyk - was not only modernised, but also expanded and restored to its original architectural character – a shopping space and meeting place for its inhabitants.
Fabrika Hostel from Georgia caters to a variety of travelers accommodating a total of 354 guests in a historic sewing factory that has been converted into a multi-functional urban centre, with a collection of artistic studios, workshops, concept stores, café-bars, co-working space and creative education school.
Warsaw’s 100-year-old ‘Koszyki’ market hall was has been reconstructed into a social and culinary centre with restaurants, pubs and shops. The new ‘Koszyki’ was recreated using any usable original elements and materials left after the demolition of the old structure.
Timisoara’s historical city centre has undergone a rehabilitation of street infrastructure and four public spaces to improve the quality of the urban services, foster socio-economic development and increase citizen’s welfare.
One of Ukraine’s largest historical squares. Mytna Square in Lviv, has been rebuilt into a large pedestrian area enriched with water recreation, landscaping and a conceptual lighting in the evening which attracts tourists and serves as a gathering place for local residents.
Albania’s Old Bazaar of Korca, one of the country’s oldest cultural monuments, underwent a complete revitalisation with more than 100 individual structures renovated to attract businesses, locals and tourists to the 500 year-old historical site.
Tirana’s New Bazaar has been transformed into a pedestrian area, shopping, eating and night-life space and tourism destination and was funded by foreign grants, private investors and Tirana municipality’s budgets.
The interior of Bulgaria’s Pirogov Hospital Children’s Clinic, with the help of thousands of private citizens and businesses, was revamped with superhero-themed features to reduce stress for patients and caregivers and to empower young patients to fight for their lives and defeat disease, superhero-style.

City FDI Promotion Strategy of the Year

It’s crucial for cities to attract FDI investment, thereby creating jobs for their inhabitants, improving prospects for their young people, and raising the living standards of the en- tire city. Competition between cities is intense, both in their own countries and on an international level, so their strategies for achieving maximum investment need to be well-crafted and specific to their strengths and opportunities.

This category assesses the creativity, effectiveness and success of those strategies.

Katowice’s dynamic development stems from the shift from coal mining to IT and automotive industry, its BPO, SSC, IT and R&D centres as well as 20,000 employees in the business service sector and strong academic presence with over 90,000 students.
Klaipeda’s 2030 development strategy focuses on the economical specialization of the city, targeting new FDI and labour force growth, and fosters cooperation between municipality, business, science, and port authorities.
In recent years Lublin has taken strong steps to attract new FDI, which resulted in 2017 in 3 industrial and 3 service sector FDI’s. In 2018 so far there have been over 10 investor visits, 4 from the UK.
Ostrava has adopted the Strategic Plan 2017-2023, which was set up in consultancy with the city’s inhabitants. Its efforts over the last few years have resulted in several awards, including 1st place in the ‘City of Business’ in Czech Republic.
Plovdiv is one of the most important economic, logistical, cultural and educational centres in the Balkans and its Business Development Department is the first regional structure in Bulgaria to attract investments and develop sectors such as IT and BPO and manufacturing.
Poznań’s FDI strategy focuses on the BSS sector and the Investor Relations Department supports companies at every stage of investment process. It has a diversified economy with big share of automotive, pharmaceutical and business services sector, and is actively developing its business infrastructure.
Updating and improving Sarajevo’s tourism industry resulted in a 150% increase in visitors in one year and with easier visa entry procedures, more people are exploring the city. Last year Sarajevo adopted an Outreach Campaign to participate at international investment conferences.
Sofia has built on its reputation as an entrepreneurial and digital hub and the Bulgarian city supports innovation practices in such fields as ICT, aerospace manufacturing and tourism. It also attracted major companies such as Coca-Cola and Melexis who will expand operations in the city.
Tirana is undergoing an urban renaissance and a green revolution and a boom in tourism as well as attracting foreign direct investments, including Mobike - the world's largest and most technologically advanced smart bike-share platform.
Wrocław is one of the top 3 FDI destinations in Poland. ARAW, its investment promotion agency, has completed over 200 investment projects which have created over 90,000 jobs over the last 12 years.

Social Impact Start-Up of the Year

It is the golden age of start-ups, and in this eld, while their more established counterparts in the west got a headstart, newcomers in central and eastern Europe have been gaining ground rapidly. Technology does not respect national borders, so a start-up in Ukraine or Serbia can now expect to find buyers and investors anywhere on the globe. The future is bright for emerging Europe in this field: most start-ups are geared towards making money, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this category looks for enterprises which make bettering society and working for the common good their main objectives.

CastPrint from Latvia developed a 3D printed cast solution for hospitals and clinics to offer cutting-edge fracture treatment to patients.
Deepdee is a Belarusian startup specializing in the development of advanced software solutions for the healthcare industry such as a system for instant early diagnosis of eye diseases.
Delfast from Ukraine is the current Guinness Record Holder for the longest distance on one charge of its electric bike. Delfast bikes have longer range than most popular electric cars.
Fitpuli from Hungary is a mobile app that automatically collects lifestyle-related data, provides personalized analysis & feedback as well as individual motivational and development tools to achieve better employee well-being.
FunSave from Hungary provides a complex B2B solution to banks turning financials into entertainment. It helps banks teach families with kids about money management.
ParrotOne from Poland developed a smart-touch keyboard designed specifically for users with physical and motor disabilities which makes typing easier and faster.
PassivDom from Ukraine is a 100% ready-to-use, 3D-printed autonomous off-the grid smart house made of carbon and glass fiber.
Skriware from Poland offers Education Ecosystem that consists of hardware and software solutions that create a hands-on experience to teach STEAM interdisciplinary skills to students in classrooms or at home.
UniExo from Ukraine created a wearable modular robotic exoskeleton device, which which helps patients restore motor functions of their bodies.
VRET Solutions from Bosnia creates software for VR devices that improves psychotherapy and enables psychologists and psychiatrists to administer safer, more effective and faster treatment to their patients.

Equality-Friendly Initiative of the Year

If central and eastern Europe is to reach its full potential, the ground must be level for everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious belief or sexual orientation. We all have something to learn from people with different cultures and alternative viewpoints. Inclusiveness leads to more ideas and initiatives across a wider audience and is beneficial to both the workplace and the community. In this regard, the region still has some way to go, which is why we are shining a light on projects which teach tolerance and open-mindedness.

Convergys’ 15 ‘Lean In Circles’ initiative encourage discussion on topics like equal pay, job opportunities, increasing the balance of women in leadership, the importance of wellbeing, and the importance of mentoring.
Deaf Respect from Poland is a research and marketing agency which educates businesses about deaf people and bridge the gap between businesses and the deaf community.
The Center of New Ideas 404 Belarusy video project raises awareness about people with disabilities, LGBT people, ex-convicts, refugees, and victims of army hazing in Belarusian society to stop the mistreatment and discrimination of these groups.
The IBA Institute project ‘Personal and Professional Empowerment of Disabled People’ in Belarus aims to integrate people with disabilities into the labour market with IT education and empowerment through training and support in employment.
Jamba, the Bulgarian online platform and consultancy service, provides a platform for preliminary training and job placement for people with disabilities in Bulgaria and abroad to help them gain skills and connect with future employers.
Ljubljana has developed an LGBT-friendly certificate that is awarded to all public and private organisations which educate their co-workers about equality and inclusivity of the LGBT community.
Business Class Academy from Poland is an intersectional education project created to upskill local communities’ business leaders, empowering people from economically disadvantaged environments by providing workshops and workplaces.
Pension.Sky. Fly from Belarus provides different educational courses and travel projects to encourage the older generation of Belarus to travel and see the world, thereby broadening their horizons.
‘We, Poznan 36,6’ is a campaign started in Poznan aiming to combat discrimination and promote respect rather than judging others based on stereotypes and superficial opinions. 36,6 is the body’s temperature - a common denominator for all people everywhere.
The Men Care initiative from Georgia aims to break the stereotype that family, its health and well being is a woman's responsibility and to raise awareness about the importance of fatherhood and male involvement in family life.

Tourism Campaign of the Year

The emerging Europe region has a culture that is rich and diverse, with a history no less exciting — you could travel for years without seeing even a fraction of what there is to be seen. In such a competitive climate, tourism campaigns have to stand out and grab one’s attention. They have to break out of the shadow created by top European destinations such as Paris and Rome. The emerging Europe region offers attractions off the beaten track – there’s a lot to discover that’s unconventional and unique. We’re looking for campaigns that capture this spirit, and that get the message out in many languages and through different platforms.

In 2017, Bratislava’s tourism campaign ‘Bratislava Personalities’ reached almost 5 million Facebook users, increased the city’s website pageviews from key target markets by more than 110% and achieved a record-breaking 350% pageview increase from Czech Republic.
“Insider’s Guide to Riga” campaign videos show the diversity of Riga from the point of view of eight different locals. The videos reached almost 10 million views and have won prizes in four tourism film festivals.
The Ljubljana Tourism campaign last year to honour the 60th anniversary of the great Slovenian architect Jože Plecnik's passing raised the number of visitors on guided tours of Plecnik's Ljubljana by 120% in comparison to 2016.
In 2017, tourism in Slovenia achieved record-breaking results, which increased the value of travel export by more than 9%, and saw an increase in tourist arrivals of 16.7%, which was above the European average.
Together with Lonely Planet, Tallinn’s City Enterprise Department launched a tourism campaign that reached 3.5 million users and beat all the set benchmarks. Lonely Planet stated that it was one of the most successful ‘Best In Travel’ campaigns they had run in 2017.
The Visit Sarajevo tourism campaign increased the number of tourists from all over the world to Bosnia's and Herzegovina's capital by more than 150% in one year and raised the number of overnight stays by more than 90%.
Visit Tirana encourages young photographers, both amateurs and professional, to take pictures of Tirana in different seasons and post them on their social media profiles with hashtags. In 2017, more than 900 picture where posted with the hashtag #TiranaAutumn2017.
The Polish city of Wrocław won the title of ‘European Best Destination 2018’ with 41 thousand votes by people from 146 countries, beating the likes of Bilbao, Milan and Lisbon. is an online tourism magazine that provides 24/7 assistance from travel specialists, online hotel booking, trip arrangements and recommendations on where to stay, what to eat, drink and buy in Georgia based on accurate and reliable travel information.
Armenia's capital city Yerevan this year celebrates its 2800th anniversary during the week-long "Erebuni-Yerevan” festival where citizens of Yerevan will showcase their history, culture and hospitality.

Young Empowerment Initiative of the Year

The emerging Europe region’s richest resource is its young people. Well-educated and with a wealth of knowledge they are eager to share, and you would be hard-pressed to find any other area on the globe where the upcoming generations are so talented, motivated, creative and ambitious. They are hungry for the ability to compete with global markets but sometimes they need support, and this category recognises initiatives which help to give youth a voice and a platform from which they can be seen and heard. We’re looking for initiatives that help shape the leaders, creators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

"Building Ukraine together" is an all-Ukrainian volunteer service camp that aims to unite Ukrainian youth into a network of volunteers through mutual work on the restoration of homes for families in crisis as a result of the war.
Bulgaria’s ‘The Big Adventure IT’S UP TO ME’ initiative, organized by Teach for Bulgaria, gives students from low socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to start local initiatives in their classroom by working with schools and communities with low socioeconomic status and low performance on the state exams.
Romanian ‘LEADERS Explore High Schoolers’ programme took place in 10 cities across Romania over 9 months and consisted of four training sessions in each city that taught a total of 250 high schoolers soft skills such as personal values and communication styles.
mYouth project from Macedonia provides and develops innovative actions that enable young individuals to gain mobile application skills that solve local youth issues by providing decent employment opportunities for them. The second edition of this project started in late 2017 named as mYouth 2.0 and it will last until 2019.
Georgia’s ‘Peer Education for Democracy Building’ was set up to raise levels of active citizenship. Eight local initiatives were implemented all over the Georgia and 2,000 young people were trained in civic education.
By expanding high-quality work-based learning in Croatia, the initiative helps young people overcome barriers and increases their opportunities in society. 140 private sector companies have joined, offering more than 620 internships in collaboration with 40 academic institutions across the country.
Poland’s Social Wolves is an educational platform that drives young people to implement their own social-action projects. In the last 12 months, the number of participating teams has grown from 1,400 to 2,700.
Teach For Armenia is a social impact organization focused on addressing educational inequality in Armenia by organizing passionate people to spend two years teaching in rural communities throughout the country and strengthening a growing advocacy movement aimed at improving Armenia.
Latvia’s #YouthEmpowered initiative helps young people to realize their potential and develop stronger business and life skills so they can meet labour market requirements, through interactive workshops and social media communication.
Latvian youth initiative Young Media House encourages youth to share their passion, knowledge and opportunities with peers by organising events and creating media content with the help of professional mentors. The team has organised more than 20 events with over 100 attendees since the start of the program.

National Investment Promotion Agency of the Year

It’s the all-important job of the IPAs to help attract investors to their respective countries and to make sure that these investors get all the knowledge and information they need to make an informed decision. In essence, they must be a welcoming and resourceful one-stop-shop.

Emerging Europe specialists are undertaking a comprehensive analysis of each of the IPAs, assess- ing their communications channels to see how they present their country to international investors, analysing enquiries made to the individual IPAs, and garnering feedback from recent investors. From this study, a full report will be published which will present the strengths and weaknesses of these crucial agencies across the region.

AIK, Croatia
AIDA, Albania
AZPROMO, Azerbaijan
Business Armenia (Development Foundation of Armenia)
EAS, Estonia
FIPA, Bosnia Herzegovina
HIPA, Hungary
Invest Bulgaria
Invest in Georgia
Invest Lithuania
Invest Macedonia
Invest Romania
Invest Slovenia
KIESA, Kosovo
LIAA, Latvia
MIEPO, Moldova
MIPA, Montenegro
NAIP, Belarus
PAIH, Poland
RAS, Serbia
SARIO, Slovakia
Ukraine Invest