Through The Eyes Of An Expatriate : Insights on Doing Business In Czech Republic

The growing potential of its entrepreneurial ecosystem and the lifestyle it offers make its successful. In Prague, the Czech Republic capital, on an innovative market, Vincent Charollais joined the expatriate community and launched his Telecom company, CEO at DH Telecom a.s., in 2011. He presents with enthusiasm his experience in this city that seduced him.

In the beginning, Vincent left Paris for Bratislava when he was a consultant for an engineering company. This project was supposed to last only 2 years, but Vincent had no intention to come back, so he launched a printing company in Bratislava. There, he met with investors specialized in telecommunications. Getting to know one of their projects – a contract phone offer destined to foreigners in Czech Republic – he helped by looking for leads in Asia and by composing the business plan. During the two following years, he was promoted to General Director for OpenCall and then for DH Telecom A.S, which acquired OpenCall.

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Prague is reputed for its lifestyle quality : the population is young and dynamic, you can meet benevolent people and the atmosphere is festive in bars and the streets. You also feel safe in the city, which is a contrast with some other European capitals. The cost of living as well as the recent economic recovery are probably one of the reasons for that feeling.

The environment is fit for entrepreneurship, and the obstacles are rather rare. The language issue can turn out to be an asset for expatriates. Indeed, the discussions are, in majority, made in English regarding business. Furthermore, the population has a fairly good working knowledge in English. Numerous international leaders (from multinationals) are foreigners and thus, being an expatriate can give you a better credibility. English is also an asset to create a business network, which is essential in Czech Republic for any fund raising. Indeed, investors rely on trust and the best way to meet is to be introduced by someone in their network.

However, in this prolific ecosystem, the difficulty is not inexistent. If a project does not go through, it is probably because of an inadequate market study. Let’s take the example of the Telecom market: among the 100s Czech virtual mobile operators which seized the opportunity of the market’s opening to MVNOs, 90% failed. They knew it was a tremendous opportunity but their strategy and their marketing studies were neglected.

Moreover, some sectors have to deal with a high employment offer rate (unemployment rate is only about 6,4% in Czech Republic and even lower in Prague). The result is a lack of loyalty from the qualified and educated workforce – so a high turnover – and a long recruitment process.

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To put it in a nutshell, by choosing Prague, you choose a hard working community but also a laid back athmospere to leave in : Work hard & play hard!

  Connect With Vincent!

 

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