Creation of a high-quality environment for the development of start-up firms in the Czech Republic is the objective of a new initiative being implemented by CzechInvest with assistance from the Czech ICT Alliance. The initiative is related to the agency’s existing support for start-ups. Representatives of the government and other interested partners who are part of the current Czech start-up environment met on Thursday, 26 March 2015, to discuss this issue.
“Our ambition is to become the coordinator of activities supporting the Czech start-up scene,” says Karel Kučera, CEO of CzechInvest. “We want to offer, in one place, everything that can help start-up companies in their activities – information, contacts, consulting from more experienced entrepreneurs and options for financing. Therefore, we want to arrange and coordinate cooperation with both private and public and state organisations focused on supporting start-ups. The goal is for support to be more systematic and for programmes to be interconnected.”
“Properly targeted support for start-up firms is one of our priorities. We are cooperating closely with CzechInvest and, following the example of similar initiatives in Israel and Great Britain, we are preparing a new fund for capital co-investments in start-ups and growing firms,” says Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek.
“We are consulting the concept with representative of the entire start-up and investment environment, and we expect that the new fund will be created next year,” specifies Petr Očko, director of the Financial Tool and Project Management Support Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The meeting at CzechInvest on Thursday was attended by Chris Burry, COO of the US Market Access Centre, an American business incubator. “This initiative of CzechInvest, the Czech ICT Alliance and other participating parties is definitely a step in the right directions,” says Chris Burry. “However, it will be necessary for the introduction of sensible programmes of the emerging national start-up strategy to really contribute to the development of new, innovative firms and to prevent needless bureaucracy, which can be seen in other countries in the region.”
During his visit to the Czech Republic, Chris Burry is taking part in a tour of the so-called “Silicon Valley in Prague”, during which he is visiting local universities and secondary schools and meeting with representatives of firms and public institutions. On Thursday at the Štěpánská Academic Grammar School, he also launched a programme for local students aimed at support for business and IT, which is being organised Prague City Hall in cooperation with the Czech ICT Alliance.
In addition to IBM and the Rockaway investment group, which are already supporting the new initiative, CzechInvest intends to invite other partners to participate so that Czech start-ups receive truly broad support across the public and private sectors.