Domestic companies are adapting to the new demand that arose in connection with the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts. They are introducing new technologies into practice in record time and adapting their capacities and production to new products and specific requirements. They frequently do so in the face of the risks associated with the introduction of new products to the market and the necessary certification of products, which makes it possible to sell products at home and abroad. CzechInvest is striving to help them during this difficult time.
“We have lived through and are actually still living through a situation with which none of us has experience. Although it is sometimes complicated and chaotic, we are learning new things. All of us. In relation to the introduction of products, we can help companies connect with each other and with other institutions, as well as with, for example, mandatory certification and resolving other difficulties that may arise when introducing products to the market,” says Patrik Reichl, CEO of CzechInvest.
In particular, certification, which confirms the required parameters and properties of the given product and its absolute safety, usually takes several months. The product has to undergo a number of tests, especially in the case of health protection. People who have experience with complex certification processes and legislative requirements comprise an advantage. One of them is, for example, Associate Professor Karel Volenec, who successfully operates on the global medical-product market with the company Ella-CS.
With the assistance of CzechInvest, Charles University, domestic partners and other specialists, he managed to initiate the development and certification of a swab that is used for taking samples in testing for coronavirus infection. Hospitals are currently reporting a shortage of swabs and, according to initial statements of physicians, the quality of the Czech product exceeds both the quality and the comfort of swabs that are currently being imported from, for example, China and Italy. “A swab is a seemingly simple thing, but it has to fulfil a lot of functions. In addition to absolute medical safety, it must be designed in such a way that enables accurate testing. From a practical perspective, we are thus dealing with, for example, its flexibility and the material with which it is finished. A lot of people sent their ideas directly to hospitals, which was admirable, though unfortunately they could not guarantee the accuracy of the result even in a single case,” Volenec explains.
A suitable manufacturer was quickly found for the prototype, namely the company ISOLIT Bravo of Jablonné nad Orlicí, which is currently investing approximately CZK 2 million of its own funds in production. The company is able to adjust its production rate to fifty thousand swabs per week and thus supply most Czech hospitals. The product is currently undergoing final certification tests.
Another example of successful cooperation between CzechInvest’s clients is the connection of the small textile company AZPO Group with the company Adient, a manufacturer of vehicle interiors based in north Bohemia. Adient offset the lack of work orders for foreign workers at AZPO Group’s sewing machines Česká Kamenice. During the period of the coronavirus crisis, the company focused on sewing face masks and thus offered employment to two hundred Adient employees.
The sportswear and parachute company Sky Paragliders focused on production of anti-bacterial masks. It established cooperation with Grade Medical, which is well known on the market for its StopBack textile applications for healthcare. Through CzechInvest, these two Czech small enterprises provided each other with the capacity of a sewing workshop and high-quality antibacterial material. And more Czech masks were thus manufactured to meet the needs of those who did not suspend their activities even during the state of emergency.
For a change, the Czech company Robot Protect supplied goods to healthcare workers. Robot Protect specialises in the production of protective covers for robots, machines and automation equipment. In the second half of April, the company transitioned to production of protective clothing and covers for people. It then delivered hundreds of protective garments to, for example, the Mountain Rescue Service of the Czech Republic. DVL Import shipped more than one hundred protective overalls and three hundred disposable gloves to Krajské zdravotní in Ústí nad Labem during the pandemic.
In the second half of April, CzechInvest also published a list of Czech protective-equipment manufacturers that are helping in the fight against the coronavirus and have the necessary certificates. Due to unprecedented interest and the changing situation, the agency decided in May to share the list online, including the contact information of individual companies, and to continuously update it on the website of the Czech Network platform.
CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of comprehensive support for business and investments. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of its services and its ability to connect global trends with the regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s primary objectives is the transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The agency was established in 1992.