What are the goals of our investment team? From focusing on feasibility studies to connecting with companies in northern Europe11. 1. 2022
At MSID we interviewed our investment manager Patrik Hronek who told us what investment activities are planned in the region for 2022 as well as what trends and topics in the field of investment are currently discussed the most. Together we also looked back at the significant steps that were taken to support the investment environment in the Moravian-Silesian Region in 2021.
Today it is more than clear that the COVID pandemic has affected (often rather negatively) the investment climate in the world as well as in the Czech Republic. However, we want to know whether you see any positive outcomes regarding the pandemic and whether it has, for instance, "opened up" new investment opportunities in the region?
Certainly, the pandemic has significantly intervened - and still does - in the investment climate. In the areas which we focus on there is a clear impact on the office space market. The companies which were forced to quickly set up an option for employees to work from home due the pandemic have certainly already thought about what model is suitable for the future.
The hybrid model of working, such that is most likely to be the future model of working, will lead to lower the need for office space. On the other hand, the pandemic has also led companies to change their way of recruitment as they have found out that they can recruit people from anywhere.
A certain shift in digitization and automation can be seen in other sectors and partly in the state administration. These opportunities are mainly used by the local start-ups.
On the other hand, the pandemic did not have a major impact on industrial zones and logistics centres. The MS region has long held the leading positions in the country in the number of square metres of realized projects. Projects such as Contera Park Ostrava D1 or P3 Ostrava Central have the potential to bring more important brands like Sportisimo to this region.
Despite the specifics of 2021, number of events and projects were realized in the Moravian-Silesian Region in cooperation with MSID to support the investment environment here. Which of these are the most important that you would like to mention?
We have been striving to develop and raise the profile of the local investment environment for a long time. One of the most significant events was the Invest MORE conference which took place last year and was focused on sustainable growth, specifically on social responsibility and circular economy.
Last year, we also recorded remarkable interest in commercial real estate, so we prepared about 50 tailor-made offers for local and foreign companies.
As a part of our project Business Services in Ostrava, we actively address potential investors from the Northern European countries. At the very least, we are making Ostrava and its region known more widely. Our long-term cooperation with Positiv magazine is in a similar spirit. In the magazine we gradually introduce investors from selected countries as well as the most important sectors of the region.
Many activities in 2021 were also focused on the area of brownfields. In addition to traditional brownfield conferences, trips and thematic workshops, we actively helped municipalities with several projects, whether it was the preparation of grant applications or opportunity studies.
What activities the investment department of MSID plans for 2022?
We will continue with all the above mentioned projects, and perhaps a more favourable pandemic situation will allow us to return to some of the activities that we have not been able to carry out in the last two years. This applies, in particular, to the promotion of the region at the international fairs MIPIM in Cannes and Expo Real in Munich, or the promotion of our region and local companies at the International Engineering Fair in Brno.
In addition, we will focus our energy on large feasibility studies. These include different topics, such as: the realization of projects of TPA (Technological Business Academy) and DIMLab (Digital, Innovation and Media Laboratory) of the Silesian University in the area of the former coal sorting plant in Dolní Vítkovice in Ostrava (DOV), use of a specific site in Karviná for light industry as well as waste management or transformation of selected brownfields in Osoblažsko.
You are working on the project of Business Services in Ostrava which focuses on Finland and Sweden. How did the project progress in these two countries in 2021 and what other countries will you target in 2022?
As I have already mentioned, in the initial phase we are trying to make Ostrava more widely known. In most cases the vast majority of potential investors in the field of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) or ICT (Information and communications technology) consider for their investment projects only Prague.
Although the region and MSID are not well known, we try to address selected companies directly. In order to accomplish this, we have licensed an artificial intelligence tool that helps us identify growing companies from selected sectors in the northern region of Europe.
And surprisingly, some companies react positively – we were able to present several settlement options in Ostrava, some of which we connected to local business partners or companies where they could realize their pilot project for the Czech market.
For the year 2022, we plan to finish our projects in Sweden and create new connections with companies from Norway and Denmark.
MSID is starting to work actively on the LIFE COALA project which primarily focuses on the adaptation and adoption of a wide range of measures in the Moravian-Silesian Region in response to the climate and environmental changes. In your opinion, what are the new sustainable development trends? And which of these do you see as potential?
I consider climate change to be a fact. Environmental quality, especially air quality, is still a big topic in our region. I see the greatest potential in two areas – in our own ability to start a change as well as in technologies. Recently, the circular economy has resonated a lot as a topic. It is not at all out of place for companies to think about whether any waste should be generated and, if it does, how to reuse it.
Is the topic of sustainable development, CSR companies, circular economy becoming a common and frequent topic, or should more attention be paid to this area?
Our conference has shown that there are a lot of great initiatives. However, neither social responsibility nor elements of the circular economy are standard for the companies. It's still considered to be only an addition.
The situation on the labour market forces the company to redefine the benefits and the image of the company as such so that they are sufficiently attractive for applicants. That is why I think that more and more companies will be active in the field of social responsibility.
Unfortunately, the circular economy is still in its infancy and long-term education will still be needed.