The District Chamber of Commerce (OHK) has been a partner for successful business in the Prostejov region for three decades. Its goal is to support business development and defend the interests of its members. In an interview with the long-term director of the mentioned company, Helena Chalánková (on picture) on this occasion, we discussed not only the various activities of the OHK, but also the problems that are currently faced not only by regional entrepreneurs.
* OHK, among other things, provides expert advice in all areas of business. What do companies and entrepreneurs contact you with most often?
“These are start-up entrepreneurs and companies looking for subsidies for their development. For those starting out, we give advice on starting their business plan, and we also look for possible subsidies or foundation contributions for them. For companies, as well as for start-ups, we are looking for an appropriate grant name that relates to their development and planned investments. Currently, these are subsidies related to the reduction of energy needs in companies, for the acquisition of new technologies, for renewable sources, for education and the like.”
* Among other things, you organize various events. The most famous of them is the Labor and Education Exchange. What else?
“The Labor and Education Fair is our biggest event in close cooperation with the Prostějov Labor Office, which we organize every year for companies, and not just for them. It is actually a fair of mainly regional companies that present their product range, services provided and offer vacancies. Last year, almost two and a half thousand visitors participated. The largest number was represented by primary and secondary school students. Other events that we regularly organize are, for example, meetings of businessmen and managers with representatives of the city, meetings of HR experts in the region, we regularly organize trainings, seminars, workshops and discussions on current topics. There are a lot of activities, some are regular, others are one-off based on urgency and need.”
* What do these events bring to companies?
“First of all, their presentation, connection of contacts, exchange of information and experiences, acquisition of further education, new employees and much more.”
* What do you think are the main problems that companies in the region are currently facing the most?
“So at the moment there is certainly a huge increase in energy prices, pressure to increase wages and a constant shortage of both skilled and unskilled labour. Prostějovsk is still one of the regions with very low unemployment, which is good on the one hand, but not so good from the point of view of companies, because it is very difficult for them to find free labor.”
* How do you think the situation will develop in this regard? Will the collapse of some companies in our country and subsequent layoffs change the situation or will there be a greater import of foreign workers?
“It is a very difficult question, to which I do not have a clear answer. It is logical that, paradoxically, the ‘collapse’ of some companies would fill a hole in the labor market, but I would not talk much about that, because nobody wants companies in our country to fail, neither big nor small. . And at the moment I have no news that this situation should happen in the near future, at least in our region. As for foreign workers, they usually do work that our people do not want. That is why we are happy with the MPO program of qualified workers, which provides direct support to employers who need to bring foreign workers to the Czech Republic.
* Prostějovsk is currently, among other things, largely linked to the automotive industry. How do you see the future of this industry, especially in the Prostejov region?
“I’m not a fortune teller and I don’t have a crystal ball. (a smile) But probably most of us are following the pressure of the European Commission to ban the production of cars with internal combustion engines and the transition to electromobility, the growing concern about the upcoming Euro 7/VII standard, and the associated necessary transitions to completely new production technology in companies or the need for a completely different jobs. I cannot say how the whole situation will develop, in which direction it will go and what impact it will have on our region. But I believe that companies are adaptable and will try to adapt to the given situation.”
* How will the services provided by OHK change in the future?
“Our OHK will always support business development in the region and adapt its services to this main goal. In this context, I would like to remind you of our public services related to CzechPoint and Data Box that we offer to everyone, not just companies. We also provide exporters with a special service – we confirm them with certificates of origin and issue ATA carnets. You can find a list of all our activities and services at www.ohkpv.cz.”