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The 8th Grow East Congress, held April 4, 2017, gives a forum to policy makers, entrepreneurs and executives active in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The Congress offers you the possibility to meet influential people who have been shaping the economies of CEE and learn about their views of the region for the years to come: What are the lessons from nearly 30 years of opening up of CEE? How will the region develop in the next years?

The keynote speakers addressing this topics are:

  • Ivan Miklos, the Slovak finance minister, who introduced the flat tax
  • Günter Thumser who runs as President of Henkel CEE the business in 31 countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe and Central Asia
  • Clemens Först who has been driving the modernization of the industry as CEO of the Rail Cargo Group.

In the afternoon we throw the spotlight on the innovation scene in CEE. Prof. Arnold Schuh, Director of the Competence Center for Emerging Markets & CEE of WU Vienna, opens the discussion with latest research on the innovation performance of CEE countries and firms. In the following panel sessions on “CEE – Surprisingly innovative: Business ideas that move markets and industries”, CEE entrepreneurs and executives of multinational firms present and discuss their market moving business ideas and sources of success. Often overlooked, the CEE markets are places with a lot of talents and innovative ideas. The Bulgarian firm Walltopia is the global market leader in artificial climbing walls and full of ideas on how to expand this niche further. Slovakian Jomido has successfully established itself as a platform for micro-jobs, bringing together CEE creativity and Western customers. Digitalization as a change factor in business markets and retailing is discussed by Martin Engelmann, CEO of the drugstore chain dm Drogeriemarkt CEE, Jacob Maly, head of the Czech market researcher IPSOS, Andreas Philippitsch, Amrop Jenewein, and Martina Steinberger-Voracek of Henkel CEE.

In a parallel track, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), is running country-related sessions with practical tips for firms interested in exporting to CEE countries. WKO experts share their rich country and internationalization expertise with the participants. Entrepreneurs interested in entering CEE will get compact information on how to enter the countries of Central and Southeastern Europe in the workshops.

The target group of the Congress are entrepreneurs, executives, marketing and sales executives, export and country managers of national and international companies, “early exporters” as well as consultants with focus on Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, academics and business students with interest in CEE management and business.

The GROW EAST CONGRESS is a joint project NEUSICHT Think Tank, Competence Center for Emerging Markets & CEE at WU Vienna and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO).

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