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Emerging Europe Talks

Emerging Europe Talks

By Emerging Europe

Emerging Europe Talks is a series of discussions offering insight and intelligence designed to help entrepreneurs, investors, governments and all knowledge-seekers navigate emerging Europe. The talks focus on innovation and technology, sustainable social and economic growth, and help the right people identify the right opportunities and trends.

The series is delivered by Emerging Europe, a London-based growth hub whose mission is to foster the social, economic and democratic development of 23 countries in Central, Eastern, South-East and North-East Europe, and hosted by Andrew Wrobel.

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#67 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — The future of education with SET University's Iryna Volnystka

Emerging Europe TalksMay 22, 2023

#67 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — The future of education with SET University's Iryna Volnystka

#67 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — The future of education with SET University's Iryna Volnystka

#67 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — The Future of Education with SET University's Iryna Volnystka

May 22, 202327:59
#66 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — CEE family businesses with PwC’s Piotr Michalczyk 

#66 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — CEE family businesses with PwC’s Piotr Michalczyk 

Family businesses are at the very heart of emerging Europe’s economies. Set up within the last three-four decades, they now contribute meaningfully to the region’s economic growth, development, and employment — accounting for 40–50 per cent of all jobs in the private sector. 

Despite the current challenging economic conditions, family businesses in the region have seen strong performance over the last financial year, with 83 per cent experiencing growth and only five per cent seeing a reduction in sales. That is more positive than the global picture – across the world, 71 per cent of family businesses grew while eight per cent saw a reduction. 

Piotr Michalczyk, Poland-based partner at PwC leading the private business practice in Central and Eastern Europe, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about why family businesses in the region are doing better and are more optimistic about the future, as seen in the Family Business Survey, PwC’s global market survey among key decision makers in family businesses. 

They also talk about how these companies perceive innovation and digitalisation and how they are embracing sustainability and environmental, social, governance (ESG) and how aware they are of the importance of proper succession planning. 

May 09, 202322:14
#65 #EETalks Sustainable Impact—Making the most of waste with Releaf’s Alexander Sobolenko

#65 #EETalks Sustainable Impact—Making the most of waste with Releaf’s Alexander Sobolenko

Calculations made recently by University of Copenhagen professor Per Gundersen suggest that some 600,000 tons of CO2 could be stored per annum if all Danes simply allowed yard waste to decompose in their gardens instead of burning it.

Releaf Paper, however, a greentech start-up founded in 2021 by two Ukrainian innovators, has a different idea about how to use that waste. Their technology, developed by biotechnologist Valentin Frechka (currently 21 years old), allows the processing of fallen leaves and other green waste into cellulose, which is the basis for creating paper and some types of packaging. 

This material is a direct replacement for primary cellulose obtained from wood. That leaf paper is fully recyclable and has a biodegradation period of only 60 days. As the solution uses raw materials it helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 78 per cent. It also contributes to forest conservation.

Alexander Sobolenko, chairman and general manager at Releaf Paper, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the solution and about how low awareness of alternative sources of paper is among potential business partners. Many are interested in sustainable solutions but find it hard to understand the concept.

They also talk about how other start-ups and small companies can understand their carbon footprint and what they can do to make an impact.

Apr 25, 202324:55
#64 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Measuring carbon footprint with ISFC’s Linda Zeilina

#64 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Measuring carbon footprint with ISFC’s Linda Zeilina

Apr 11, 202326:56
#63 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Digital perseverance with Microsoft’s Kostas Loukas

#63 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Digital perseverance with Microsoft’s Kostas Loukas

Business leaders across the emerging Europe region are grappling with significant economic headwinds and are carefully weighing decisions around strategy and investment. They are looking for ways to reduce operational expenditure, increase productivity and ensure rapid return on capital investments. Efficiency and business resilience have become their top priorities. 

Digitisation helps make businesses stronger, more agile and better positioned to weather unprecedented challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of the war in Ukraine, or disruptions related to climate change. It also makes companies more secure.  

For businesses looking to increase their security, the best thing they can do is be part of an infrastructure that is equipped to pick up and understand the signals, and ultimately prevent attacks even before they happen. By moving to the cloud, companies can leverage this strength and protect their critical infrastructure. 

Kostas Loukas, General Manager Enterprise at Microsoft CEE, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about digital perseverance — an organisation’s ability to thrive despite risk provided they harness and wield digital technology to achieve their business goals and do more with less 

They also discuss the areas where that digital perseverance can be built and strengthened — employee productivity, business continuity and supply chain.  

Mar 28, 202318:43
#62 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Business confidence with PwC CEE’s Adam Krasoń

#62 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Business confidence with PwC CEE’s Adam Krasoń

Three out of four CEOs in the CEE region project that global economic growth will slow over the next 12 months. These expectations represent a sharp reversal from 2022 when two out of three CEOs foresaw an improvement, according to PwC’s Annual CEO Survey.

Despite their gloom about macro conditions, CEOs in the region are nevertheless quite confident when it comes to things they can directly control: they are more bullish than the global average on their own company’s revenue growth prospects over the next 12 months, with 46 per cent saying they’re “extremely confident”.

Russia’s war on Ukraine and growing concern about geopolitical instability have caused CEOs to rethink aspects of their business models and the way they perceive risk. While in comparison to the 2022 findings, cyber risks have slipped down the list of regional and global business leaders’ threat priorities (20 per cent said this is the top threat), the picture changes for their five-year outlook. Over that timeframe, cyber risks join inflation, macroeconomic volatility, and geopolitical conflict in the top tier of risk exposure.

Adam Krasoń, CEO of PwC in Central and Eastern Europe, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about where emerging Europe’s CEOs are looking for growth opportunities, how they are responding to short- and long-term threats, and about the region’s sustainable growth.

They also talk about the role of digital transformation in the region’s future as 45 per cent of all CEOs taking part in the survey don’t think their companies will be economically viable if they continue on their current path.

Adam Krasoń will be hosting a live PwC CEE webcast on Friday, March 17, at 10:30. The webcast will present results from the CEO Survey and a panel discussion moderated by Kasia Madera, BBC World, will look at the role of CEE executives in addressing the tough challenges faced by our societies. Register here.

Mar 14, 202329:53
#61 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Mergers and acquisitions with CMS’ Horea Popescu

#61 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Mergers and acquisitions with CMS’ Horea Popescu

Over the last year, businesses have had to navigate the choppy waters of inflation, growing uncertainty, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Yet in 2022, the emerging Europe region’s merger and acquisition (M&A) market proved to be extremely resilient — M&A activity maintained a steady pace, though deal values were notably lower than previous years.

According to the Emerging Europe M&A Report 2022/2023, by CMS, a law firm with 16 offices across the region, in 2022, there were 1,229 transactions, 5.6 per cent more than in 2021. The deal value, however, dropped by 20.3 per cent and amounted to 32.9 billion euros.

Horea Popescu, managing partner at CMS Romania, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the impact of the geopolitical and macroeconomic circumstances on investment in the region.

They discuss which sectors contributed to overall M&A activity in the region and are expected to attract more investment going forward. They also talked about future trends and the role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) on the M&A market.

Feb 28, 202326:11
#60 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Governance with EIM's Bohuslav Lipovsky
Feb 14, 202323:18
#59 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Industry resilience with IT Ukraine’s Konstantin Vasyuk
Jan 10, 202333:32
#58 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — LGBTIQ+ Inclusion with Simona Muršec

#58 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — LGBTIQ+ Inclusion with Simona Muršec

After two referenda failed to secure LGBTIQ+ rights in Slovenia, in July 2022, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that a ban on same-sex couples marrying and adopting was unconstitutional. In October, the country’s parliament passed an amendment allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt, making Slovenia the first post-communist country to legalise both same-sex marriage and adoption.

Simona Muršec, the president of the Ljubljana Pride Association, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about victories and defeats in the fight for equal rights for all couples in Slovenia, and about how the country’s cultural and societal specifics have played a part in the process.

They also talk about the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. According to McKinsey, in the US, three in 20 LGBTIQ+ women and six in 20 men believe their sexual orientation will negatively affect their career advancement at work.

Muršec also emphasises the different approach to LGBTIQ+ issues of the younger generation, and the fact that there are still companies throughout the emerging Europe region that can afford to ignore diversity and inclusion.

Dec 13, 202238:50
#57 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — A Virtual World and the Metaverse with Stephen Loynd
Nov 29, 202225:46
#56 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Impact Sourcing with Traci Freeman
Nov 15, 202229:34
#55 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Net Zero Start-ups with PwC's José Miguel Salazar Hernández

#55 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Net Zero Start-ups with PwC's José Miguel Salazar Hernández

Together, 27 countries of Central and Eastern Europe contribute to approximately 3.73 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but the region’s share of global climate tech investment is only 0.79 per cent of the total, according to the CEE edition of PwC’s Net Zero Future50 report.

Climate tech investments in the region have risen from 10.6 million US dollars in 2013 to over 502 million US dollars in the first half of 2021 alone, but there is clearly room for more, not only investment but also sector and geographic diversity. Transport and mobility account for 59.8 per cent of that investment, and 74.8 per cent of start-ups are based in Estonia and Lithuania. The report also presents interesting insights into the most underfunded areas. Most notably, between 2013 and the first half of 2021, CEE start-ups in the food, agriculture and land use sector attracted just 2.26 per cent of total funding, and those in the energy sector a mere 1.29 per cent. Although Poland has the largest economy in the region, and it serves as a strategic hub for some industries, start-ups in Poland only raised 4.65 per cent of total CEE climate tech funding.

José Miguel Salazar Hernández, ESG Hub Manager at PwC CEE, speaks with Andrew Wrobel, about the report’s key findings, the impact start-ups make on the environment, the most active investment hubs and some of the solutions the top 50 start-ups offer.

They also discuss why each and every start-up should understand their own carbon footprint and consider implementing early-on impact assessment methodologies to support their value proposition.

Nov 01, 202224:28
#54 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Media for Growth with Diana Florescu
Oct 18, 202228:10
#53 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Sustainable Real Estate with JLL’s Steffen Walvius

#53 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Sustainable Real Estate with JLL’s Steffen Walvius

The built environment accounts for 39 per cent of annual carbon emissions worldwide. In order to reach net zero, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that direct building CO2 emissions need to fall 50 per cent by 2030.

There are a lot of incentives aimed at making the real estate market more sustainable. Decreasing buildings’ carbon footprint is maybe the way to start. This must be addressed both in terms of embodied carbon and operational carbon.

While the first refers to greenhouse gas emissions arising from the manufacturing and transportation of building materials, the latter refers to greenhouse gas emissions due to building energy consumption. This needs to be taken into consideration in building construction, even considering what are the right materials to use in each situation.

Steffen Walvius, head of sustainability services for Central and Eastern Europe at JLL, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about how much time and effort it will take to decarbonise the built environment globally and what specifically needs to be done to address the issue.

They also speak about environmental, social, governance (ESG) and sustainability in the emerging Europe region.

Oct 04, 202227:30
#52 #EETalks Success and Failure — Lawyering up with LegalAid’s Sona Salimli Alasgarova

#52 #EETalks Success and Failure — Lawyering up with LegalAid’s Sona Salimli Alasgarova

Emerging Europe Talks Success and Failure — Lawyering up with LegalAid’s Sona Salimli Alasgarova

The Covid-19 pandemic made it more difficult to seek justice in courts globally. According to the World Justice Project, 67 per cent of countries covered by the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index experienced declines in indicators that evaluate equal treatment and absence of discrimination.

At the same time as many as 94 per cent of countries in the index registered increased delays in administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings. In nearly two-thirds of countries, civil justice systems saw increased delays.

LegalAid is the first legal tech company in Azerbaijan. Coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic, the law firm, together with the Bar Association of Azerbaijan, created a mobile application making it easier for citizens to communicate with the country's attorneys.

Sona Salimli Alasgarova, the founder and managing director at LegalAid, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about disrupting the Azerbaijani legal sector, serving those who need legal advice, and setting up a new law firm in her mid-twenties.

She also talks about how she wants to help other female entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan start their own businesses.

Sep 20, 202215:53
#51 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Blue Economy with Andrius Sutnikas

#51 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Blue Economy with Andrius Sutnikas

Oceans and seas cover almost three quarters of the earth surface. They absorb almost all of the earth’s excess heat and store some 93 per cent of all CO2.

Now, oceans, from where life itself arose, are dying. It is estimated that over 150 million tons of plastic is already floating in the seas and oceans. The great Pacific garbage patch, 46 per cent of which is fishing nets, covers 1.6 million square kilometres. As far as commercial fishing is concerned, some 2.7 trillion fish are caught every year, even in marine protected areas.

And there is an increase in chemical nutrients in the water, leading to excessive blooms of algae that deplete underwater oxygen levels, resulting in the development of so called dead zones. Such zones in the Baltic Sea have increased more than tenfold over the last century and the Baltic Sea now has the largest dead zone in the world.

Andrius Sutnikas, coordinator of the Lithuanian Maritime Cluster at the Klaipėda Science and Technology Park, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the challenges the blue economy currently faces, and some innovative solutions bringing more sustainable development to the maritime industry and offsetting climate change.

Sep 06, 202229:25
#50 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — It’s now or never with WWF’s Andreas Beckmann

#50 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — It’s now or never with WWF’s Andreas Beckmann

Throughout this summer, especially in July, persistent heat waves have affected significant parts of Europe, causing wildfires, droughts, evacuations and heat-related deaths. While the highest temperature across the emerging Europe region was recorded in Croatia — 39.4 Celsius degrees, the United Kingdom saw thermometer bars going beyond 40 degrees for the first time, while the mercury reached 47 degrees in Pinhão, Portugal on July 14 — the highest temperature among countries in Europe affected by heatwaves this summer.

Andreas Beckmann, CEO of WWF in Central and Eastern Europe, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about the consequences of inaction to protect the environment and the biosphere in the region on people’s lives, supply chains, and economies.

They also discussed the role of governments and businesses in setting up the climate action agenda, the role of environmental, social, governance (ESG) in reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and finally, sustainable growth in the emerging Europe region, including building a sustainable economy in post-Ukraine.

Aug 09, 202227:53
#49 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Financing ESG with KPMG’s István Szabó

#49 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Financing ESG with KPMG’s István Szabó

The first green bonds — or climate awareness bonds, as they were called — were issued 15 years ago by the European Investment Bank. Since then, the market has gone from niche to mainstream with plenty of options on offer: green bonds, sustainability bonds, and social bonds, just to name a few.

The accumulative value of such bonds exceeds three trillion US dollars globally. China is the world’s leading issuer and Hungary leads in the emerging Europe region.

Just recently, KPMG Hungary became an ‘Approved Verifier’ within the framework of the Climate Bonds Initiative, Climate Bonds Standards and Certification Scheme, which means the ESG team of KPMG in Budapest is authorised, as a third-party verifier, to certify that issuers and their bonds comply with Climate Bonds Standard criteria in the entire CEE region.

István Szabó, Director at KPMG Budapest, who has been leading the sustainability practice in Central and Eastern Europe for one and a half years now, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the standards bond issuers need to meet, about available sources of financing ESG (environmental, social governance) and about placing sustainability at the core of an organisation’s strategy.

They also talk about the mistakes that companies make when preparing to issue climate bonds and about examples of greenwashing — ecological arguments in order to forge an ecologically responsible image among the public.

Jul 12, 202230:20
#48 #EETalks Success and Failure — Soaking up the Sun with WeDoSolar’s Karolina Attspodina

#48 #EETalks Success and Failure — Soaking up the Sun with WeDoSolar’s Karolina Attspodina

Solar energy may be a renewable resource, but there are different ways of capturing solar radiation and converting it into usable energy.

According to the International Energy Agency, power generation from solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2020 is estimated to have increased by a record 156 TWh, marking 23 per cent growth from 2019. Solar PV accounted for 3.1 per cent of global electricity generation, and it remains the third-largest renewable electricity technology behind hydropower and onshore wind after overtaking bioenergy in 2019.

WeDoSolar’s smart balcony solar solution enables the users to lower their dependence on grid energy while also reducing the CO2 footprint by up to 600kg, which is the equivalent of 1,000 square metres of forest, and saving up to 25 per cent of annual electricity costs.

Karolina Attspodina, the start-up's CEO and co-founder, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the solution, helping to raise awareness about climate change and its impact on our everyday lives, enabling a large group of consumers to contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.

They also speak about Karolina’s path as a Ukrainian female entrepreneur in an industry that is dominated by men.

Jun 28, 202220:24
#47 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Automation for Good with UiPath's Andreea Baciu

#47 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — Automation for Good with UiPath's Andreea Baciu

Relieving humans from repetitive, hazardous, and unpleasant tasks, decreasing costs and eliminating errors are perhaps the most obvious benefits of automation. But are they the most critical?

Even before General Electric coined the term ‘automation’ in 1947, workers worried about the implication of technology on their jobs and the security of employment. As early as 1936, the Trades Union Congress in the UK issued a leaflet demanding “a larger share of the benefits of increased output through innovation, with a shorter working week, a shorter working life and compensation to redundant workers.”

The point is that automation does not automate jobs. It automates tasks. For some people, automation has helped bring about a better standard of living and a more varied life, more efficient use of time, goods and materials, and an increased understanding of the world in which we live, which is critical in the context of the post-Covid Great Resignation or Great Re-Evaluation.

Andreea Baciu, Chief Culture Officer at UiPath, the first Romanian unicorn and a global software automation company, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about automation for good and about people being at the heart of automation both as enablers and beneficiaries.

In this podcast episode they look at robotic process automation (RPA) as a multipurpose tool helping to transform businesses as well as at the opportunities it creates for individuals to expand their skills and horizons, and most importantly, the impact it has on the environment, health and wellbeing.

Jun 14, 202228:34
#46 #EETalks Success and Failure — Personal Finance with FinqUP’s Dime Galapchev
May 31, 202220:51
#45 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — ESG Awareness with Professor Bolesław Rok

#45 #EETalks Sustainable Impact — ESG Awareness with Professor Bolesław Rok

Climate change is a serious threat and the costs of not tackling the challenge accordingly will increase over time. According to NASA, 2021 was the sixth hottest year on record, with the planet warming by 1.1°C above the average from the start of the industrial revolution. Greater frequency and severity of climate hazards can create more disruptions in global supply chains — interrupting production, raising costs and prices, and hurting corporate revenues.

Climate change and the environment appear to be the primary drivers of investment decisions by individuals considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. They are, however, just one of the three areas that ESG concentrates on.

Social and governance factors are still not treated seriously enough. One of the reasons is that they are less measurable than environmental impact, according to Professor Bolesław Rok, an expert on sustainability management, the circular economy, values-driven transformation, and sustainable entrepreneurship.

In the first episode of the Emerging Europe Talks Sustainable Impact series, Andrew Wrobel speaks with Professor Rok, one of the founders of the Climate Leadership platform for business, powered by UN Environment, the head of Sustainability Transition at Koźminski University in Warsaw and the director of the Positive Entrepreneurship Research Lab.

They discuss the development of ESG in the emerging Europe region, the challenges that hinder sustainable growth and the factors that need to be improved to accelerate sustainability and awareness between both individuals and corporations in the region.

May 17, 202227:54
#44 #EETalks Success and Failure — Web3 with MVP Workshop's Ivan Bjelajac

#44 #EETalks Success and Failure — Web3 with MVP Workshop's Ivan Bjelajac

Web 3 is the next generation of the internet that aims at shifting power from big tech companies to individual users. What this means is that, rather than availing themselves of free tech platforms in exchange for their data, users can participate in the governance and operation of the protocols themselves. As a result, they become participants and shareholders, not just customers or products. In Web 3, these shares are called tokens or cryptocurrencies, and they represent ownership of decentralised networks known as blockchains.

MVP Workshop is a Serbian venture builder company focused on Web3, instrumental in creating over 50 blockchain products, including 2 unicorn companies, Celsius Network and Polygon. The company works on several blockchain projects focused on FinTech, Supply Chain, Asset Management and Healthcare.

Ivan Bjelajac, a serial entrepreneur, one of the founders and the CEO of MVP Workshop, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the future of blockchain technology. They also speak about his earlier experience in building Devana Technologies – one of the most successful Serbian tech companies whose solutions were acquired by GoDaddy, as well as his other successes and failures.

Apr 19, 202224:39
#43 #EETalks Success and Failure — Increasing Productivity with Readdle's Denys Zhadanov

#43 #EETalks Success and Failure — Increasing Productivity with Readdle's Denys Zhadanov

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the largest disruptions to work — growing supply chains and new technologies — have been joined by the physical dimension of work, or remote work, all of which has had an impact on productivity.

Readdle, the company behind several productivity apps such as Scanner Pro, Calendars 5, Spark email, Documents and PDF Expert, which have been downloaded over 180 million times worldwide, has set its mission to improve people’s lives with technology that focuses on productivity.

Denys Zhadanov, a board member and previously the vice president of marketing at Readdle, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about how the company defines productivity and uses science and disruptive technologies to increase personal productivity. He also talks about the company’s successes and failures related to both marketing and products, and gives advice how to build a committed team.

Apr 05, 202228:06
#42 #EETalks Success and Failure — Designing the Experience with Ligna Group's Genoveva Christova

#42 #EETalks Success and Failure — Designing the Experience with Ligna Group's Genoveva Christova

In 2022, the global hotel sector is expected to hit just over one trillion US dollars, according to IBIS World. The industry might still take time to return to pre-pandemic levels — in 2020 the market declined by 39 per cent and then by another 22 per cent in 2021. 

It is estimated that there are 17.5 million hotel rooms across the globe. In the first ten months of 2021, 665 new hotels opened in the United States alone, 21 in New Your City, 21 in Atlanta and 19 in Orlando. 

The US is the next destination for Ligna Group, an interior design studio, procurement and project management firm in the hospitality sector, employing 2,500 people in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom with a portfolio of clients representing the leading hotel brands, restaurants and office spaces. 

Genoveva Christova, one of the founders and owners (alongside Anelia Kassabova) and managing director of Ligna Group, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the company’s origins, successes, and challenges, and its further global expansion.

Mar 22, 202221:47
#41 #EETalks Success and Failure — Speaking the Same Language with Mondly's Alexandru Iliescu

#41 #EETalks Success and Failure — Speaking the Same Language with Mondly's Alexandru Iliescu

The world online language learning market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 18.7 per cent from 2020 to 2027, reaching 21.2 billion US dollars by 2027, according to Meticulous Research.

Established in 2014, Mondly, a globally-acclaimed language learning platform with a daring mission to break language barriers between people developed in Romania, now helps over 100 million users from 190 countries to learn 41 languages using virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Alexandru Iliescu, one of the founders alongside his brother Tudor and the CEO of Mondly, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the edutech app and the future of learning languages. They also talk about the company’s successes and challenges in developing a solution used around the globe.

Mar 08, 202219:23
#40 #EETalks Success and Failure — The Future of Shopping with edrone's Michał Blak

#40 #EETalks Success and Failure — The Future of Shopping with edrone's Michał Blak

From home delivery shopping to ordering a meal without even having to speak to someone, the digital world is transforming the human experience and e-commerce makes it all possible. But what if we could speak with someone and they could learn what we actually need and want? 

edrone is a global company offering ready-to-go marketing automation scripts and CRM features adjusted to eCommerce processes with the largest pools of customers in the CEE region but more importantly in Latin America. 

It has a vision for the voice-based future of eCommerce and runs a project that aims to create its own technology, allowing it to develop the AVA platform and assemble Autonomous Voice Assistants. AVA will increase the precision of search results and make them far more accessible than any current option. 

Michał Blak, one of the founders and the CEO of edrone, an artist turned into a tech entrepreneur, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about his company’s plans but also about his success of building a global company, and lessons he has learnt from his mistakes.

Feb 22, 202219:47
#39 #EETalks Success and Failure — Supporting local and global growth with Sigma Software's Valery Krasovsky
Dec 10, 202121:22
#38 #EETalks Success and Failure — Animating music with 351 Studio's Zoran Aleksikj
Nov 26, 202127:02
#37 #EETalks Success and Failure — Women in tech with Tuum's Vilve Vene

#37 #EETalks Success and Failure — Women in tech with Tuum's Vilve Vene

Tuum is a next-generation core banking platform. It underpins the aims of both regulated banks and other businesses in meeting customer needs and aspirations by enabling the rapid rollout of new financial services. In September, the company — formerly known as Modularbank — changed its name to Tuum, which means “core” in Estonian, highlighting both its native roots and its goal to help customers supercharge their business from within through the use of its banking technology.

The company was founded in 2019 by a small group of Estonian financial IT pioneers and entrepreneurs who have a strong background in banking, including Vilve Vene, now the firm's CEO.

In the two years that the company has been operating, it has seen rapid growth and has already acquired an impressive customer base throughout Europe. It currently employs over 60 people across Europe with offices now in Tallinn, Berlin and Malaga. In December 2020, it closed a funding round of four million euros.

Vene speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the development of fintech during her career, which now spans more than two decades, about women in tech, and about her own successes and failures on the way.


Redesigning public services and supporting digital transformation with automation — click here to download a free copy of the white paper.

Nov 12, 202118:42
#36 #EETalks Success and Failure — The Israeli way with Adi Barel

#36 #EETalks Success and Failure — The Israeli way with Adi Barel

Over the past decade, Israel has seen the birth of over 11,000 start-ups: 70 of which have gone on to become unicorns. 

Israeli tech companies have attracted investments of more than 65 billion US dollars. So what sets Israeli entrepreneurs apart, in terms of thought, creativity and innovation?

Adi Barel, managing director at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) hub in Israel, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about the Israeli approach to doing business, success and failure, the importance of tachles, chutzpah and yalla and - most importantly - what emerging Europe's start-up founders can learn from the Israeli approach. 

Oct 26, 202118:27
#35 #EETalks Partnership — data protection and privacy with Julian Zawistowski
Aug 17, 202124:54
#34 #EETalks People — Financial Literacy in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with Zuhursho Rahmatulloev

#34 #EETalks People — Financial Literacy in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with Zuhursho Rahmatulloev

The limited financial knowledge of Tajik consumers means that more than 40 per cent of the population spends all their income and accumulates debt.

According to available data, only 11.5 per cent of all Tajik adults hold accounts at financial institutions and only 9.1 per cent of women. The situation looks better in Uzbekistan, where 36 per cent of surveyed adults report owning an account at a formal financial institution, according to the 2020 Financial Capability Survey.

However, Tajikistan has thriving fintech start-ups which are helping the country catch up. Alif, a challenger bank headquartered in the country, has over 600,000 users and a team of 700 professionals. It is now establishing its presence in the UK as part of its 2021 growth strategy, bringing greater financial stability, efficiency and inclusion to the market.

Zuhursho Rahmatulloev, one of the founders of Alif Bank, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about his return to Tajikistan after his studies in the UK, the opportunities Tajikistan and Uzbekistan offer and the bank’s plans to contribute to the social change the two countries are facing.

Aug 03, 202120:57
#33 #EETalks Prosperity — Building an International Business with Oleg Krot
Jul 20, 202120:48
#32 #EETalks Prosperity — Opportunities in Fintech with Michael Rogalskiy
Jul 06, 202119:00
#31 #EETalks Prosperity — Understanding Online Presence with Katerina Sukhenko
Jun 15, 202116:42
#30 #EETalks People — Georgian Tech Entrepreneurs with Alina Rozanova
May 25, 202117:60
#29 #EETalks Prosperity — Innovation in Central Asia with Bruno Balvanera
May 11, 202123:26
#28 #EETalks Prosperity — Entrepreneurship in Montenegro with Uroš Bulatović

#28 #EETalks Prosperity — Entrepreneurship in Montenegro with Uroš Bulatović

Travel is what usually comes to mind when thinking about Montenegro, and it's no wonder.

In 2019, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, some three million tourists arrived in the country, which has a population of less than 650,000: the tourism sector accounts for almost a quarter of Montenegro’s GDP.

Beyond tourism, however, the country also boasts a thriving entrepreneurial scene with an increasing pool of young and creative talent.

Uroš Bulatović, the founder and president of the Union of Young Entrepreneurs of Montenegro, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about some of those creative young Montenegrin entrepreneurs, the opportunities the country offers, and the challenges it faces.

Apr 27, 202123:18
#27 #EETalks Partnership — CEE and South Korea with Yonho Kim
Apr 13, 202121:20
#26 #EETalks People — Digital Habits with Monika Czerwonka

#26 #EETalks People — Digital Habits with Monika Czerwonka

Two in five Europeans feel that digital technologies are spreading too quickly, while nearly the same amount (39 per cent) say that the pace of change is overwhelming, according to a recent survey by eToro. 

Despite the relatively low level of digital penetration, Poland values digital technologies more highly than any of the other nine countries, while Romania’s support for increased digitalisation across various sectors is second only to Poland. 

Monika Czerwonka, a professor at the Warsaw School of Economics and an expert in behavioural finance with specific interest in cognitive reflection test and experimental finance, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about how the Covid pandemic has impacted the way we make use of services, shop, invest and spend and what digital skills we will need in the future.

Feb 16, 202122:33
#25 #EETalks Partnership — France and CEE with Romain Le Quiniou

#25 #EETalks Partnership — France and CEE with Romain Le Quiniou

French President Emmanuel Macron doesn't have a good track record of collaboration with the emerging Europe region.

In 2017, he said that Poland, where a nationalist, eurosceptic government took office in 2015, was moving in the opposite direction to Europe on numerous issues and would not be able to dictate the path of Europe’s future. He annoyed governments in the region when he pledged to take steps to counter “social dumping” in France in which companies employ cheaper labour from the poorer eastern European states, threatening French workers’ jobs, during a debate about the EU posted workers directive. In 2019, Macron’s desire for a strategic reset in relations with Russia caused further rancour in the region.

What went wrong between France and emerging Europe? Is France losing ground in the region?

Romain Le Quiniou, managing director at Euro Créative, a French think tank focused on the emerging Europe region and a fellow at WISE Europa, speaks to Andrew Wrobel about the need to trigger a debate about future relations between the region and France and the need to raise awareness about opportunities in the region.

He also discusses the cliches and stereotypes French people have about what they call New Europe, as those that Eastern Europeans have about France.

Feb 09, 202123:19
#24 #EETalks Prosperity — IT Landscape with Oleksii Toporkov

#24 #EETalks Prosperity — IT Landscape with Oleksii Toporkov

The emerging Europe region’s IT sector has in recent years garnered a reputation for producing high-value services through the use of a talented, skilled labour force, operating at consistently high rates of productivity.

Indeed, the sector has become key to the development of national economies across the region.

However, the countries of emerging Europe are not particularly well integrated - either politically or economically. It has been quite the challenge to look beyond the large IT powerhouses of Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Romania to understand the full potential of the industry across the region.

Emerging Europe recently took up that challenge and is currently putting together a comprehensive IT landscape report, the first-ever survey of the IT sector across the entire region.

Oleksii Toporkov, a research analyst at Emerging Europe, speaks to Andrew Wrobel about the report's methodology and some of the findings, including the IT Competitiveness Index which will be included in the report, due to be released on February 25, 2021.

Feb 02, 202110:35
#23 #EETalks Planet — Sustainable Fashion with Magdalena Płonka
Jan 26, 202121:03
#22 #EETalks Prosperity — Start-up Ecosystems with Jerzy Brodzikowski
Jan 19, 202124:25
#21 #EETalks Prosperity — Smart Urban Living with Radu Puchiu
Jan 12, 202119:41
#20 #EETalks Peace — The Covid Pandemic's Impact on Democracy, with Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

#20 #EETalks Peace — The Covid Pandemic's Impact on Democracy, with Anamaria Dutceac Segesten

In December last year, concepts such as lockdowns, quarantine, mask mandates, hand sanitisers and social distancing were unknown to most of us.

Over the last twelve months, however, they have become some of the most frequently used phrases across the globe. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our plans, goals, routines, habits and has literally distanced us from other people. In the meantime, international organisations have called for a great reset, or to build back better, and we have started talking about the new normal.

In the final episode of the Emerging Europe Talks series for 2020, Andrew Wrobel speaks with Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, an associate professor at the Department of Strategic Communications at Lund University, and an expert in political communication, social media, European politics and democracy, about the changes to our social, economic and political lives that the pandemic has brought about.

Dec 22, 202023:45
#19 #EETalks People: Female Leadership with Olga Grygier-Siddons

#19 #EETalks People: Female Leadership with Olga Grygier-Siddons

Diverse business and political leaders are more likely to create greater value, spot and address risks and challenges than people with a similar background, culture, of the same gender and of the same age and experience. But is leadership gender-specific? What defines a business and a political leader? Should we look at fairness and quotas or rather at merit? How can women contribute to solving the challenges of a highly polarised public debate?

Andrew Wrobel speaks with Olga Grygier-Siddons, a business advisor and a mentor with over 30 years of experience working in professional services advising private and public sector clients in more than 30 countries. She is also a former CEO of PwC Central and Eastern Europe and the first female Member of the PwC Global Strategy Council. Passionate about responsible leadership and personal growth, she is launching an Experiential Learning Hub for leaders and their teams to acquire new insights, knowledge and skills to respond to global challenges.

Dec 08, 202023:13
#18 #EETalks Partnership: Emerging Europe’s Image with Craig Turp

#18 #EETalks Partnership: Emerging Europe’s Image with Craig Turp

Few people from outside emerging Europe have witnessed more changes in the region than Craig Turp, who has lived and worked across Central and Eastern Europe for almost 25 years, first for travel guide publisher In Your Pocket and for the past three years as editor of Emerging Europe.

In this edition of Emerging Europe Talks, Turp speaks with Andrew Wrobel about how the region's transition has been uneven, and how emerging Europe is often portrayed far too subjectively in the international media. He also discusses the importance of partnership and collaboration between all of the region's stakeholders, from both inside and outside emerging Europe.
Dec 01, 202019:47
#17 #EETalks Planet: Sustainable Business with Marek Dietl

#17 #EETalks Planet: Sustainable Business with Marek Dietl

The implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 made Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance – or ESG – paramount for investors across the world. Although Impact Investing and ESG Investing were, back then, niche investment strategies, the UN’s SDGs marked the onset of a paradigm shift in the investment landscape – establishing the first voluntary link between sustainability and financial services.

So where does emerging Europe stand when it comes to ESG integration? Does the region lag behind Western Europe?

Marek Dietl, the CEO of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about how perception plays an important role across emerging Europe, and says that companies are far more ESG-compliant than they are given credit for. The Warsaw Stock Exchange’s ESG Index and the ESG guidelines created by the Budapest Stock Exchange, ahead of that prepared by Euronext, the biggest stock exchange in Europe, are only a couple of examples of the region’s focus on sustainable development.

Nov 24, 202024:57
#16 #EETalks Partnership: Three Seas Initiative with Thibault Muzergues

#16 #EETalks Partnership: Three Seas Initiative with Thibault Muzergues

Two weeks before its pivotal presidential election, the United States pledged up to one billion euros to the Three Seas Initiative (3SI). 

What many people are now wondering, however, is will the initiative be equally important to the Joe Biden administration? Is it of strategic importance to the United States?

And what is the future of the Three Seas Initiative now that a dedicated commercially-managed investment fund has been launched? Will it include other countries, like Ukraine? Will it compete with the European Union, especially now that Poland, the main country behind the initiative, has vetoed the EU budget, which could cause a serious crisis in the EU. Why is the EU less interested in the Three Seas Initiative?

In the latest episode of Emerging Europe Talks, Thibault Muzergues, Europe programme director at the International Republican Institute, discusses the initiative from both an American and European perspective.

Nov 17, 202021:34
#15 #EETalks Prosperity: Entrepreneurship with Russ Shaw

#15 #EETalks Prosperity: Entrepreneurship with Russ Shaw

Today's technology start-ups thrive on fast delivery, implementing user feedback, and pivoting their approaches. However, testing assumptions, mediocre applications, and isolated solutions can end a project before it even gets off the ground. That’s why they need an innovation-driven environment to truly thrive – a community of like-minded people. This community should be not only local, but also regional and global, as is Tech Emerging Europe Advocates, part of the Global Tech Advocates network that includes almost 20,000 start-up founders, entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and experts.

Russ Shaw, the founder of Global Tech Advocates, London Tech Advocates and London Tech Week, speaks with Andrew Wrobel about why joining Tech Emerging Europe Advocates can help start-ups to connect with tech entrepreneurs and investors globally, and about the role of the London tech ecosystem going forward.
Nov 10, 202023:29
#14 #EEtalks Digital Economy in Serbia with Nenad Paunović

#14 #EEtalks Digital Economy in Serbia with Nenad Paunović

Serbia's technology sector is booming, already accounting for six per cent of the country’s GDP and employing around 45,000 individuals. In 2019, the country exported 1.5 billion euros worth of IT products and services. The gaming and blockchain sectors are booming. The government has digitalized a lot of its public services and introduced coding classes in primary schools.

Nenad Paunović, director of the IT and Entrepreneurship Team in the Office of the Serbian Prime Minister, and previously one of the founders of the Belgrade Venture Forum, the largest innovation, investments and entrepreneurship event in the region, speaks to Andrew Wrobel about how Serbia has sped up on the route to become a digital economy over the last few years.

Nov 03, 202020:14
#13 #EETalks Ethical Marketing with Dobrosława Gogłoza

#13 #EETalks Ethical Marketing with Dobrosława Gogłoza

The Covid-19 pandemic is changing the way we eat, with the number of British consumers turning to a plant-based diet growing faster than ever. In June this year, there were 1.1 million vegans in the UK, and the number is set to double by the end of this year. In the US, demand for plant-based food has climbed by 268 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic.

Europeans spend about 1.2 billion euros on vegan products, still only a small fraction compared to the 230 billion euros that they spend on meat, but the market is growing fast, even in erstwhile holdouts such as Poland, where even traditional meat and dairy producers are including plant-based products in their offer. It is estimated that there are now three million vegans or vegetarians in what was until recently a strictly meat-focused country.

Dobrosława Gogłoza, head of strategy at the Warsaw-based All Hands Agency, which focuses on ethical marketing, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about sustainable production, business opportunities in the plant-based sector across emerging Europe and how companies should promote their products to a wide audience.

Oct 20, 202021:22
#12 #EETalks Future of Media with Kinga Incze

#12 #EETalks Future of Media with Kinga Incze

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected both traditional media and online platforms. It’s not only an unprecedented economic challenge. Social distancing disrupts the complete physical media value chain. It rewrites basic rules of life, including communication and also accelerates previous issues like privacy, fake news, unfair competition, outdated regulation, political advertising, copyright issues What is the future of the media sector? What challenges are traditional and new media outlets facing? What is the ideal revenue sources? Is there room for new players and start-ups? 

Kinga Incze, one of the co-founders and the CEO of Whitereport Global, a UK-based cross-media business intelligence service provider, and of Mediaspace.Global, a global independent professional network for media, marketing, tech, regulation, speaks to Andrew Wrobel about the role of businesses and governments in shaping the future media landscape. 

Oct 06, 202019:16
#11 #EETalks Real Estate (Crowdfunding) with Gustas Germanavičius

#11 #EETalks Real Estate (Crowdfunding) with Gustas Germanavičius

Tallinn-based property and fintech start-up EvoEstate, which Emerging Europe included in its list of 10 start-ups from the region to watch in 2020, continues to disrupt the real estate market and make it more democratic for retail investors.

In mid-September, the real estate crowdfunding aggregator had 210 projects in its portfolio and with a pre-seed round closed, EvoEstate will now turn its attention to taking its innovative real estate investment platform global to begin providing services to interested investors around the world.

Gustas Germanavičius, one of EvoEstate's co-founders and the start-up's CEO, talks to Andrew Wrobel about real estate crowdfunding, the impact of Covid-19 on real estate transactions, and about the prospects for crowdfunding across the emerging Europe region.

Sep 22, 202017:17
#10 #EETalks Cross-Cultural Sales with Kasia Lanucha and Bob Spence

#10 #EETalks Cross-Cultural Sales with Kasia Lanucha and Bob Spence

Which international sales method should be used when selling software as a service (SaaS) to UK buyers? How to understand the way British buyers do business? What role do language skills and small talk play in the process?

And how to sell during the Covid-19 pandemic?

In the latest episode of Emerging Europe Talks, Andrew Wrobel speaks with Kasia Lanucha, a Cambridge University lecturer recognised as a cross-culture thinker and coach, and Bob Spence, the director of international business development for SaaS incubator C4DI @TheDock, who jointly run a series of seminars focused on cross-cultural sales, launched by the UK Department of International Trade.

Sep 15, 202029:13
#9 #EETalks Capital Markets with Marek Dietl

#9 #EETalks Capital Markets with Marek Dietl

In April 2021, the Warsaw Stock Exchange will celebrate its 30th anniversary. In the three decades since it was launched, it has achieved a great deal, not least being classified as a developed market by FTSE Russell – an achievement that took the Korea Exchange over 50 years. It is now on course to become a global gaming hub, with over 60 gaming companies listed, more than the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the world's current leader.

In this latest edition of Emerging Europe Talks, Andrew Wrobel speaks with Marek Dietl, CEO of the Warsaw Stock Exchange since September 2017, about how the bourse is focused on innovation and technology and how it plays a key role in attracting investors to the emerging Europe region through, among other things, its CEEPlus index.

Sep 08, 202024:40
#8 #EETalks IT with Mike Beares
Sep 01, 202021:55
#7 #EETalks International Relations (CEE and the US) with Tyson Barker
Aug 18, 202022:27
#6 #EETalks Technology (Modern Communications) with Victoria Masso

#6 #EETalks Technology (Modern Communications) with Victoria Masso

The coronavirus that kept people contained in their homes for three months has already reoriented our relationship with the outside world and with each other, and will have an enormous impact on how we interact, how we do business and how we use technology to replace our habits and basic needs such as building and maintaining relationships with other people.

On top of that, the pandemic came when humanity was already struggling to communicate, mainly due to fast-paced technological advancements. How to define modern communication? How to link human interactions with inhuman technology? What skills to acquire to be able to better communicate in the future?

Andrew Wrobel speaks with Victoria Masso, the founder of Behaviour Hackers. Victoria is an international trainer based out of Birmingham in the UK. She’s been working on building bridges between technological advancements and human interactions using behavioural science.

She has received special recognition by the UK government as an exceptional talent in the technological sector and has consulted on how to accelerate digital innovation all over the world with the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency.

Aug 04, 202027:42
#5 #EETalks Business (Customer Experience) with Peter Ryan

#5 #EETalks Business (Customer Experience) with Peter Ryan

Numerous research studies show a strong correlation between employee experience and customer experience, with one claiming that companies with highly-engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147 per cent.

But how can firms increase customer satisfaction during the Covid-19 pandemic, when most, if not all employees are working from home? What challenges do employers face in terms of retention and recruitment? How are modern technologies, including robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive-focused software, impacting the evolution of the customer experience?

Andrew Wrobel speaks with Peter Ryan, the principal analyst at Canada-based Ryan Strategic Advisory. Peter is a globally renowned expert on customer experience, having worked with businesses and governments across the globe, advising them on matters ranging from vertical market penetration and service delivery to best practices.

Jul 21, 202021:08
#4 #EETalks Travel with Mark Baker
Jul 06, 202017:30
#3 #EETalks Politics (Presidential Election in Poland) with Aleks Szczerbiak

#3 #EETalks Politics (Presidential Election in Poland) with Aleks Szczerbiak

Poland will finally hold a presidential election this coming Sunday, June 28, having postponed the original vote, scheduled for May 10, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In our latest podcast, Andrew Wrobel speaks to Aleks Szczerbiak, professor of politics and contemporary European studies at the University of Sussex, and the author of the Polish Politics Blog, about the election and the effect that the delay has had on its outcome.
With three candidates given a chance of making the second round run-off – the current president Andrzej Duda, Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski and Szymon Hołownia, an independent candidate and media personality – Andrew and Aleks look at what a victory for any of the candidates could mean for Poland’s political future.
Jun 22, 202025:54
#2 #EETalks FDI with Elias van Herwaarden

#2 #EETalks FDI with Elias van Herwaarden

Investment promotion agencies responsible for attracting foreign direct investment seem to have been in suspension during the pandemic. Andrew Wrobel speaks to Elias van Herwaarden, principal at Locationperspectives consultancy and a member of the Site Selectors Guild, about the global trends in the business services industry, growth in the sector in the last few years, future prospects as well as emerging Europe potentially benefiting from the Covid-19 pandemic, as buyers look to relocate more distant locations to those closer to home.

Jun 09, 202023:04
#1 #EETalks Health with Balázs Fürjes

#1 #EETalks Health with Balázs Fürjes

The coronavirus has been with us in Europe since the end of January and it is clear that it has changed our lives in an unprecedented way.
In this episode of Emerging Europe Talks Health, Andrew Wrobel speaks with Balázs Fürjes, managing director at EIT Health InnoStars, about the impact COVID-19 will have on health care and health tech in both the region and globally.
May 26, 202013:56