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.
#EETalks Sustainable Impact — Climate intelligence with Climatig’s Duško Radulovic
Climate change affects all regions around the world, and the number of risks generated by changing weather conditions and disasters are increasing. Knowledge about potential risks is essential for their reduction, transfer, and adaptation.
Climatig is a Croatian climate fintech start-up that helps banks, insurers, facility managers, and real estate decision-makers mitigate climate risks such as drought, floods, extremely high temperatures, and more through the power of climate intelligence.
Duško Radulovic, Climatig’s CEO, spoke with Andrew Wrobel about his company’s solution to the challenges in obtaining reliable climate intelligence using geolocation with a precision of 10 metres. One UK-based investor considered flooding to be the main issue but after obtaining the coordinates it turned out wind might be a bigger risk.
They also discussed access to the solution. Currently, it is addressed at business clients but will soon be available for individuals who will be able to understand risks, for example, before investing in a new home.
#EETalks Regional Leadership — Innovative Moldova with Dumitru Alaiba
“Moldova is no longer just a consumer of technologies. We are now a nation that exports and generates technologies,” the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Digitalisation, Dumitru Alaiba, wrote on Linkedin in August. He shared the example of Informbusiness, a domestic company that has just launched the production of dynamically-charged electric buses.
“We have a booming IT industry. Year-on-year growth is 45 per cent, and 95 per cent of the IT services produced are oriented for export. Altogether, the IT industry in Moldova is about five per cent [of GDP] and if the sector grows even half as fast as it has over the past three years, I think we can double that soon,” he tells Emerging Europe’s Andrew Wrobel.
According to the Future of IT in emerging Europe report, 4.4 per cent of Moldovans are employed in the ICT sector. Across the 23 countries of emerging Europe, only Estonia has a higher percentage employed in the sector.
“We want to prove that it’s not just Estonia [that can be 100 per cent digital]. Any other country can do it if they take [digitalisation] seriously and if they believe it is possible,” Alaiba adds.
“We want to show that you can have a high quality of service when you deal with the Moldovan government, whether you are an entrepreneur, a citizen or a visitor. […] You don't need to go through a massive crisis in order to benefit from the digital transformation.”
#EETalks Sustainable Impact — AI for start-ups with Hotball.ai’s Maksym Nagara
It’s no secret that most start-ups don’t succeed. In fact, more than two-thirds never deliver a positive return to investors.
According to a recent Skynova study, 47 per cent of start-up failures in 2022 were due to a lack of financing, nearly double the percentage that failed for the same reason in 2021. Running out of cash was behind 44 per cent of failures, while 33 per cent of start-up failures were attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic’s wide-ranging effects on business and the broader economy.
Start-up founders often rely on their knowledge and experience, or that of external consultants, and mentors. And almost 60 per cent of almost 500 founders polled by Skynova said they would have done more market research prior to launching.
What if they relied on artificial intelligence to help them put together a business plan? This is what Hotball.ai intends to offer.
Maksym Nagara, the founder and CEO of Hotball.ai and the founder and leading consultant of Bezmezh.Consulting, talks with Andrew Wrobel about how the firm’s solution can help start-ups understand strategy and plan better.
They also talk about the reasons why start-ups often fail and how AI can help small businesses grow in a sustainable way.
#EETalks She’s Next with Nataliia Ievtushenko and Svitlana Chyrva
“Before I started my internship at Visa, I [ran] a small eco-hotel in the mountains of Ukraine. It was a travel co-working space. It was after the first invasion in 2014. A lot of travel agencies were closed and travel managers needed to work somewhere so I decided to open a space where everybody could help each other and develop the travel industry,” Nataliia Ievtushenko, first an intern and now a full-time employee at Visa tells Andrew Wrobel in the eighth episode of Emerging Europe Talks She’s Next empowered by Visa.
“During the [internship] interview, I chose the product team. It's very interesting for me to see how products are created from the beginning, from the idea until the product is done.”
“I'm the head of the women's Visa network inside the company. And I used to be the mentor for some of the newcomers and some of the women in the network. It's really great to feel that your experience, your advice helps someone to grow or just to realise themselves, to achieve results or even to build a relationship with someone. It's important not only for the mentee but also for the mentor just to know that they are helping the younger generation grow, find new paths,” Svitlana Chyrva, Vice President, Country Manager for Visa in Ukraine and Moldova, adds.
#EETalks She’s Next with Michelle Simmons
“I changed companies for the first three roles that I had and then I came to Microsoft,” Michelle Simmons, General Manager Central Europe at Microsoft, tells Andrew Wrobel in the seventh episode of Emerging Europe Talks She’s Next empowered by Visa.
“And what I found was that I've been able to take on new challenges and really work for many different companies inside Microsoft by changing functions, changing geographies and expanding my scope of responsibility. And so that's how I've ended up spending so long at one company because it's been just a platform for incredible learning, professional growth.”
“I had the pleasure of first meeting Michelle earlier this year and during our conversations it was her approach to leadership that struck me most,” Andrew says. “That curiosity and authenticity, showing the way forward, especially now in such uncertain times and being able to create a vision for what the future looks like. And identifying and challenging talent in a supportive way so that they can move into their next role, even if it is at a different company.”
“I measure myself on how I'm helping people in my organization to achieve their career goals,” Michelle adds.
#EETalks She’s Next with Dan Baxter
“There's been a lot of positive discussion and some positive progress when it comes to gender equality around the world, […] but I think clearly there's much more to be done to truly ensure the level of equality that we all aspire to and I think men have to play a vital role in that,” said Dan Baxter, Vice President, Corporate Communications for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa, in conversation with Emerging Europe’s Andrew Wrobel.
This is why halfway through the first series of Emerging Europe Talks She’s Next empowered by Visa, we take a look at the role of men in the development of female empowerment as the process must include the awareness and engagement of men.
“One of the steps is ensuring that you have a diverse work force to start with and setting very clear goals which are measured to ensure that you're continuing to increase the level of diversity within the organisation. [...] We need to show that there are significant benefits of having more women in the workplace, but also in the company environment.”
“Involving men in initiatives such as She’s Next contributes to a broader understanding that diversity is an enormous benefit in a workplace. I am also delighted to be the podcast host and I very much hope I will be able to help raise awareness about diversity and the value of female entrepreneurship,” Andrew added.