The Act on Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the Act on the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic and the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic form the legal basis for business support.
In the private sector, most consultancy firms belong to the network of regional consultancy and information centres. A list of the firms relevant to individual regions of the Czech Republic can be found on the BusinessInfo.cz portal.
The Czech Chamber of Commerce is the body representing the business community in the Czech Republic. It protects the interests of its members - small, medium-sized and large enterprises - combining together in a regional network of chambers and trade associations.
Its chief mission is to support business activities except for agriculture, the food industry and forestry, protecting and promoting the interests and seeing to the needs of members of the chamber.
The Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts of the Czech Republic promotes the interests of small and medium-sized firms and tradesmen with the government and other institutions in all areas of activity. It provides its members with an information service focused on the segment of small and medium-sized firms. Among other things it also provides sponsorship for business competitions.
The Union of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of the Czech Republic is the official representative of small and medium-sized Czech enterprises at the European Union, and especially at the European Parliament. Its aim is to act with Czech business associations to exert pressure on both Czech and European public figures to bring about better business conditions.
Governmental institutions - especially the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (MIT) - have set up a number of instruments in support of businesses. These include special regional programmes created by the Ministry for Regional Development (MRD) .
Single points of contact
Single points of contact (SPC) have been set up on the basis of the Services Directive in selected trade licensing offices. The main aim of the SPCs is to provide entrepreneurs with all the information necessary for starting up a business in the Czech Republic and other states in the EU and the EEA. They also help in the area of consumer protection or in case of a dispute with official bodies in another EU Member State.
The electronic single point of contact is the Official portal for business and export, BusinessInfo.cz.
CzechInvest is an agency set up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to support business and promote investments. Its programmes cover three areas:
- business and innovation;
- human resources and employment;
- research and development.
Within the framework of the Operational Enterprise and Innovation Programme 2007-2013 CzechInvest offers 15 different support programmes.
From 1992, regional consultancy and information centres (RCIC) were set up in the Czech Republic, offering initial advice free of charge to small and medium-sized businesses as well as business consultancy services at a reduced cost. They provide assistance in drawing up business plans and implementing projects, arranging bank loans and job creation.
The mission of the business and innovation centres (BIC) is to support the development of innovative business in the region where a given centre operates. Among the most frequent basic services are assistance for businesses in obtaining financial support for business projects, advice in creating business plans, services for international cooperation in R&D and advice on doing business on the EU market.
CzechTrade is an agency for supporting trade, providing assistance to Czech exporters (firms with a head office in the Czech Republic) on foreign markets (the EU market and third country markets).
The Centre for Regional Development (CRR) of the Czech Republic is a state organisation established by the Ministry of Regional Development, which focuses on making the most of the opportunities offered by EU programmes and projects. The information and services provided by the CRD are intended both for professionals, representatives of government and local authority bodies and also the wider public, e.g. small and medium-sized businesses.
The Czech Export Bank (CEB) is a specialised banking institution whose mission is to provide state support for exports through the provision and funding of export credit and other services connected with exports.
Export Guarantee and Insurance Company (EGAP) is a state-owned company that insures export credits against the territorial and commercial risks connected with export activities.
The Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank provides support to small and medium-sized businesses in the form of guarantees and soft loans, making use of funding from the state, structural and the regions
Access to finance is crucial for setting up and running a business.