"The Holešov industrial zone will be fully occupied within a few years, a competitive battle will arise between investors," says Radovan Macháček

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According to Radovan Macháček, the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Holešov Strategic Industrial Zone, the Zone will be fully occupied within a few years, and there will also be a competitive battle between investors for vacant land.

You have been the chairman of the board of directors of Industry Servis ZK, a. s. for about a month. Did you take a long time to decide whether to accept the offer?

I worked in the state administration, local government and in business, I was the mayor of Chropyn, the director of the UZSVM and the economic deputy at the State Intervention Agricultural Fund in Prague and the chairman of the board of a joint-stock company - for all these reasons the offer made sense to me. A number of erudition must be combined in this position. You cooperate with the Zlín Region, cities, ministries, state authorities and business partners. I told myself that I have the prerequisites based on many years of experience and at the same time that it is a challenge that I will enjoy. The decision was then simple.

What is the current position of the Zone and thus your "starting position"?

The zone has been the target of various types of criticism for a long time, de facto since its foundation. Personally, I said it was a step forward. It is necessary to realize that this is the hope for maintaining the competitiveness of our region. I constantly hear complaints that people and companies are leaving, that they don't have a job here, that we are losing competitiveness and attractiveness. But this is a clear initiative to prevent it, to ensure development, job opportunities, to be visible on the map of business and regions. Not to lose young educated people.

What is the real state of the Zone in terms of the functioning of companies and their construction?

In recent years, the management of the Zone has stirred up smaller companies that have begun to establish themselves here. Nine are operating here, another five are preparing for construction, and we are negotiating with about 20. It is a mix of manufacturing and commercial companies. From the point of view of the number of companies, it is a good basis for building a kind of "pyramid of the Zone". There is a larger number of small companies on the lower floor, four medium-sized companies on the second and two strategic companies on the top.

Although it doesn't seem like it to some, part of the Zone is developing dynamically?

From the point of view of small companies, this is certainly true. Among other things, they proved, of course with the support of the professional Zóna team, that it is possible to build here according to all the rules and to function normally. It is not easy, it is a lot of negotiations and a very sophisticated activity, but it leads to a functional goal. When we fill up the territory, small businesses will benefit even more.

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However, it is not possible to find a strategic partner in the long term, so what?

This is a failure so far, the strategic investor should be the heart of the Zone. Together with the region, which is the owner, with the Ministry of Industry and Trade as manager, with the municipality in the vicinity and other authorities, we are discussing what such an investor should look like. My goal is to find a partner who will place an investment here with high added value.

How to speed up negotiations on the entry of strategic and medium-sized investors? How to motivate them?

Negotiations on possible entry are demanding, but we want to cause, in a good sense of the word, "restlessness" among those interested. There are not many strategic industrial zones in the Czech Republic where it would be possible to place such an investment, and we can, and will, fill up very quickly. We are one of six industrial zones strategically established or subsidized by the Ministry of the Interior. However, it is the last one that offers 100 to 120 hectares of free space. In the other zones it is around 10, that is the rest. And others are certainly not emerging. So the competition among investors will definitely start for us and they will have to start taking action, offering us. We will, of course, give them active impulses to do so.

What should those companies focus on?

The zone must have some sort of multiplier effect. Everything must be here: services, production, warehouses, logistics, trade, some high-tech production, ITC, and then it is "the Zone" that complements each other, and companies will also start cooperating with each other.

How many people can work in the Zone?

Indicators say about 4,000, but that's not all it's about today. Today, it is precisely about keeping the region from depopulating, so that the content of the Zone will attract high school and university-educated people. We have to give them job opportunities and good wages. The big companies will offer that to them, they will have engineering, they will have technology centers and development here.

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Can the surrounding towns and villages also benefit from the Zone?

Holešov can make enormous money from it. There will be investors here who will need small businesses, services, shops, bakeries, canteens, restaurants, lawyers, notaries, check-points. This is another broad segment of services that will be developed in connection with the Zone.

Road connectivity has been a problem for a long time. This means that Holešov "suffered" for a long time because it was close to the highway exit and everyone drove through Holešov...

Things are changing, the highway is being built. It should be finished here by the end of next year. And few zones have the advantage of having a descent directly into the zone, which in turn also protects Holešov. And the entire region will benefit from the fact that it lies on an important highway connection. There is no development without transport connections.