Follow up the first SEC Business Luncheon coorganized with Swissmem

The first SEC Business Luncheon with Martin Hirzel, President of Swissmem, took place.

Swiss Pavilion at Energetab in Polen 2022

13 – 15 September, 2022 I Energetab 2022 in Poland

Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology, Sofia

On 11 April 2022, the first Institute for Artificial Intelligence (INSAIT) in the entire CEE region was opened in Bulgaria. This happened with the support of Switzerland, among others.

Global Value Chains in the Post-pandemic World

Covid-19, global supply disruptions and subsequent worldwide economic recession has impacted global value chains in the world. How global value chains will look like in the post-pandemic world?

Above-average export growth of CEE countries

In 10 years (2010 to 2020), the CEE countries showed enormous export growth, several times exceeding the export growth rate of Western Europe, the USA and other leading economies of the world.

New team member: Welcome Paulina Patruschewa!

Pauline is supporting the Chamber of Commerce for the next 6 months and will help us to continue building the “new SEC”!

Outlook 2022 from the President and CEO

Mr. Bertschinger, before we look ahead to 2022, how did you personally experience 2021?

It was a good and important year for the Chamber of Commerce Switzerland – Central Europe (SEC). For various reasons, it was clear to me as the newly elected President and to our Board that we wanted to fundamentally and quickly reposition the Chamber. This included a strategy process, the strengthening of the Board, a new managing director as well as the conception and implementation of a wide range of measures. Of course, this entailed a lot of work.

I realised that everyone I worked with had a fundamentally positive view of the importance and attractiveness of the region and each CEE country. Moreover, the majority expressed an interest in a well-functioning SEC. That was very motivating for us. In simple terms, the task was to create an at least equally attractive product (the “new SEC”) for a very attractive market (Switzerland / CEE).

A major challenge was that SEC has limited resources due to the difficulties mentioned above. In addition, we had to quickly restore the confidence of our members and clients in the Chamber’s performance. One really important aspect for me is that we are as close as possible to our members and that we know each other personally and that we know how we can support them in the best possible way.

It was very pleasing that we found many “partners-in-crime” for our vision of the “new SEC”. For example, we were able to gain three motivated and committed people on the Executive Board with Dr. Daniel Schmid as a new member and Dr. Andrej Vckovski and Marek Dutkiewicz as guests. We also deepened our cooperation with important institutional partners such as the bilateral chambers of commerce, the embassies, S-GE, SERV and many others.  An important “milestone” for SEC was that we were able to find a very competent, part-time support in our SEC office in the person of Irena Belcheva.

We are also proud that in the short time since the repositioning we have succeeded in gaining more than 10 new members.

You always talk about the new SEC. Can you describe the new strategy?

We believe that there are dynamic and, above all, promising relations between Switzerland and the 17 CEE countries. And this not only regarding economy but also regarding science and education as well as society and culture.

As a non-profit organisation, we have two main goals: Firstly, that we promote these relations between Switzerland and the CEE countries and secondly, that we commit ourselves to make our members, clients and partners more successful.

So we are taking a broader approach than before – as I said, also on a case-by-case basis, with regard to science and society – and we are striving to become more effective over time and to be able to make a difference between Switzerland and CEE.

Furthermore, another novelty is our community approach, through which we want to build a community of like-minded people, companies and institutions who are committed to building Switzerland’s relations with the CEE countries.

We have also sharpened our range of services and will focus on four areas in the future:

  • Consulting (Export/Import/Sourcing/Investments)
  • Networking
  • Information/Inspiration
  • Taking over projects on a case-by-case basis

Within these four core areas, we will offer a wide variety of attractive services in 2022, some of which will be new, and thus hopefully increase the added value we offer to members and partners.

In conclusion, SEC is pursuing a growth strategy, in terms of members and projects, so that we can do more and more for our members, partners and the countries.

And what are the SEC’s plans for 2022?

In 2022, the new strategy will be implemented in a focused manner. The planning is ongoing and we remain flexible for opportunities.

In terms of consulting, we are not only focusing on Switzerland-CEE but also on efficient import consulting into Switzerland for companies from CEE. It is my personal concern that SEC only takes projects or responsibilities where we can offer real added value. Otherwise, we will always work with the best partners in our network in order to deliver the greatest possible benefit for our members and clients.

In terms of networking, we are planning a series of attractive events, often in partnership with other relevant organisations. Hence,  the CEE-Day in September or our General Assembly in May. We are also planning 3-4 SEC Business Lunches and – if everything works well – a golf tournament together with KMU Swiss. Additionally, I am sure that we will support various partner events in 2022, such as the planned 2nd Polish Business Forum in Bern.

A focus in 2022 will be on improved information and inspiration. In 2021, we were able to set a great highlight with the monthly webinar series “CEE-Swiss Impulse Sessions”. This will be continued in cooperation with the 10 Chambers of commerce in the CEE countries. Our first Newsletter edition will be published in the second part of January. This will complement our communication via LinkedIn and our homepage. Moreover, the “SEC Know-How Circles”  is also another innovative and important service that will be provided to our members in 2022. By offering the Know-How Circles we want to generate concrete added value for various functional specialists at our member companies by offering a regular exchange of knowledge, e.g. on legal, HR or logistics with a focus on CEE-Switzerland.

Regarding taking on projects, we are currently already in process of discussing various options and remain generally open to possible collaborations in 2022.


Workshop on Tax Incentives in Serbia

19 January 2022 | 16:00 (CET) | Online

SEC 2021 in Review

We are excited to welcome 2022, but before we want to reflect on the year past. We look back on the work and progress of the Chamber of Commerce Switzerland- Central Europe (SEC) and are happy with the progress we made.