Written by: Monika Mudranincová
The Czech software company Merlin has bought 100% of the shares of the British company Arbes, with which it already collaborated in the past on supplying information technologies to private banks abroad.
Photo: Jan Vágner
The Student Agency, known mainly for au-pair and study trips abroad, is growing rapidly – last year its turnover reached CZK 1.4 billion. The owner of the company that also operates international bus transportation and runs the route Brno-Praha, has started a new route, Liberec-Praha.
Photo: Vojtěch Vlk
The head of the new auto-maker TPCA based in Kolín announced the production of a small car model that should be cheaper than Škoda’s Fabia. Next year the factory should reach its full output of 300,000 cars a year, while 80% of the components will be supplied by Czech firms.
The former minister of finance and his advisor did not succeed with their appeal, and were sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of CZK 200,000 for involvement in the Liberta bankruptcy case.
The deputy minister of interior resigned because he lied about having an engineer degree, even though he did not even complete secondary school. It is the first case for a person with only an elementary education to occupy such an important post.
The owner of the famous Prague Bohemians football club announced that the club has debts of about CZK 40 million and will have to undergo bankruptcy proceedings. Vejsada says it is the result of previous management by entrepreneur Pavel Švarc.
|Photo: Martin Šára
Jan Bárta: Philanthropy as a lifestyle
JAN BÁRTA (48), the executive director of the civic association ADRA, is very busy these days. The humanitarian organization he manages got involved in assistance for Southeast Asian areas afflicted by the tsunami, so the December catastrophe turned his life inside-out. He spends a lot of time meeting with sponsors, ambassadors from Asian countries, and volunteers. He shuttles between Prague, Indonesia, and Thailand. “When I was young I dreamed of flying. Now I do tons of it,” he says with a smile but adds seriously, “I’ve never seen anything so horrible, but I know we can at least help those people a little.” Donors’ money that’s accumulated in ADRA’s account will be used for development on Sumatra, particularly rebuilding schools and psycho-social assistance.
Bárta, a father of three, is an experienced humanitarian worker. Before becoming ADRA’s director last September he was an ordinary volunteer for 12 years. It wasn’t easy at first. ADRA went through a difficult period of personnel changes and additionally, he had to quickly transform from an artist and bohemian to a well-performing manager who can manage a team of seven employees and dozens, sometimes hundreds, of volunteers. He was originally an artist whose paintings were exhibited in this country and the US. He’s also written and illustrated several children’s books, and to this day he works as an external editor for Czech Radio, where he prepares programs with a humanitarian slant. He admits that his work at ADRA has completely consumed him. “I really enjoy thinking up and realize projects and motivate employees and volunteers. I feel that this work makes sense,” he confides. When time and his large family allow it, he relaxes with painting and writing books.
Photo: Martin Šára
Štěpán Halada & Cornelie Haladová: Guarantee of quality
FOR OVER A QUARTER of a century Halada has been adorning European ladies with its jewelry. The firm owes its success to Czech pair Cornelie and Štěpán Halada, who recently opened their sixth shop, this one on Pařížská street in Prague, where they’ve tastefully merged a shop gallery and a workshop, so customers can see how the jewelry is made. But Štěpán Halada trod a long road before his triumphant return home. In 1972 he emigrated to Germany, where he started studying history and journalism. There he met Cornelie, and this charming Dutch woman captivated him with her passion for the jewelry business. So in 1978 the young couple established a jewelry design, manufacture, and distribution company.
” It was a huge adventure. It was entertaining not to know how the next day would end, whether it would be successful or not. That we could influence our own success was fascinating,” Štěpán Halada (55) recalls. “Our unifying element is modernity – simple form without frills, with great emphasis on work with stones, mainly diamonds and pearls,” explains this father of three adult children. The apples didn’t fall far from the tree. “Our oldest daughter manages a jewelry shop in London, and the younger two are studying the jewelry business and design in Germany,” says Halada. He now spends his time between Prague and Germany, but in the future they may settle completely in Prague. “My wife loves it here,” he adds.