Chamber of Commerce Corner, March 24, 2023

In Hungary

Crises as an Opportunity and Keeping Motivation High, DUIHK

This regular section of the Budapest Business Journal features news and events from the various international business chambers. For further information and to register, visit the website of the organizing chamber. If you have information for inclusion on this page, send an email in English to editorial assistant Annamária Bálint at annamaria.balint@bbj.hu

German-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DUIHK)

Crises as an Opportunity and Keeping Motivation High

Sustainability, changing supply chains, and the contributions of female leaders in times of crisis were the topics of the Female Business Leaders Conference, organized on International Women’s Day by the women@duihk network of the German chamber, together with DialogUngarn. The event, supported by UniCredit Bank, the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF), and the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (VdU), focused on demonstrating how female leaders have tackled challenges in times of crisis.

Mariann Peller, founder of the Virtuosos classical young talent competition and keynote speaker, described the challenges in the early days and in the internationalization of her company, which is now active in 11 countries.

In a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Marie-Theres Thiell (DialogUngarn), four women reported on their companies’ efforts on the road to sustainable business. Zsuzsa Elek (ESG Solutions) emphasized that mounting ESG regulations increases pressure on companies. Rita Mayerné Katona illustrated how UniCredit Bank had achieved more sustainability. For example, it has implemented a Mummy is Back program, allowing mothers to work part-time or remotely after maternity leave. According to Mária Kirchner, sustainability and CO2 neutrality is also a question of the product portfolio at automaker Audi. The company already produces several electric vehicles and plans to expand its range to 30 electrified models by 2025. At the Győr plant, the carmaker already uses renewable energies on a large scale. Jessica Liepelt (liepelt.design) from VdU Westphalia came from Germany. She emphasized that sustainability also means respect for resources. That is why her company produces in the EU and Turkey, not in Asia, and the offices are heated with steam generated during production.

Another panel discussion, moderated by Hedvig Szakács (SZPH Consulting and VP of DUIHK), focused on the vulnerability of supply chains. Andrea Agárdi-Nyárai reported that her company Fath sells machine components produced in China only in Asia, while products for the European market are manufactured within the EU. Tamara Vass from the DIY retailer Praktiker and Valéria Gergely from the pasta producer Gergely Gasztronomi agreed that in crises, it is a matter of reacting quickly to the changes, but also of cohesion within the company to emerge from difficult times in the best possible way.

Marie-Theres Thiell’s interview with Andrea Solti Istenes, country chair of Shell Hungary and president of HBLF, focused on the question: Does the crisis strengthen female leadership? Solti clarified that it is not about having the same number of skirts and trousers in the company: diversity is needed to cultivate different leadership styles and qualities. The role of a manager in a crisis is to keep the employees’ motivation high and give them energy, but of course, also to ensure that the company’s goals are achieved. But they are also human beings, so paying attention to their own resources is essential.

11th Information Day: Workshops and Consultations

The 11th DUIHK Information Day offers information on current economic opportunities, trends, and framework conditions in Germany and Hungary in thematic workshops. In individual consultations, guests will get answers to personal questions directly from DUIHK experts. Focus topics are trends in the labor market, securing skilled workers, and solutions for sustainable energy management in companies.

When: April 6, 9 a.m. • Where: DUIHK offices, Lövőház u. 30, 1024 Budapest

British Chamber of Commerce in Hungary (BCCH)

BCCH Annual Meeting: May 17

As this is an election year for the British chamber’s board and chairman positions, sending a representative is compulsory for BCCH member companies, but the post-vote reception is open to all and represents a prime networking opportunity with the vast majority of the Chamber’s membership and diplomatic circles represented. If you work at a BCCH member company and wish to stand for a two-year term on the next board, you can submit your application via the chamber website.

When: Wednesday, May 17, 4-8 p.m. • Where: Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa, Horváth Mihály tér 17, 1082 Budapest • Cost: Attendance at the event for up to two representatives per company is free for chamber members, while entry for non-members to the reception costs HUF 15,000 + VAT.

French-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFH)

Economic Outlook for Hungary 2023

The CCIFH hosted its “Hot Topic” business breakfast on March 7, with Barbara Botos, Ambassador-at-large for Climate at the Ministry for Energy, on future energy sources, at the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest. After greetings from László Károlyi, president of our chamber, and Ágnes Ducrot, its director, Botos spoke about the future of energy policy and the energy of the future. She said the era of cheap energy is over; the priority is to reduce import dependence and exposure while serving the rapidly growing industrial needs. She dressed the picture of the existing infrastructure, pointing out that electrification is the new challenge for the industry and decision-makers. The focus is also on further promoting energy diversification, including clean coal, natural gas, wind energy, geothermal and biogas/biomass opportunities, as well as solar power. These issues were further discussed in a round table with company representatives from the sector: Equans, Ereco, Legrand, Sagemcom, and Weco-Travel.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hungary (CCCH)

CCCH and Equilibrium Institute

The CCCH Business Breakfast with Equilibrium Institute will discuss the state and future of the Hungarian economy in 2023. Zsolt Becsey, a senior economist at the Equilibrium Institution, will provide insights on various topics, including the impact of the international energy market on the local economy and potential economic risks and opportunities for this year and 2024. The Equilibrium Institute regularly publishes economic forecasts to aid decision-making for economic actors and public policymakers. Based on its most recent data, Hungary is expected to align with European trends, albeit with potentially lower growth and higher inflation.

As an independent think tank in Hungary, the Equilibrium Institute strives to revitalize the nation’s political discourse. To this end, it develops comprehensive future visions for the political, economic, and cultural landscape and formulates detailed policy proposals and strategies. It engages in discussions with influential political, economic, and cultural figures, advocating for implementing its proposed policies and offering expert assistance.

When: Monday, April 3, 10-11:30 a.m. • Where: KPMG Global, 1134, Budapest Váci út 31. • Cost: Members, HUF 17,900 (incl. VAT); non-members: HUF 26,900 (incl. VAT)

Swiss-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce (Swisscham)

Upcoming Swisscham Hungary Events:

Swisscham HR Café: Motivate to retain employees

Round table discussion for company managers and HR professionals, exchange of experience & ideas, knowledge sharing.

When: Friday, March 31, 9 a.m.-noon • Where: Nevis Security Kft., Bókay János utca 44-46, 1083 Budapest • Cost: members free; non-members HUF 15,000 / person (0% VAT)

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of March 24, 2023.

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