Grow East
Restarting Growth in Central and Eastern Europe: Drivers and Barriers

When: Friday, November 27 2020, 09:30 

Where: online

Type of Event: Online Event

Duration: until approx. 12:30 


Please note:


The event GROW EAST CONGRESS is a project initiated and organized by Prof. Arnold Schuh, Director of the Competence Center for Emerging Markets & CEE at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna), and Dr. Manfred Berger, NEUSICHT Think Tank.

The Aussenwirtschaft Austria, the international arm of the WKO (Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) is the offical congress partner. 


About the Congress 

The main goal of this congress series that started in 2007 is to provide insights into current developments in the emerging Europe and highlight the challenges that international and local firms face when expanding into and competing in CEE markets. The GROW EAST CONGRESS offers a platform for the exchange of ideas and experiences between representatives of firms operating in CEE, entrepreneurs, academics and business students interested in the markets and economies of this region.





The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the CEE region hard but the quick lockdown in most countries has kept the human toll low so far. Economically, CEE will experience a deep recession this year with a decline in GDP of about 6%, worse than the downturn in 2009. After six months in the pandemic, governments and firms are turning their attention to restarting growth again. Will the restart just be a continuation of the interrupted business or will business and management models be different afterwards?

  • What are the lessons for management learned from this crisis so far?

  • What will happen to the structural challenges that firms faced in CEE before – will these trends accelerate or reverse?

  • How attractive will the investment climate be for foreign direct investors?

  • What should management focus on now? How shall they drive growth?

Some outcomes and trends are already visible. During the pandemic, we have seen an accelerated adoption of digital solutions in all areas of society and economy. This digitalization drive will facilitate the transition from an efficiency- to an innovation-driven economy. Thanks to the ongoing de-globalization and regionalization of value chains, CEE could benefit from the reshoring of European firms and the entry of US and Asian investors. Moreover, the pandemic brought the “political imperative” back, a more powerful state. Firms, especially foreign ones, have to prepare for an interventionist and protectionist state.

Unfortunately, the observed decline in institutional quality in the years before will rather continue than turn to the better. Anti-corruption organizations warn that the large amounts of money that are infused into the economies and the accompanying concentration of powers have exposed societies to considerable corruption risks. Another business challenge, the looming labor and skills shortage is just postponed, as the dramatic demographic decline is not stopped by the pandemic. Return migration could mitigate the situation.

At the 11th Grow East Congress we will discuss current developments, the lessons from the crisis so far and, in particular, the role of human capital and innovative firms for restarting growth in CEE.


For more Information about the GROWEAST Congress 2020 please go to:


For Registration please go to: