Ekolo.cz, the operator of the largest e-bike specialty store in the Czech Republic, is currently busy financing its operations. It started to get more expensive due to the sharp hike in interest rates by the Czech National Bank. “We contacted ČSOB and found a way that will help us in the long run,” says Jakub Ditrich, CEO of Ekolo.cz. “Every situation has a way out, the key is the dialogue between the bank and the client. At ČSOB, we are always ready to find solutions to the needs of our clients, both in good times and in bad times,” says Pavel Prokop, director of corporate banking at ČSOB responsible for the small and medium-sized business segment.
One of the most successful international suppliers of glass and light metal building envelopes is Sipral, which is also a customer of ČSOB. Sipral has been involved in over 300 projects, such as the magnificent Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris, Wardian London, one of the tallest buildings on the Thames, and the unique Amager Bakke incinerator with a ski slope and a climbing wall. The headquarters of ČSOB, where Sipral participated in the design of the perimeter cladding, also bears his mark. This building is one of the most modern and environmentally friendly office buildings in Europe.
Sustainability is a key issue
The bank found common ground with Sipral at the start of its cooperation. Their business philosophy is based on a responsible approach to society with an emphasis on sustainability and ecology. “It just came to our knowledge at that time. However, it should not become a formal process based on filling in papers,” emphasizes Leopold Bareš, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sipral. sustainability is a key issue for many industries. The European Green Deal, which aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, represents a huge opportunity to modernize and technologically transform the Czech economy and ensure the future competitiveness of our companies,” concludes Petr Manda, director of the bank. corporate and institutional of ČSOB.
Ecology and minimization of harmful impacts on the environment are also among the key factors in the operation of Ekolo.cz, which is a pioneer in the use of electric bicycles in the Czech Republic and its activities are aimed at making travel more healthy and more fun. nature and in the city. The e-bike boom has mostly happened in the last two to three years, but according to Jakub Ditrich, even better times may be coming. “An e-bike is an ingenious means of transport that people still use mainly for sports. The improved quality, longer battery life, on the other hand, more expensive fuel or road repairs can cause a new wave of interest in e-bikes,” says Jakub Ditrich. For the success of such a scenario, it is necessary to improve, for example, the charging infrastructure, which Ekolo.cz helps significantly, since it is the origin of a network of about 350 charging stations for electric bicycles, scattered throughout the Czech Republic. Republic. All locations can be found via the Powerbox.bike website, which is operated in cooperation with the partner portal Seznam.cz.
Focus on innovation and digitalization
The focus on innovation and digitization also connects the two companies to ČSOB. Sipral has been dedicated to progressive building technologies since its inception. “We have always been at the forefront of digitization, even in international comparison. We have been using sophisticated software and 3D projection systems for a long time,” explains Leopold Bareš, highlighting the fact that around 80% of orders are developing new solutions technological techniques or procedures.
Despite the complexity of the present, Czech companies face the next period with their heads held high. “We always appreciate our work and we have a great team. And most importantly – what we do will be here for decades,” says Bareš. Ekolo.cz does not worry them either. “One way or another, we are still managing. When the pandemic closed the stores, our business continued to operate as normal. We discovered, for example, that even mechanics can work from workshops at and we can also deliver e-bikes to our customers,” says Jakub Ditrich.
These two stories are a great source of inspiration for other entrepreneurs. You can listen to interviews with Leopold Bareš and Jakub Ditrich in the ČSOB Be in the Picture podcast.
Wide range of services
The ČSOB group offers businesses and corporations a wide range of financial services. These include traditional payment services, traditional forms of financing for investments and operational needs, foreign exchange and interest rate risk management solutions, specialist financing, EU-backed financing, acquisitions and project financing, cash pooling and, last but not least, e-commerce systems. Corporate clients have access to CEB and CEB Mobile electronic banking, Virtual Branch, account control applications in several Multicash banks.
“As part of our ‘Digitally and with People’ strategy, we are constantly delivering technological innovations. Last December, we launched a pilot operation of the enterprise virtual assistant Kate 4 and, since February this year, we have are the first bank in the Czech Republic to open an online account for all business entities, i.e. natural entrepreneurs and, more recently, companies.We see great potential in the use of bank identity , around which we are preparing other digital services for customers,” adds Pavel Prokop, Executive Director of ČSOB Corporate Banking.