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We have a Europe. What's next?

The European Union was born from a dream. Those who founded it were people with vision and high ideals, such as Robert Schumman, Kondrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi or Jean Monnet. Their dream was continued by other visionaries: Edward Heath, Francois Mitterrand, Jacques Delors and Helmut Kohl.

The Europe they wanted was a Union of values, a strong area, united in diversity.

Is the Europe today the one they have dreamed to?

Last days news reveals us shocking information. Greece has publicly admitted that they provided false information to the European Union. Bulgaria succeeded in this series of disclosures, recognizing that they also provided false information to the Union regarding the actual level of its budgetary deficit. Certainly, in the coming weeks or months, other countries will be added to this list.

Trust between the Union states began to shake, and availability to offer support between the member states decreased substantially. read more»

Entrepreneur versus manager

articol published in the Consulting Review magazine

One of the latest concepts in business is the "corporate entrepreneurship", i.e. implementing entrepreneurial business practices in the management of major corporations.

What does that mean? Shell we understand that the corporate management model, so much praised in the past 20 years is not really the key to success? Or that all the MBA’s and management, leadership, strategic planning courses, etc... involving managers of corporations do not hold the key to success and do not provide all the answers to the challenges these managers should face?

A year ago I was fortunate to know personally Larry Farrell, the American specialist who created the concept of Corporate Entrepreneurship and the No. 1 worldwide specialist in research and development of entrepreneurial practices. read more»

Ascent Group, partner of the project "Arad, my love!"

Ascent Group became partner of the NGO Mişcarea Arădeană in the project "Arad, my love!"

"Arad, my love!" is an educational project which aims to reach the children from Arad on city’s values and beauty.

Because we think for long term, we joined Mişcarea Arădeana’s wish to determine future generations to think differently and to love Arad with the same passion as those who built the city. Therefore we want to offer children the chance to know Arad from another perspective, to provide them information about its values and spirit. read more»

2010. The economies in the region whereto?

Another turbulent year is closing. After a devastating 2009 for the economies of all countries in the region what interests us most now, as investors, is what will happen in 2010 and what evolution will have the economy of these countries in the year we're just about to enter.

The forecasts of the key financial and international institutions are not always in consensus and the estimations of the local governments are usually more optimistic than those of international institutions, mainly for elections PR reasons, so we will try to do a review as most complete as possible of these forecasts, including various points of view.

As average values, the contraction of the Eastern Europe economies in 2009 was estimated by BERD to 6.3%, respectively as by the estimations of the same international body, in 2010 we can expect an average increase of 2.5% of the Eastern European economies. read more»

The companies from our region interested in becoming more entrepreneurial

In January 2009 Ascent Group has signed a strategic partnership with the very known American expert in researching and promoting the principles of entrepreneurship and innovative business solutions - Larry Farrell. Due to this partnership, Ascent Group is going to represent Mr. Farell in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Moldova for training and consultancy services on entrepreneurship topics.

The conclusion of this partnership was followed by some visits of Larry Farrell in the region, who launched the program personally in Romania between 10-18 April 2009 and în Bulgaria on October 6. read more»

Bulgaria – now even easier to start-up a business!

Bulgaria is trying to become more and more attractive for investors. One of the most recent changes in the Bulgarian legislation, voted on 02.10.2009 decreased the minimum start-up capital for the limited liability companies from BGN 5000 to BGN 2, a symbolic amount, representing the equivalent of 1 euro.

By applying this measure it’s considered that the level of entrepreneurship in Bulgaria will increase. The Bulgarian Government is aiming to stimulate young people's wish and desire to become entrepreneurs, considering that “entrepreneurs who are capable of an idea to make a successful business are the lifeblood of any economy and a key factor in creating jobs, growth and competitiveness of the economy”.

The principle of "Think Small First" is recommended also by the European Commission to member states to adjust local legislation in order to minimize administrative barriers to small businesses and create favorable conditions for its emergence and development.

How the economies of the countries in Eastern Europe contracted during the crisis?

With the publication of economic data for the 2nd quarter of 2009 we find that all the countries of Eastern Europe were hit by the crisis, with deeper decreases in the economy than countries in Western, Southern or Northern Europe.

Economic data for Q2 2009 compared to Q2 2008 reflects a dramatic decrease in the economy of the Baltic countries (the largest reductions in Europe) positioning first Lithuania with a decrease in the economy of 22.6%, followed by Latvia with 18.2% and Estonia with 16.6%. Place 4 among the most affected economies is occupied by Romania with a decrease of 8.8% followed by Hungary with 7.4%, 5.3% in Slovakia, the Czech Republic with 4.9% and Bulgaria with 4.8%.

The decreasing trend of the economy is followed by another important country in Eastern Europe whether it is not a member of the European Union, namely Ukraine, reporting a decrease of 18% in Q2. read more»

Ascent Group - partner of the project Start Internship

Ascent Group supports this year, as partner, the START Internship program, developed in Romania by Junior Achievement.

In today's labor market, students are hardly dreaming of a career and graduates have already entered into the race for getting a job. But their success depends very much on the practical skills and knowledge they learned. And unfortunately Universities in Romania offers still too few opportunities for students to get in contact with what is happening in the concrete business. read more»

Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia. Competitive advantages.

When an investor decides to start a business in our region, he usually can choose between a few countries: if they want to choose a country from the European Union, then they will most likely choose between Romania and Bulgaria, the last countries who joined the EU and also the countries with the lowest labour cost among the EU countries. In case they want to choose a country that is not an EU member, then Serbia and the Republic of Moldova seam to be the 2 best options.

However it is pretty difficult to make a choice in the end, given that each of these countries have advantages and disadvantages. So I proposed to make an overview of the main elements that take into account when an investor decides to start a business in one of these countries.

First, I tried to group in a comparative table the main types of fees and taxes, and the costs that an investor must bear in each of the 4 analyzed countries. Please see them below: read more»

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