All posts by Aleksej Heinze

About Aleksej Heinze

Passport to Trade 2.0 project leader. My research interests are in the area of disruptive innovation using information technology (IT) and the use of IT in business management. Topics include: enterprise 2.0; web 2.0, international business culture, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing.

Europe’s digital economy and Schengen: the impact of physical borders in the virtual world

Europeans love the Internet. Whilst still lagging behind North America in terms of Internet penetration rates (88%), Europe at 73.5% (as of November 2015) is the second most connected part of the digital economy world. The Internet provides the technological infrastructure for the World Wide Web to function. Sending emails and social networking are some of the most popular activities online. Arguably, nothing will stop the growth of these digital communications activities, even if the growing refugee crisis prompts the re-instatement of the Schengen country borders. However, should the Schengen Agreement be rolled back? What would the effects of such a development be on the wider Digital Economy in Europe?

digital economy and Schengen

(CC) Latitude Research: Opportunity Infographic – The New Sharing Economy Study

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#LoveTwitter: 6 ways Twitter has changed the world

#LoveTwitter Love Twitter

After 10 years of documenting the world in 140 characters, Twitter now has more than 300m active users. This might be far fewer than Facebook’s 1.5 billion, but Twitter arguably has a disproportionate influence on the world, partly because it attracts a significant number of politicians, journalists, and celebrities. Our expert panel explain how their field has been changed by the little blue bird.

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Why knowing several languages is beneficial in your international business

Recent data shows that people who can speak more than one language have higher chances of success in their careers. We live in a boosting globalized economy where being a polyglot comes with great advantages. In the business environment, having the ability to speak other languages can be the key to corporate success.

The international business community acknowledges that polyglots are indispensible. They’re the secret tool to building foreign relationships and today’s competitive corporations are well aware of that fact.

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European Perception of Entrepreneurism since the Financial Crisis

Unknwon business closedEurope is still recovering from the financial crisis that hit at the end of 2008, with several Eurozone member states falling deeper into a spiral of debt they have been unable to repay. This has had a clear knock-on consequence for new businesses and startups. Since the financial crisis, the Economist found there has been a decline in startups in some EU countries, such as Germany and Denmark. These countries have a high GDP and are generally considered to be well-off, so why are these European countries failing to encourage startups?

The process of starting a business

When you decide to start a business, there is generally a lot of research and education required. What do you want to be involved in? How can you do that? What connections do you need? There is always going to be a level of uncertainty, and it’s this uncertainty that has Europe from encouraging innovative companies from flourishing. Entrepreneurs don’t need to start the next Microsoft or Google, but what they do need is the ability to experiment with their ideas and have the courage to act on them. As pointed out in the Economist article previously mentioned, if a business fails, you don’t get a second chance. This is very different to the culture that’s been nurtured in Silicon Valley, where failure is regarded as a learning experience and you have the freedom to learn from your mistakes. In addition to this, a recent survey found that the majority of Europeans (58%) would rather work as an employee instead of taking the risk and starting their own business. The overarching fear of failure has permeated throughout Europe’s business culture, to the extent that many great business ideas and products are never seen, because entrepreneurs are too afraid to act on their ideas.

All businesses need funding to get off the ground


Since the financial crisis, banks and lenders have been much more cautions and unwilling to fund anything they deem as too risky. Lenders want to see a return on investment within a year or two – they don’t look at the potential of the business. There is reason to be this cautions, though, as the financial crisis in Europe shows little sign of letting up any time soon and even China’s economic growth is slowing. This all has knock on effects for smaller businesses, meaning they’re much less likely to succeed than in 2008. With 10% of small business owners saying that they’re at risk of bankruptcy as a result of late payments, it’s easy to see why a potential investor may be seeing red flags instead of an attractive opportunity.

This is not to say that Europe is an unattractive place to start a business or invest in. In fact, some cities like London are booming, with more startups in 2015 than ever before. It could be argued that the financial crisis has forced entrepreneurs to think differently with less reliance on traditional sources of funding and outdated business models. London seems to be leading the way in Europe, but it’s yet to be seen whether or not their startup culture spreads across the continent.

However, with the financial crisis still being felt by many Eurozone countries, young budding entrepreneurs can’t risk starting out as they need stability to start their lives. Those who are older shy away from it even more as they have responsibilities and mouths to feed. Europe has a low risk-tolerance at the best of times, perhaps a legacy of two world wars. Entrepreneurs need a sense of stability in the market as well as their personal lives in order to take the plunge and be successful. Right now, Europe needs to fully recover from the economic crisis and foster a more encouraging business culture in order for startups to succeed.

Perhaps the digital economy can offer the answer?

How can motivational speakers help your international business?

141114-D-HU462-091Whenever we think of public speakers we think of self-made professionals who like to talk about helping people achieving inner peace and taking control of their life. While those motivational speakers can be of great assistance, in the business environment things are a little different.

There’s another category of speakers though, whose speciality is to bring value to organizations and corporations. Believe it or not, these can help a company reach full potential a lot faster. Before the official meeting, a motivational speaker will consult with the person in charge. They will also try to set goals as well as attempt to mold the presentation in order to meet with the specific objectives of the company. With the right material on hand a speaker can increase the level of motivation in your staff. They may even be able to boost engagement. Continue reading How can motivational speakers help your international business?