People are essential for our company and we were very fortunate in the early days to have been able to launch the company which led to global success thanks to our employees

Stephan Kronmüller is the co-founder and managing partner of Eurosoftware, which has been operating in Pilsen since 1997. Since then, the company has built a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading IT companies in the Pilsen region.

What is the history of the company? Why have you decided for the Czech Republic, why Pilsen? 

I have always had a warm relationship towards the Czech Republic. First of all, my ancestors from my mother's side were originally from here. And secondly, Saxony, where I lived at that time, is very close. We used to go to the Czech Republic to visit our relatives, for shopping, and to explore this beautiful country with its wonderful nature and culture. It was during one of these visits to my family that the idea to start a company here was born to expand GK business with a development centre. Therefore, together with our business partner Rainer Gläß, we decided to look for young enthusiasts here. At that time, we made a lot of contacts at the University of West Bohemia, which helped us to choose the right "set-up" for our company. The first managing director was Mr. Václav Šiman, who also studied and worked at the university. 

We came up with the name Eurosoftware very quickly because we all wanted a united Europe at that time.

The mother company GK wanted to design and develop new products based on Java. However, this programming language was so new then that it was not even taught at the university yet. Despite of this, we quickly recruited young students from the University of West Bohemia to start developing Java-based software with us. This is how the incubator for our development centre in the Czech Republic was created. Today, it seems that everything went easily and smoothly. But I can assure you that we achieved this success thanks to a lot of effort and enthusiasm. It would not have been possible without skilled people. We have certainly also managed to attract young Czech colleagues thanks to our company culture.

Stephan Kronmüller

Being an IT leader and inovator in the Pilsen region with worldwide market focus, how important is for you to find the right IT experts and new motivated employees? Do you cooperate with the University of West Bohemia or even high schools? How exactly? 


Cooperation with the University of West Bohemia is a very specific topic. It has been performed on so many levels that there is no simple answer to this question. Let's start with the aspect of educating young engineers. We have a very large number of employees from the University of West Bohemia. We have attracted very smart and well-educated people. But, of course, we would sometimes like to see the education more closely aligned with the requirements of industry.

Another aspect is quantity. Here I have to say, unfortunately, that the number of graduates does not match the requirements of the industry. Eurosoftware is just one of the companies that need engineers. There are many companies in Pilsen and the whole region that work with modern technologies. This is where politicians and representatives of industry should urgently introduce measures to prepare the city of Pilsen and the Pilsen Region for the future.  In addition, Eurosoftware cooperates also very well with secondary schools.

But overall, I can say on behalf of Eurosoftware that thanks to the university, we have a good position within the whole GK Software group and we are actually very lucky that the company was established here at that time. We have grown and now we have about 270 employees. Today, Eurosoftware is the largest development centre of the GK Group. It is an important and stable member of the group.

What is the situation in Eurosoftware with getting new employees?  

This topic can only be seen in the context of the whole region. When we need to attract new employees, we need to secure good overall conditions for living for these people. Of course, besides the employees themselves, we have to include family members and perhaps other relatives. People who have good living conditions can be very creative and productive. In addition to that, there must be enough people with the right skills available for the industry.

This is not just about Pilsen, other countries and cities face the same challenges.

We chose Pilsen because it is close to our headquarters in Schöneck in Saxony. And mainly because there is a university here with study programs for engineers. Our expectation was, that we would get enough engineers from the University of West Bohemia. The truth is that most of our employees come from the university. So we have been able to fulfill this expectation. But of course, we would need even more people.

I think we shall solve the problem of recruiting new staff by employing people from other parts of the Czech Republic or even from other countries. In order for us to be an attractive company for these employees, it is important that the town further develops and grows, because thanks to this, specialists from other locations will move here.

But Pilsen is ready for this, it has functional programmes and it also has finances. However, these resources must be used correctly. And we would like to participate in the relevant decisions so that these decisions are the right ones for us.


How would you describe the local working environment - cooperation with the Pilsen region and other partners in the region? Are you a member of any expert/business group here and is it beneficial for the company?

When I have to judge something, I very often follow my intuition. Then I perceive what works well and what still needs to be improved. Cooperation is ongoing, but I would like it to be much more intense and more goal-oriented. As an entrepreneur, I always have goals set to lead me. In this context, however, it is very difficult to define these goals. We, as industry representatives, have very little idea of what options are available. Being the Managing Director of Eurosoftware, but also the President of the Technology Initiative Pilsen, I can see where we could process the topics together and effectively. Sometimes I miss the communication channel that would allow us to involve the responsible persons in the solution process. In many things we feel it painful when we do not find answers to seemingly solvable problems. To have the necessary information is needed, and it would be good if it were easier for industry representatives to access important information. It would certainly help to bring expectations into line with the facts, which would be a very nice first step.

As an example, I would mention the topic of the Gigafactory. I know that the industry is very much involved in this topic, because it raises issues that need to be discussed and resolved. For example, this project will change the situation on the labour market. It will certainly also have an impact on the working and living conditions of people, and not just those who will then work in this company. These are exactly the types of issues that directly affect existing industrial companies. I am just giving this as an example. Perhaps the region is already dealing with this in some way and we just do not know the answers. Some companies here may be facing existential problems.

That is why we would like to talk to the people responsible for this issue. So we are able to find the right platform and get the right partners for discussion, that is our wish.

What have you learned from those years being active business leader in Pilsen, what were the expectations from Pilsen at the beginning?

When I came to Pilsen, it was a gray dirty city with a lot of smog and dust. A lot has changed for the better during the years I've lived here. Pilsen has become a small metropolis, the people were and still are great and I feel very comfortable here. I didn't dare to hope at the beginning that Pilsen would become my home. But now I can say that I feel that way. Overall, things have improved a lot and Pilsen still has a lot to offer to its visitors and also to our customers.

I have to highlight especially the cultural offer in Pilsen. I have been enjoying it since I came here. For living here with your family, you require adequate infrastructure - schools, kindergartens, leisure facilities. This is what the city and the region must develop further, because we want to make Pilsen more and more beautiful and attractive.

We haven't yet talked about what Eurosoftware actually does and how it is affected by challenges and new market trends, such as the rise of artificial intelligence or changes in customer behaviour.

I could give you a very long answer to this question. However, Eurosoftware is the product development center of its mother company... This means that we have the task to connect our product with modern technologies to improve it to achieve always better results. In the shopping process, there are needs on both sides - the customer and the merchant. Both sides want to solve the daily shopping routine quickly and efficiently. This leads to the need to design new shopping strategies. GK GO, self check-out and self scanning as part of the GK product family solutions are the answer. This also includes shopping assistants who help the customer in the selection of goods. Here, for example, artificial intelligence plays a very important role. In addition, we still have to take into account the local specifics of the shopping process. Artificial intelligence has been a topic for us for a long time and part of the company has been focusing on this. A store without a salesperson faces various challenges that can only be solved with modern technology. We are constantly looking for the best solutions.



You have already mentioned culture in Pilsen. What do you do in your free time and what are your favorite activities in Pilsen and in the region? 

If I had some free time... (laugh). I live here with my family, I have 3 children here who go to Czech schools. And I use my free time to spend with them, to develop them. That means that when we have time together, I use the cultural and sports offer in Pilsen. I like music, I also like going to the theatre and sometimes I visit a good concert. In the past I trained Kung Fu in Pilsen and now I do Taekwondo with my son. I enjoy the fact that there is a very varied overall offer and I am happy that the people like to take advantage of that. As a special example, I would like to mention the Finale Pilsen film festival. Our company has been supporting this project on long-term basis and thanks to this fact I/we can look under the hood of the film scene.

If you were to decide where to start the IT business in the Czech Republic, would you choose Pilsen again? Why? 

Of course, there is no doubt about it. If I look at it from the perspective of the achievements that have been made, perhaps we could repeat this success on the basis of the same concept. But since this is a hypothetical question, and I don't have the opportunity to start again, I would like to mention that I am trying something new just outside Pilsen. I founded a startup. Please wish me success. But my experience tells me that success cannot be replicated at all. We can only achieve it again through hard work, concentration and great patience.