Local Heroes in CEE

Local Heroes in Central & Eastern Europe: In Search of Successful Domestic Firms in the Region

The aim of this research project at the Competence Center for Emerging Markets & CEE is to identify successful domestic firms in CEE and analyze their strategy patterns, particularly competitive and internationalization strategy. The subject of our analysis, the so-called “Local Heroes”, are firms founded and (still) headquartered in CEE countries that show a solid sales growth, have a good financial performance, hold leading market positions and/or are technology/innovation leaders in their relevant markets, and have a considerable foreign business too.

The following questions guide our research:

  • How are local heroes competing in their relevant markets?

  • What sources of competitive advantage do they use?

  • What types of competitive strategies do they pursue? How do they set apart from their direct competition?

  • How do the home-country conditions and industry background influence the development and performance of these local champions?

This study builds on an existing body of research on local heroes at the Center. So far, we drew up a list of 250 potential candidates in 13 countries of the region in 2014 – this list was then narrowed down according to our definition to

60 local heroes

in 2015 . We used the following criteria for the selection: The firms were founded in a CEE country and are still managed from there. The firms were profitable in the last 3 years. Local ownership is bigger than 50%. The firm has more than 100 employees and at least a share of 25% of foreign sales. Not included in this definition are state-owned firms, financial service providers, and energy and commodity businesses.

If you are interested in the research design and first results of this research program, please click here.