If we look back to the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s, we see that many people hesitated to invest their money. Those that did, profited handsomely as they saw the potential of a united Germany. A hard-working, well-educated workforce with masses of potential for expansion and building. As we look back with hindsight, we may wish we had a time machine as what could be a safer investment. Poland today has many of the characteristics of the newly reformed Germany of the 90s and it is the position of this article that Poland is indeed a safe place for your money.
Poland is one of the largest countries in Europe. It joined the EU in 2004 and we have benefited from increased and substantial investment from the Union. More investment in fact, than any other country and this is set to continue. Clearly the eggheads and bean counters in Brussels know something.
But the b-EURO-crats are not the only shrewd investors to make an early realisation of Poland’s potential. Many multinationals are already in place. Big names, such as Motorola, VW, Cadbury, Michelin and many more.
So what is it about Poland that is attracting savvy businesses? And what opportunities still remain untapped?
Why should you GO POLSKA!?
The bosses of these big companies all agree on a few main assets that Poland has to offer. Its location, its infrastructure and above all, its people.
President of the Board and National Manager of Motorola-Poland, Richard Lada speaks warmly about the fantastic work ethic of his team in Poland, pointing out that Motorola’s Polish software development facility is Europe’s largest and the third largest in their worldwide network. The abundant availability of high quality graduates is cited as one of the main assets for this leading technology company.
Vice President of the Management Board for Michelin-Polska, Bertrand Touraton, also cannot speak highly enough about his experience in Poland both as a resident, having moved from France, and as the head of a major international company that has pressure to make a profit. The high quality and intellect of the Polish workforce combined with a tremendous work ethic means that production is world-class. Touraton points to the ‘great potential’ of the largest consumer market in Central Europe (8th in Europe as a whole) and see it as very dynamic. As investment in Poland increases, so do disposable incomes. Poles have done well to drive their country to where it is, now they are starting to gain a taste for the luxuries their hard work deserves. 38 million Polish consumers are ready to buy.
Andreas Klinge, President of VW Motors – Poland agrees. He also cites the infrastructure and availability of high quality graduates, who have creativity and who work with dynamism as the main benefits of operating in Poland. As a manufacturing hub, Poland is well placed geographically to take advantage of Eastern and Western markets.
In Bloomberg’s 2013 rankings, Poland was the best CEE country for business and a report by Ernst & Young regarding Attractiveness for Investment states that within 3 years, Poland will be 2nd in Europe behind Germany.
Eight smashing reasons why you should invest in Poland
So let’s run through some basic facts about the country everyone is getting excited about.
1. €105.8bn of EU funds will be allocated to Poland between 2014 and 2020.
2. Poland’s GDP is rising three times faster than the average in Europe.
3. Poland’s exports have increased more than twentyfold since 1995.
4. Poland has a strategic location providing a gateway to emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe. There are over 300 flights a week between Poland and the UK.
5. During the economic crisis that swept across Europe in 2008, only Poland avoided recession.
6. Poland’s student population is massive and they account for 10% of all European students. Approximately half of the country’s youth go on to higher education.
7. Most of Poland’s graduates can speak three languages, usually Polish and English with one other.
8. Foreign lawyers, accountants and consultants are readily available to help foreign investors.
Need more reasons to invest in Poland? Then watch this.
Other things to consider
Poland has a very stable government with an impressive track record over the last 20 years. We have also proved ourselves to be very financially responsible and as a result the banking sector is strong and the national currency, the Zloty, is highly regarded.
What? Not in the Euro? Public opinion in Poland is similar to that in Britain. Roughly 60% of Poles don’t want monetary union. Unlike Britain, however, the Poles are obligated to join at some point (possibly 2019).
As an example of Poland’s financial responsibility, consider the following. By 2013, Poland had received the equivalent of £56bn from the European Union. The Polish government used this money to invest in infrastructure programmes. These schemes boosted employment and the new road and rail links improved the flow of trade.
Now consider this, Poland is a massive country with potentially decades of civil engineering projects ahead of them. Poland is currently Europe’s biggest building site with no signs of slowing down. Poland wishes to take full advantage of the fact that the shortest road between Europe and Asia, runs right through its borders. Many foreign construction firms are already in place and benefiting from the high quality workforce that we have already discussed as well as a stable income from their cash-rich clients.
Poland offers foreign investors attractive incentives. This has already attracted substantial investment from all over the world. Most of this investment went into the service sector, banking, R&D and I.T.
The incentives centre on Special Economic Zones which are administratively separate parts of Polish territory. These zones are not only set up for business, with well-equipped facilities, but they come with income and property tax exemptions.
Are you ready to invest in Poland now?
To find out more and perhaps start the process of your investment in Poland, see the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency‘s website .
If you are a business located in the South West of England with little or no international export experience, there’s a fantastic opportunity for you to get an insight into the Polish market at the upcoming Export Insight Visit to Warsaw. This group visit is hosted by the UK Trade and Investment South West from 6-8 October 2015. To find out more and book your place, visit the Business West website.
See also: Exporting to Poland