From transformation to revolution

There has been a transformation in Poland and investors still feel good about the country, stated Courtney Fingar, Editor in Chief of fDi Magazine and moderator, as she began the panel discussion which focused on the future of the Polish economy. Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Enterprise and Technology, Tadeusz Kościński, started by saying that Poland is actually moving from transformation into revolution. To give perspective on what’s happening, he provided a brief history of the restructuring of Poland after regaining independence: creating jobs and increasing reliance on foreign capital. Presently the government is changing laws to make it easier to start a company in Poland and encourage foreign and domestic investors to invest in all corners of the country.

Tomasz Rudolf, co-founder & CEO of The Heart, a European centre for corporate-startup collaboration, said it was hard to find clients in Poland but over the years they have become less shy and buy their competitors, building multinational companies. “On the startup side, the ecosystem is waking up,” he said, and is building innovation for the whole world. He admitted, however, that Poland lacks the ability to present ideas as good business models and needs to improve its storytelling.

To attract visitors, inhabitants and investors, Łódź had to develop a story on why it’s attractive, said Adam Pustelnik, Director of Investor Service and International Cooperation Bureau at the City of Łódź. The market developed a trust in revitalisation so the city built a monumental ecological business district and a number of revitalised projects that preserve the secondary city’s industrial history.

From an American perspective, what attracted Otis Spencer, President of Peakside Polonia Management, to Poland was its energy, and he and his family decided to move to Poland instead of London because of the quality of life. He admitted, however, that Poland still has a problem with infrastructure and the lack of human capital is a rising concern. He added that the country needs to do a better job of attracting people from around Europe and provide support and consistent policies.

Although Poland has supported the Polish diaspora worldwide, Minister Kościński said that more should be done to connect businesses operating abroad. He appreciates people who left 20 years ago and have found success elsewhere and doesn’t expect those Poles to come back, but they invest in their talented children, so he’d like to see the next generation return to Poland where the cost of living is lower and the quality of life can be better than in more developed countries.

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Photos: Eric Megret

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