Eastern Poland tempts investors

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Perfect location for exporters, special investment incentives, one of the lowest labor costs in Europe, one of the most rapidly developing regions in Poland – that’s the briefest description of Eastern Poland. A detailed investment offer of this area was presented at the International Expo Real Trade Fair in Munich on 8-10 October, 2012.

- Eastern PolandMacroregion is a new, very attractive (from investors’ point of view) area in European Union. In that case, we could not miss one of the most important investment eventsExpo Real trade fair – says Agnieszka Łukaszewska-Wojnarowska, the head of Regional Development Department of Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ). I am sure that our offer is very interesting. The Eastern Poland region has a lot to offer investors. The presence of particular cities representatives and entrepreneurs at the fair is a very good opportunity to establish investment cooperation – she adds.

Eastern Poland Macroregion consists of 5 voivodships: Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Świętokrzyskie, and Warmińsko-Mazurskie. It is one of the most rapidly developing Poland’s regions in a strategic location, right at the European Union border, which makes it a natural „gate” to the Eastern markets. It is an area of circa 100,00 km², with 38 border crossings to Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine. 6 road routes and 5 railroads, connecting European Union with Eastern Europe, run through this region.

There are over 8 million people living in Eastern Poland, with about one third of them being under 25 years old. There are 53 higher education institutions with 330,000 students. Another 213,000 learn in vocational schools.  

It is worth remembering that Poland has one of the lowest labor costs in Europe. In the area of Eastern Poland, the average salary is lower than in the rest of the country, and the unemployment rate is higher. Agnieszka Łukaszewska-Wojnarowska stresses: All of these factors mean that potential investors have an easy access to young, well-qualified personnel. They are ideal candidates to work, for example, in BPO, but also in other sectors.

Foreign investors implementing new investments projects in Poland, with priority significance to the economy, may count on special government support. Eastern Poland’s economic picture includes, among others, 5 dynamic Special Economic Zones which are to drive more than the local economies. They will have operated in their current form until 2020, offering investors, among others, tax discounts and attractive investment areas. Considering this area, a special “Development of Eastern Poland Operational Program 2007-2013” was established, financed by European Regional Development Fund, and allowing to raise additional external funding..

The support for investment is not limited to secure the funds, e.g. for investment activities. To increase foreign investors interest and, at the same time, the development pace, the Eastern Poland Economic Promotion Programme was established. It has been implemented by the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) for two years as part of of I.4 Development of Eastern Poland Operational Programme. PAIiIZ obtained 86 million PLN for this purpose, which is to be spent until 2015 on promotional activities of, among others, strategic sectors in Eastern Poland, such as food production, BPO, aviation industry, yachts production, renewable energy resources, and business tourism.

Agnieszka Łukaszewska-Wojnarowska informs: In this respect, the representatives of particular local governments are preparing a special offer for investors, creating databases about business partners and investment areas. Its details are presented during Expo Real Trade Fair where a lot of hopefully future business partners participate.

The following institutions have, among others, their representatives in Munich: Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Lubelskie, Podlaskie, and Świętokrzyskie Marshal Offices; cities, such as:  Białystok, Kielce, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Łomża, Krosno, Tarnobrzeg, Lublin, Gołdap and Olsztyn, and Suwalki Special Economic Zone.  

The main objectives of Eastern Poland Economic Promotion Programme are: to increase foreign direct investments inflow, to make Polish companies interested in investing in Eastern Poland,to boost product and services export from Eastern Poland, and to develop business tourism. The main directions for promotional activities are European Union countries, the USA, Russia, China, Korea, India and Persian Gulf countries. Agnieszka Łukaszewska-Wojnarowska says: We already have our first successes. There have been 88 exhibitions - promotion events organized, with 1133 entrepreneurships and 338 local government units representatives taking part., They resulted in 100 signed contracts and others currently being negotiated. According to PAIiIZ projects register, 21 investments have been located in Eastern Poland since 2009, which has created 3500 new jobs,.

How does Eastern Poland Economic Promotion Programme really function? A good example is Syntea SA company (consulting-training company) which signed investment contract with global training company Aptech Limited in Bombay in February. As a result, Aptech became minority shareholder in the Polish company.

Negotiations between the companies lasted for several months and were supported by PAIiIZ representatives, as well as the city of Lublin authorities. The money obtained from issuing shares, in the amount of 1 mln USD, were used by Syntea to broaden the offer with Aptech trainings, to implement new products compliant with European Union’s educational policy, and to execute development strategy in Central and Eastern European markets.

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