Strategic location in the centre of Europe, a stable and robust economy recovering strongly after Covid-19 pandemic, being a significant European market - these are only some of the aspects that make Poland a promising harbour for investment.
Poland is a natural choice for international investors, often serving also as a springboard for expansion in Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and Belarus.
Covid-19 has made it much clearer what counts and what doesn’t. It’s also heightened the focus on productivity, efficiency, sustainability and social inclusion. All these factors put Poland in the position of Europe’s new growth engine.
Here are 10 things I would have thought are important to know if you are planning to invest in Poland.
1. Don’t limit yourself to Warsaw
Poland is the 6th country in Europe in terms of population and area. Poland’s population is approx. 38 m people. The capital is Warsaw.
Warsaw is the most important place because it is a capital city and it is home to all ministries and governmental agencies but you should not limit yourself to Warsaw. Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan or Wroclaw are also growing fast. Depending on your business, you may be better off in Warsaw, which is considered as one of the next innovation cities of the world or outside the capital where overheads are lower and life is easier.
It really depends on what your business needs. If you want to be closer to the West, you can choose Poznan or Wrocław. But Poland is also called a gateway to the East so if your plans involve the East, you can choose Lublin or Rzeszów. The location is very important and it should be carefully planned in advance taking into account various factors.
2. Poland has perfect investment location in Europe
Poland is located in the heart of Europe which makes it the perfect investment location for companies needing to export products both in eastern and western directions. On the one hand, companies located in Poland can benefit from a strong economic relationship with Eurozone, having free trade access to the EU market and standardized regulations. On the other hand, the Polish economy is stable and resistant to any economic crisis thanks to having its own currency (Polish zloty).
Poland has been always stuck between two superpowers Germany and Russia which has never been easy. But after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and after the fall of the Soviet Union, Poland has managed to change this unfortunate position into an advantage. Poland’s pivotal position between West and East positively stimulates its industrial development.
3. Get the right team around you
You can't do it all on our own; you need help in preparing your plans, but you need to make sure you get the right help. Some 30 percent of start-ups that fail do so because they had the wrong team in place. So, take the necessary time to evaluate the team that you need and then hire the best people you can, including lawyers, accountants, engineers and others advisors.
4. Poland is safe and stable
Confidence is one the of most critical aspects that investors are looking for. Poland is safe and stable, both militarily and economically. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and it is an active member of the alliance cooperating closely with US and other members. In 2004 Poland joined the EU. Membership in NATO and EU gives Poland additional strength and confidence.
Also, the Polish financial system is safe and stable. The Polish economy has been growing continuously for the last 30 years. Poland also has been a leader of change in the region for the last 30 years and has also been a leader in attracting investors.
In 2020, Poland’s GDP contracted by 3.5 percent but this was the smallest drop in the European Union amid the coronavirus crisis. In 2021, a speedy recovery is forecasted. The International Monetary Fund has raised recently Poland’s economic growth forecast in 2021 to 4.6 percent (from 3.5 percent) and to 5.2 percent in 2022 (from 4.5 percent).
5. Poland is a key member of The Three Seas Initiative
Poland is one of the founders of The Three Seas Initiative which was set up in 2015.
The Three Seas Initiative is the current version of the inter-war "Intermarium", making it among Poland’s most meaningful contributions ever to European geopolitics. "Intermarium" (the Polish name Międzymorze meaning "Between-seas") was the idea proposed in the 1920s as the federation of states which was meant to emulate the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The concept of federation did not work at the end but the idea of cooperation of sovereign states was inspiring to many people as a driving force of the region. No wonder, it was reopened again in 2015 as a forum for countries located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea, stretching from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south.
The benefits for Poland are already visible. Via Carpathia which is going to link Baltic states with southern Europe is under construction. Baltic pipe is a unique opportunity for Poland to become a regional power broker. The plans for the construction of the central airport have been disclosed, which would act as the hub for the region. The central airport is planned as Poland's most important infrastructural investment and a transit hub which will integrate air, rail and road transport. It will be built 37 km from Warsaw and is planned to initially service 45 m passengers. Their number is to grow to 100 m. The first stage of the project is to be completed by the end of 2027.
6. Highly qualified and hard-working people
Probably the strongest assets of Poland is its people. There are plenty of highly qualified, hard working people in many walks of life in Poland – from professors, doctors, engineers, scientists, top-class IT specialists, managers, technicians to simple workers.
One of the reasons Poland is famous for top-class IT specialists is that Poland used to be a superpower in the field of mathematics in the 1920s and 1930s. Polish school of mathematics thrived especially in Warsaw and in Lwów. The key person was Stefan Banach who is considered as one of the world’s most important and influential 20th-century mathematician. The Enigma code was cracked by a team of Polish mathematicians including Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski. After the war, the achievements of these people were all but forgotten as Poland went into a communist deep freeze for nearly fifty years. To the outside world, it was Turing that had cracked the Enigma and shortened the war. It was not.
7. Growth opportunities in many sectors
Poland has impressed the world during the last 30 years. The rate of return on investment in many sectors have been usually much higher than expected.
Poland is often called the land of rising opportunities. This is true – in many sectors there is still a huge possibility of growth. Every business decision needs careful planning and consideration but - on the whole – there is a huge demand on the Polish market and the purchasing power of the society is growing.
8. Ever-increasing quality of business infrastructure
In 2018, FTSE Russell index agency moved Poland from “emerging” to “developed” market. This was the appreciation of Poland’s success story. To ensure that the classification of markets within FTSE Russell’s global benchmarks remains accurate and up-to-date, FTSE Russell works closely with both the institutional investor community and domestic market authorities to review the classification status of individual markets regularly.
Many significant private equity investors are operating on the Polish market, with nearly all renowned consulting and law offices being present in Poland. The leading Polish banks successfully adhere to the best international standards and in some areas, such as electronic banking or digitalisation, they have even become market leaders. Within 30 years of its existence, the Polish capital market has achieved a very high professional level and created the full infrastructure for effective execution of significant and challenging M&A projects.
9. Big projects on the horizon
Poland is planning some big projects in the nearby future, including large infrastructural investments. One of the megaprojects is the construction of the central airport which is planned as Poland's most important infrastructural investment and a transit hub which will integrate air, rail and road transport. It will initially service 45 m passengers a year. The first stage of the project is to be completed by the end of 2027.
Another example is the Baltic Pipe which is a unique opportunity for Poland to become a regional power broker. The Baltic Pipe is a natural gas pipeline between the Norwegian sector of the North Sea and Poland. It is a strategic infrastructure project to create a new gas supply corridor. When completed in 2022, it will transport natural gas from the North Sea to Poland via Denmark.
Warsaw will soon be home to the tallest building in the EU: At 310 meters (1,017 feet), the Varso Tower is slated for completion in 2021. It’s but one of a dozen skyscrapers going up in Warsaw over the next two years.
10. Poland as a springboard for expansion in Central and Eastern Europe
Poland is a natural choice for international investors, often serving as a springboard for expansion in Central and Eastern Europe. This includes also Ukraine and Belarus which are strongly connected to Poland because of language similarity and large flows of people.
Poland was once a multi-cultural polity, inhabited by Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians and many other nationalities. Common cultural heritage and common history helps to strengthen economic relations between the nations.
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