Poland – rise of an economic powerhouse

Experts agree: in 2018, Poland has become one of the most dynamic markets in Europe. The Polish economy had grown quickly since 1989, when the shackles of the communist regime fell off, with no recession so far.

For a country that has only been an EU member since 2004, Poland has much to be proud of. The country’s economic progress has been described by some experts as a miracle. Countries quietly coming out of poverty to become world’s highest achievers in the past included Japan, South Korea and Taiwan but now Poland is leading the way towards economic super stardom.

With a population of 38 million and a half-trillion-dollar economy that is already the world’s 24th largest and Europe’s 8th, Poland is undergoing a real economic renaissance – not witnessed since the 16th century. Over the past 29 years, the Polish economy has doubled in size. Poland is the only EU member state that did not experience a recession during the global financial crisis of 2007.

Creating a business-friendly environment to attract foreign investment from abroad has been Poland’s priority for a while now. International corporations including Amcor, Lend Lease, Goldman Sachs, Mercedes-Benz and KPMG have all set up in Poland because of lower wages and proximity to other European markets but also because it has a stable currency, reliable banking sector and excellent pool of talent in key industry sectors such as IT, clothing, electronics, food, mining and mechanical engineering. Following Brexit, more companies are looking at moving to Poland.

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are also getting a piece of the pie, with EU citizens taking advantage of being able to register a company or launch a branch of an existing EU-based business in Poland quickly, inexpensively and easily. The process or setting up a company has been made more straightforward as the government recognises that SMEs play a key role in shaping Poland’s economy. Healthy SME sector is imperative to Poland’s economic growth so SEMs are seen as a great source of industrial development and innovation. Many government and industry initiatives exist in Poland for start-ups and SMEs, including the Polish Development Fund. It is a powerful commercial instrument that works to remove obstacles to investment, provide visibility and technical assistance to investment project and to make smarter use of financial resource through bespoke solutions. Start-up Europe Club, European Investment Advisory Hub or the Start-up Europe Partnership are just a few EU platforms that Polish citizens can access to increase the visibility of businesses or seek funding.

Poland has received the largest share of available European Union funds: €100 billion between 2014-2020. EU entrepreneurs may take advantage of this by applying for cash grants co-financed by the EU. Research and development have also been singled out by the Polish government, with multinational corporations and SMEs benefitting from R&D tax relief. Poland has established 14 Special Economic Zones with tax breaks and beneficial trading environment. Companies investing over €100,000 there can take advantage of corporate and personal income tax exemptions.

Poland is fast becoming one of the world’s most important centres of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic progress. The country is rich in tech innovation and talent, and its economy is in good shape. Economic growth in 2018 in Poland is projected to reach 4.2 percent. Looking ahead, the Polish economy is destined to grow at 3.7 percent in 2019 and 3.5 percent in 2020, according to the latest World Bank data. The unemployment rate, which was at 20 per cent in 2004, has steadily fallen and it is forecasted to fall to a record low of 6.9 per cent this year.

As the government is ushering in new business programs aimed at improving the overall business landscape and development of SMEs, Poland is definitely the place to be for anyone looking to succeed in business. With EU citizenship, the journey to realising your potential will be most certainly easier and faster.

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