How Poland became Europe’s business powerhouse

Last updated: 05 February 2024 Views: 373
How Poland became Europe’s business powerhouse

In the last decade Poland stormed through the ranks of its neighbouring countries, being hailed as the number one country to do business in Eastern Europe by Bloomberg. But what exactly sets Poland front and centre in business of all the Eastern EU regions?

The first instance is Poland’s mighty hold on industry. Poland has a strong grip in the fields of construction, manufacturing, mining and the oil and gas industries with companies such as PKN Orlen and KGHM doing most of the heavy lifting. The city of Belchatow in the Lodz region also has the largest thermal power station in Europe.

But Poland is also cashing in on its entrepreneurial status by becoming a great place for startups and tech companies. The Polish computer industry is an increasingly profitable area and IT specialists are descending on the cities especially in the fruitful market of computer games. Poland offers a broad range of financial incentives for foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up their business including a low corporate tax rate of just 19% and grants of up to 25%, or even 50% if setting up in special economic zones as well as further incentives available through EU-funded schemes.

The main cities which welcome entrepreneurs, both local and foreign, are Kraków, Wroclaw and Warsaw, with Wroclaw being especially favoured by German importers and exporters due to the easy transport links of the A4 highway which links the countries. These locations also have the advantage of a strong student population due to the excellent universities. As the cost of living is relatively low compared to other European countries, students from all over the world come to study in Poland, making it rich pickings for entrepreneurs who wish to employ an educated and multi-lingual workforce.

Article: How to start a recruitment agency in Poland in 3 steps

The other advantage of employing a Polish team comes from their reputation as punctual hard-workers who are used to achieving in a demanding industrial environment. Polish businesses are used to giving employees incentives and bonuses which push their teams into accomplishing targets. Employers also value experience over education and hire candidates on their potential to develop which also keeps costs down. EU citizens are also entitled to work in Poland without a work permit which saves on administration costs.

In terms of import and export entrepreneurs, Poland’s location offers access to over 500 million consumers due to the fact it is surrounded by six countries – Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus – with an excellent road, rail and freight system to connect them. It also has access to shipping routes through its sea ports of Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Świnoujście. Popular food exports from Poland include wheat, oats, grains, honey, vodka and rapeseed oil which has been particularly useful since the war in the Ukraine halted much of Europe's rapeseed oil supply. Other exports are machinery, cars, electronic equipment and furniture due to the large forested areas in the country.

Poland is also a great place to live for foreign entrepreneurs. The main cities offer some of the country’s biggest cultural landmarks such as museums, churches and castles including the Łazienkowski Palace in Warsaw with its beautiful gardens, and the historical Auschwitz Birkenau which is now a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The nature and wildlife of Poland also provides a welcome break from business with the Tatra Mountains, the Morskie Oko lake, the Bieszczady Mountains, and the Ojcowski National Park.

How to open a company in Poland

For most entrepreneurs who want to start a small to medium sized business in Poland, a limited liability company called a sp. z.o.o. is normally recommended as only one director is needed. The other advantage is that there are no restrictions of foreign shareholders. A minimum share capital would need to be paid up front, and for EU VAT registration you would need at least a virtual office in Poland to satisfy the authorities. Polish companies are also required to maintain accounting records from the moment of registration by a properly authorized person or organization.

If you’d like more information on how to set up a business in Poland, or how to set up a business anywhere in Europe, you can download our free guide below or click on our Poland page for more in-depth details.

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