Export will build the image of the province worldwide, and consequently, there will appear new opportunities of increasing the production volume; eventually, new investors will be attracted and new jobs will be offered.
Basing upon an analysis of Great Poland’s export potential commissioned by the local government, the province is ranked among most important provinces in Poland in terms of volume of export sales produced in SME (small and medium enterprises), and its share in the entire Polish SME sector is 17%.
The value of goods sold abroad by Great Poland’s companies totaled almost 12 billion EUR, which means a 10% share in the entire Polish export volume. Most products are exported to UE countries, and they come from the automotive, metal, pharmaceutical, food and wood and paper making branches. In the year 2010, the total value of goods sold and made in Greater Poland was 39.89 billion PLN, which means an 83.2% share in the export volume from the entire province. Main customers of the companies of this region are from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Russia.
Regional companies might consider export as a chance of their development, but at the same time, they indicate a series of barriers – viz. variable exchange rates of currencies, unstable economic situation, poor knowledge of foreign languages and lack of knowledge of formal and legal issues on foreign markets.Enterprises expect a support and assistance in this field. This regards predominantly small and medium enterprises because for budgetary limits they cannot afford an appropriate promotion or individual checks on foreign partners.
Enterprises highly appreciate access to analyses and assistance with gaining partners from outside Poland as well as co-financing their participation in fairs, travels etc. Hence, some regional initiatives aimed at supporting exporters.
Export development is supported in the region by the (COIE) Wielkopolskie Centrum Obsługi Inwestorów i Eksporterów (Greater Poland’s Investors and Exporters Service Centre). It belongs to the network of information centers which have been established all over the country as a result of the cooperation between the Ministry of Economy and provincial local governments.
The Wielkopolskie Centrum Obsługi Inwestorów i Eksporterów is to help micro and small enterprises who make the first steps on international markets and to support export of medium- and large-sized enterprises. This organization employs experts whose task is giving free-of-charge assistance to entrepreneurs. In order to make use of services rendered by COIE experts, all you should do is either e-mailing a question or make an appointment at the Center seat at the Marshal Office of Greater Poland Province (Urzad Marszałkowski Województwa Wielkopolskiego), at ul. Przemysłowa 46 , Posen.
Any entrepreneur who applies to the COIE will be given gratuitous advice, which means saving time and money that otherwise would be spent for market recognition. In many cases, this barrier turns out to be insuperable for medium-sized and small enterprises, whereas the COI helps overcome it. First of all, enterprise representatives are provided free of charge with information pertinent to foreign markets on which an enterprise would like to launch its product or service. The COIE enables one to reach reliable sources of information and to find potential business partners. Information is made available in the form of data bases of potential business partners, reports and market analyses by making use of international sources.
The COIE supplies as well information on administrative and legal conditions in the selected country. A comprehensive offer for potential exporters is crowned with a possibility of a company’s participation in international fairs and branch meetings.
In the recent 20 years, in Greater Poland there have been held more than 20 gratuitous informative meetings targeted at future exporters. Then, there have been as well organized more than 60 meetings with representatives of Polish and foreign enterprises, chambers of commerce and other business environment institutions. Information on possible support for export has reached over 500 people from various companies and branches.
An important part in the system of supporting exporters in Greater Poland is the Poznan International Fair. At the biggest fair events available are information and promotion desks. At such events organized are also conferences and meetings with representatives of the institutions visited by exporters, viz.: banks, insurers, customs chamber, embassies or chambers of commerce and industry.
Since the year 2009, Greater Poland, seeing a chance of export development, has been promoting native companies with its own resources. Under a project with financial co-participation (UE funds), Greater Poland’s entrepreneurs have been offered a possibility of establishing direct contacts with foreign business partners. The project of the Greater Poland Local Government was the only initiative of this kind in Poland.
The promotion of Greater Poland’s economy was targeted at a few geographical directions determined through appropriate analyses. Business missions were organized to countries with dynamically growing GDP and strong development potential in view of the branches represented by Greater Poland’s entrepreneurs.
In the first phase, attention was focused on BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), and thereafter, missions were organized to Far East – viz. Korea, Japan and Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and to Near East -where contacts were established in Iraq and Iran. Greater Poland’s companies sought also markets for goods and cooperation in Africa.
While choosing Africa, the local government emphasized that African countries are nowadays extremely important for their natural resources and fast growing needs. As far as contacts with Africa are concerned, the Polish asset is having hand no colonial history on that continent, which implies a positive attitude towards Poland. Helpful should be as well contacts established through African graduates from Polish universities and colleges.
During missions, their participants gained information on possible access to a given foreign market, business environment institutions which support trade and investment cooperation or offer legal advice. There were also held some B2B meetings. Support was also given to the participation in trade fair events, in which case the assistance for exporters is aimed at certain export specializations related to the clusters operating in Greater Poland. Companies dealing with design were also given support.
Greater Poland’s stands were arranged at the most important CeBIT IT trade fair in Hannover , ILA Air Shows in Paris and Berlin , WorldFood in Moscow, and eventually at the furniture fair Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Greater Poland showed its economic and research potential at the most important European investment fair events, respectively, MIPIM in Cannes and ExpoReal in Munchen.
Since the very origin of the project, there have been organized in total thirty business missions, and Greater Poland has been promoted at more than twenty international fair events. In such initiatives participated more than 500 entrepreneurs, representatives of Greater Poland’s universities and colleges, business environment institutions and local government units.
The business mission project will be continued in the nearest future by making use of EU new financial perspective funds.