As many as fourteen companies from the list of the hundred largest Polish exporters (2012) have their headquarters in Lower Silesia. This region generates each year about 12 percent of total Polish exports. Goods coming from the Lower Silesian province products reach the German, Czech, French, British, Italian and even Chinese and American markets. Of course – because of geographical proximity – most goods from Lower Silesia are bought by the Germans and Czechs.
At this point the best Lower Silesian export commodity is mineral resources (copper, noble metals and stones), and products made therefrom. Success is also enjoyed by large household appliances, smaller electronics, computers, vehicle parts and accessories.
It is clear that many Lower Silesian businesses, both with Polish and foreign capital, used well the export opportunity. This does not mean that any other companies cannot join this group and find themselves on the list of the largest Polish exporters.
To achieve this, one should be well prepared. The best way to secure the cooperation of the Lower Silesian Center for Investors and Exporters (COIE). Here, a few words of explanation should be said: a nationwide COIE network is a system program of the Ministry of the Economy, which provides for the establishment of such centers in the structure of the Governor Offices in each of the provinces. The overall objective of this project is to facilitate business development of Polish entrepreneurs in the international direction. COIE offer not only professional studies characterizing the foreign markets, but also help in finding international tenders of interest to representatives of Polish enterprises.
The activities of the Lower Silesian COIE is supervised by the Lower Silesian Economic Cooperation Agency. The center began its operations in November 2012.
Missions, meetings, lectures
Thinking about the development of export, each of the Lower Silesian enterprises should be interested in traveling to foreign missions, trade fairs or in attending seminars, lectures and workshops organized in Poland (largely free). Offers of such events are regularly posted on the website of the Center for Investors and Exporters.
One of the recently completed missions (November 2014) was a trip to Belarus on the occasion of Polish-Belarusian Economic Forum. True, it was a trip organized by the National Chamber of Commerce, but all the necessary information about the mission also appeared on the COIE site. This proves that the Centre is a comprehensive database of information about such events.
The mission to Belarus was of multi-sector nature, but – as the organizers reminded – foreign partners in this case are most interested in establishing cooperation with manufacturers of agricultural machinery, cars, tractors, furniture, as well as industries such as pharmaceuticals and information technology. So all of this, for which the Lower Silesia is famous, and in what it is economically strong.
Another attractive event striking the potential of Lower Silesian companies was Agromek agricultural fair in Denmark (November 24-28, 2014).. True, Lower Silesia is not an agricultural region, but opportunities of bringing new business contracts from the West existed also for manufacturers of boilers. And those are aplenty in Lower Silesia.
Business could also benefit from the trip to the Israfood fair – the biggest food industry event in Israel. The Department of Trade and Investment Promotion had a stand at the fair, where its representatives promoted Polish companies.
Missions, trips and fairs are not the only pro-export activities, which are supported by the province’s authorities. An equally important element in the expansion of export potential are visits to the Lower Silesia by foreign business people and local governments.
The province governor’s proxy for international relations, Krzysztof Bramorski and the province governor himself, Cezary Przybylski met e.g. with Barbara Woltmann (Member of the Bundestag from Lower Saxony), Robin Barnett (UK Ambassador), Jakub Karfik (Czech Ambassador) and Miguel Angel Cuna (consul of the Republic of Argentina).
They were not only courtesy visits, but much space was devoted to economic cooperation.
Assistance on all planes
Both present and future exporters should establish close cooperation with the Center for Investors and Exporters, because it is an opportunity for invaluable assistance in business outside Poland.
COIE will assist free of charge each of the Lower Silesian entrepreneurs in many cases. The most important forms of assistance are:
- Definition of the foreign market for a particular product, service or even project. This means that experts will tell the entrepreneur whether, and if so –what market it pays for him to enter with their products or services.
- Finding details on potential business partners in the given country. Experts also prepare comprehensive reports on foreign markets and place in them current economic data from the countries concerned. In a word – COIE can provide full documentation to a Lower Silesian company needed to build a base for export business.
And now the most important – Center’s experts can prepare free of charge a recommendation of an export strategy for a particular market or suggest proper marketing. Of course, these proposals will take into account the economic and cultural specificities of the countries involved.
Furthermore, the IAC will easily submit information on the sources and forms of raising funds for export activities and investments abroad. Funds can be derived both from EU aid programs – regional and national, as well as from public funds.
The Lower Silesian Center, through contacts with the Departments of Trade and Investment Promotion at the Polish embassies, offer Polish companies also assistance in establishing contacts with economic and circum-business institutions in that country. Surely this can contribute to the export success of the business.
Reports, analyses, guides
Let us note that one does not need to establish formal cooperation with COIE to use the services of the Center. On the COIE website there are, for example, 44 expert market guides.
These are complete and well-prepared publications (hard copies are available in various COIE locations), which gather basic information about markets and economic realities of specific countries. The list of countries described in the existing guides includes Algeria, Denmark, France, Greece, Spain, Tajikistan, USA, Hungary or Uzbekistan.
In addition to ready foreign markets guides and public market analyses, through the COIE one can also request more detailed reports on the condition of a particular industry in the country. Such an analysis is prepared by a specialized institution dealing with the characteristics of the markets in the country. The analysis is provided to businesses in English, but thanks to some Departments of Trade and Investment Promotion it is also possible to translate it into Polish.
Preparation of such an analysis is free of charge, as long as it is ordered by a group of at least four companies from the industry, unrelated by capital.
To order such an analysis, one should complete an individual application (it should be done by the representatives of all four companies) and send it to the Lower Silesian COIE headquarters (contact details are at the end of the article). The analysis will be prepared following a favorable opinion of the application by the Ministry of Economy and the Department of Trade and Investments Promotion acting in the proper country, of interest to the entrepreneurs.
COIE is thus the first institution, towards which the first steps should be made by representatives of a company thinking about the export of their goods or services. The center is an excellent channel to reach potential contractors, clients and investors. Entrepreneurs willing to cooperate gain access to the cooperation platform, database and exchange of experience. It is also no secret that owing to free economic papers, Polish companies reduce the cost of entering (or increasing their share in) foreign markets.
Not only COIE
Lower Silesian entrepreneurs attempting export activities should also cooperate with the Lower Silesian Agency for Economic Cooperation. It offers mediation in dealing with the Departments of Trade and Investment Promotion, informs of foreign missions and fairs.
One should also pay attention to the Eastern Markets Department operating in the structure of the DAWG. This is a special unit, which was created in response to the rapidly growing cooperation of Lower Silesia with the Minsk oblast in Belarus. Already in 2008, this cooperation intensified to such an extent that the first Polish-Belarusian Economic Forum was organized. From that moment DAWG has had an extensive database of contacts and commercial offers, which can be used by Silesian companies.
The Eastern Markets Department also offers assistance in establishing such contacts; it can be e.g. legal or language assistance. It also helps in organizing trade missions, business meetings and seminars.
The foreign partners of the Eastern Markets Department are: Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Minsk Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers, Minsk Free Economic Zone, as well as Ukrainian entities: Investment Promotion Agency in Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Another tool of support to Lower Silesian exporters is the portal www.eksporter.gov.pl. It is a platform for exchange of information on the business needs of foreign companies. At www.eksporter.gov.pl foreign companies post their announcements about their search of Polish business partners.
The portal is also an easy and efficient tool to find interesting and reliable international tenders. Operation of the site’s search engine is very simple – just type the keyword of interest (industry or product name) in the appropriate field to view the current tenders corresponding to our query. Additionally, the fact that the contents posted here are translated into Polish is additional help.
All these activities are complemented by a possibility to verify the Chinese partners. Portal www.chinskiraport.pl is an opportunity to overcome the barriers deterrent for entrepreneurs. Thanks to the site one can easily and relatively quickly check a Chinese partner. The process takes about 72 hours. After this time, one gains access to the Chinese National Court Register of the company. In addition, using the portal the Polish entrepreneur receives complete and up-to-date information about certificates held by the given company and information from credible Chinese offices.
Address of the Lower Silesian Center for Investors and Exporters:
Dolnośląska Agencja Współpracy Gospodarczej Sp z.o.o.
ul. Kotlarska 42,
tel. +48 71 344 02 86
fax +48 71 344 02 85