The biggest asset of the frontier province of Lower Silesia are its inhabitants. In 2012, this region was the second – after the Mazovia – chosen place of residence of foreigners coming to Poland.
As much as 9 percent of all migrant (in the country) Poles chose the Lower Silesia at the same time as their destination. If we look at the profile of the people of this region, it turns out that the Lower Silesia has a higher proportion of people of working age (than the national average). More than 150 thousand. people are studying at public and private universities in Lower Silesia.
All these people come to this part of Poland mostly due to the high quality of life. In turn, the young, energetic and well-educated workforce is one of the factors attracting domestic and foreign investors. To understand the importance of an adequate standard of living for the investors, it is sufficient to recall an anecdote about Wrocław, the capital of the region, circulating in Poland. A few years ago, Wrocław authorities met with representatives of a large, well-known, foreign company, which planned to open in the city their computer center. During the first interview with the mayor they asked, among others, how many bilingual kindergartens there were, how many bilingual schools and what one could do in Wrocław after work. Bosses of that company wanted to select a city, where the managerial personnel would be able to send their children to good schools and the employees would be able to have a good time after work.
All indications are that the quality of life in Lower Silesia, and thus the investment attractiveness of the region will continue to rise. This will happen with the help of funds from the European Union. In the Regional Operational Program for the period 2014-2020, the Lower Silesia has 2.3 billion euros booked (about 600 million more than in the years 2007 to 2013). And this is not the only source of EU funding for this part of Poland, because the Lower Silesia will also draw from the EU's national programs.
The best zone in Europe
High marks for the investment attractiveness of Wrocław and the whole province are given to the region also due to several other factors. The decisive one is the attitude of local government (at all levels) to investors. It's not only about the professional preparation of authorities to serve the investor, but also about the activity of local governments towards business and offered investment incentives (tax reliefs and economic zones).
Lower Silesia is a nationwide leader in yet another category. In the region, there is the largest number of special economic zones in Poland – as many as three. The largest of these is the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone “Invest-Park”. Its creation in 1997 was a response to the closure of mines in Wałbrzych. Suddenly about 20 thousand people were then out of work. Today we can see that the creation of the zone was a hit, because Invest-Park is not only a showcase of Lower Silesia, but also the entire Poland.
Recently, the renowned Financial Times named the Wałbrzych economic zone the fourth best in Europe and 22nd in the world. Additionally, the authors of the FT special report recommended it to small and medium-sized enterprises from around the world.
The Invest-Park consists of: headquarters in Wałbrzych and 26 subzones in the Lower Silesia (including Bolesławiec, Jelcz-Laskowice, Kłodzko, Świdnica, Wrocław and Żarów) with a total area of more than 1,604 hectares. In some sub-zones there are still free investment spaces, for example Wroclaw has more than 130 hectares for business people, while Oława – over 40 hectares.
The Invest-Park offer is complemented by further subzones in Wielkopolska (Jarocin, Kalisz, Kościan, Krotoszyn, Leszno, Rawicz, Śrem, Września), Opole Province (Grodków, Kluczbork, Namysłów, Nysa, Opole, Otmuchów, Praszka, Prudnik and Skarbimierz) and in the Lubusz province (Szprotawa).
Businesses that choose to locate their investments in the Invest-Park, can get public assistance because of the costs incurred for the new project or costs associated with the creation of new jobs. Income tax relief, depending on the project, can be as high as 70 percent.
It should be noted that presence in the Invest-Park zone is a proposition not only for the manufacturing industry, but also an offer for service providers (e.g. IBM already invested here, with their Integrated IT Services Delivery Center). There is no problem with obtaining permits to operate in the area for companies active in the field of services: IT consulting, data processing, web pages management, financial audit, accounting services, technical research and analysis, and customer call centers.
Until now, such well-known companies, inter alia, as Toyota, Bridgestone, IBM, Electrolux and General Electric decided to enter the Invest-Park zone. More information about the zone can be found at: www.invest-park.com.
Another zone that operates in Lower Silesia is the Kamienna Góra Special Economic Zone for Small Business. Business in this zone (area: 413 ha) has already been undertaken by a hundred companies that have made expenditures in the amount of PLN 2 billion. Investments in the SEZ translated into six thousand jobs.
The Kamienna Góra zone is located in the cities of Jawor, Jelenia Góra, Kamienna Góra, Bolków, Mirsk, Piechowice, Lubań, Zgorzelec, Ostrów Wielkopolski and the municipalities: Gryfów Śląski, Janowice, Wielkie, Kamienna Góra, Lubawka, Nowogrodziec, Prusice and Żmigród .
Each of the business, which will start operations in the Kamienna Góra Special Economic Zone, is entitled to public assistance in the form of tax relief. In addition, small and medium-sized businesses can count on an increase in the assistance – by 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively, within regional aid. Local governments, in which a zone is, also apply their own relief in the case of determining the amount of property tax.
An undoubted asset of the SEZ for Small Business is its proximity to the Czech and German borders, and the proximity of the A-4 motorway and, soon to be completed, the S3 expressway.
To date, the offer of the Kamienna Góra SEZ has been used by such companies as: Kalibra (plastic packaging), Contur 2000 (machining metal parts), HS Lubań (hydraulic cylinders) and Takata Parts (Japanese manufacturer of seat belts). More information on how to invest in this area can be found at: www.ssemp.pl.
The Legnica Special Economic Zone is a total of more than 1,200 hectares of developable land in 18 subzones. Legnica SEZ began in the mid-1990s in the premises previously occupied by the Red Army. Today it is actively working to assist the economic development of Lower Silesia.
The Legnica SEZ investors can count on a 25 percent tax relief, and in some cases (depending on the size of the company and expenditures) even a relief of 45 percent. To this, must be added the possible local tax allowances, assistance of local authorities in applying for EU funding or grants and loans for workers training and efforts to create new jobs.
To date, business in the Legnica SEZ has been undertaken by such companies as: Viessmann, Winkelmann, Huras and Volkswagen.
There is life outside the zone
One should also take a look at what is happening in the economy of Lower Silesia, expanding beyond the economic zones. For the pride of the region is the Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin, the copper mining area located in five counties, one of the largest in the world.
It is on LGOM that Lower Silesian smelters (“Legnica”, “Głogów” and “Cedynia”) and the company KGHM, a well-known producer of copper, are based. Due to KGHM, the Legnica Technology Park was also created, which in addition to conference rooms, office facilities and business advisory also offers land in the immediate vicinity of the “Legnica” Copper Smelter.
Speaking about the economy of Lower Silesia one cannot omit the Wrocław Technology Park, which as its main objective is committed to the promotion of innovative projects in business. An important advantage of the WTP is that the shareholders of the company, outside the city of Wrocław, are the three largest universities: University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw University of Technology and the University of Life Sciences.
Already in the Park there are about 160 companies, which employ more than 1.3 thousand. people. Additionally, WTP is a great offer for companies that are looking for space for conferences and business meetings.
Each of the companies operating or still planning to start operations in Lower Silesia, can fully benefit from the professional support of local business organizations. If someone has just founded their own company, they definitely should be interested in the Lower Silesian Academic Business Incubator active in the Wrocław Technology Park. AIP provides training, legal advice, office space, and also gives substantive support to entrepreneurs.
Other companies can join one of the many clusters in Lower Silesia. These include Nutribiomed, Lower Silesian Commodities Cluster, E-health, Renewable Energy cluster or ICT.
All this makes Lower Silesia very popular among Polish and foreign investors. To date, the investments in this region have been made by companies with American, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, German and Korean capital.