Silesia offers the world’s second-best economic zone, which has already proven attractive to foreign investors
Foreign trade partners constantly seek attractive markets for investment. Their choices are influenced by many factors. From their point of view, the conditions for entering the market and opportunities for long-term cooperation, as well as the business environment and infrastructure, are critical. Poland’s Silesian Voivodeship is an area that attracts the attention of foreign contractors interested in innovative products and services. Silesian companies are already bolstering their investment potential by participating in the Global Silesia project implemented by the Marshal’s Office of the Silesian Voivodeship and the Upper Silesian Fund S.A., which support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in their expansion into new markets.
Before the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the business reality was much simpler and more predictable. Companies from various sectors, including innovative ones, had spent many years building their contact networks. Cost-containment was of great importance as well. Entrepreneurs also tried to meet the expectations of customers who wanted fast delivery of products and efficient provision of services. However, today’s global situation poses completely new challenges to the business world, requiring greater flexibility in action, creativity, and activity in many markets. Paradoxically, it may create greater opportunities for Polish companies that want to develop in many ways and strive to minimize seasonal fluctuations in demand on only one local market.
Silesia – a reliable and safe market for foreign investors
Silesia is among those regions of Poland that are becoming more and more open to foreign investors. This is in no small part thanks to the fact that it is an economically strong region that focuses on dynamic development in many areas. A leader in terms of employment in industry, construction, and services, Silesia is also Poland’s most industrialized and urbanized region. Furthermore, it is appreciated by foreign investors who find its excellent connection to Poland and Europe a major advantage. Apart from the Katowice airport, the A4 and A1 motorways and railway connections – domestic and international alike – are readily available for use. Silesia is also a region offering enormous scientific and research potential, which is of great importance for companies focusing on the development of new technologies. Silesia has as many as 44 universities and numerous scientific institutions. The Silesian Voivodeship also creates great opportunities for investors due to its significant human capital, with more than 4.5 million people living in this area of Poland.
The Silesian Voivodeship generates nearly 12.3% of Poland’s GDP and ranks second nationwide in this respect. It is also a leading exporter of products and services, accounting for as much as 13% of domestic exports in 2017 alone. The fact that as many as 486,000 entities operate in Silesia also contributes to the positive image of Silesia and its economic potential. While its investment attractiveness is determined primarily by rich natural resources such as zinc and lead deposits, hard coal, and natural gas deposits, it is companies specializing in new technologies, digitization, and automation that have now come to the fore. The Silesian Voivodeship is also developing more and more dynamically in the field of modern business services.
Silesia offers the best special economic zone in Europe
A vital economic link and an investor-attracting magnet, the Katowice Special Economic Zone has already been recognized several times as the best such zone in Europe, with the Financial Times going as far as to list it second worldwide in its prestigious FDI Business ranking on two separate occasions. The Katowice Special Economic Zone was established in 1996 to create new jobs and accelerate restructuring. Today, the KSEZ is home to 450 enterprises, which employ a total of 80,000 people. The KSEZ provides businesses with plots of land, ready-to-use production and machine halls, as well as offices for rent. It supports entrepreneurs in terms of content and offers educational and vocational training projects, and enables participation in meetings as part of thematic groups.
Companies from Silesia take advantage of the opportunities offered by internationalization projects implemented by Upper Silesian Fund S.A. Thanks to comprehensive support, they gain knowledge, contacts, and practical tips that help them make decisions about business development. Global Silesia helps businesses to start working with foreign investors, with trade missions and international trade fairs being immensely helpful in this regard. Recently, Silesian entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to establish business relations with representatives of companies from such states as Georgia, Croatia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. In taking the first steps on their way to success, they are also helped by training sessions organized as part of the Internationalization Academy. Thanks to these sessions, entrepreneurs receive extensive knowledge about investors from prospective foreign markets and prepare for the internationalization of their activities in an orderly and comprehensive manner.
The Silesian companies’ primary areas of specialization that may prove attractive to investors include medicine, information technology, energy, green economy, and emerging industries. Companies focused on modern services evidently have a chance to attract foreign investors and open a new chapter in their business development.
The project “Economic promotion of the region and activities related to the creation of favorable conditions for investment and export” is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Regional Operational Program of the Silesian Voivodeship for 2014-2020.