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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 13, 2010
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Internet Revolution
January 13, 2010 By A.R.    
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1.6 billion euros is how much the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invested in Central and Eastern Europe in 2009, according to Peter Reiniger, the bank's director for Central Europe. The EBRD lent more than 400 million euros to Polish institutions in sectors such as finance, IT and energy, Reiniger said.

Google, working with an employers' organization and an internet service provider, has launched a campaign to help small and medium-sized businesses promote themselves on the internet.

Poland has almost 16 million internet users. Most of them start looking for products and services by checking out information and opinions on the internet. Eighty percent of users say they go online to compare products and prices before purchasing, regardless of whether they actually buy online or offline. One in three adult Poles, and two-thirds of internet users, have bought something online.

Google, the Lewiatan Polish Confederation of Private Employers and home.pl, the largest internet service provider to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Central and Eastern Europe, launched a joint campaign in October to encourage Polish entrepreneurs to be actively present on the internet. This could be one way of increasing the competitive edge of the Polish economy as a whole.

"An internet presence is one of the most effective means of developing business operations, particularly during a worsened economic situation," says Artur Waliszewski, director of Google Polska. "The latest survey conducted by SMG/KRC and commissioned by Google shows that 47 percent of SMEs in Poland have a website. This means that over half still don't exist on the internet. In addition, 66 percent of them don't plan to set up a website in the next 12 months. Why? The main reason they give is that there's no such need and that they don't want to develop their operations. That's why we decided on our campaign, The Internet Revolution, to help these companies discover the internet's potential."

Under the campaign, which will continue until the end of March, almost a million SMEs operating in Poland will be given the opportunity to learn more about effectively using the internet in their business. The main element of the campaign is a promotional offer in which SMEs can take their first steps on the internet without financial risk: from registering their own domain and building their first website using a WWW page creator, to advertising with Google.
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