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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » August 26, 2010
Traditional and Modern
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Traditional and Modern
August 26, 2010   
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Tadeusz Ferenc, the mayor of Rzeszów, talks to Magdalena Łasak about the city’s rapid development.

In recent years the city of Rzeszów has grown in importance as a major urban center in eastern Poland. It is developing rapidly and changing its image. How did this come about?
Rzeszów came first in Poland in terms of making best use of European Union funds per capita. Credit for the city’s rapid development is due not just to us but chiefly to entrepreneurs and investors, whom we provide with very favorable conditions. We have a special post at Rzeszów City Hall Office—our service point for entrepreneurs—for contacts with investors and give them any help we can with formalities, from land purchase to the start of construction.

One of our major goals is to establish a Special Economic Zone on 450 hectares. We have taken the first step and as of March 15 we have a zone covering 25 hectares. We are confident that the conditions we offer there are attractive enough to bring in new investors. This is confirmed by the Aeropolis—the Podkarpackie Science and Technology Park that is right next to Rzeszów-Jasionka International Airport. Factories have been built there by well-known companies like MTU, a manufacturer of aircraft parts, and Borg Warner, a manufacturer of turbocompressors.

Areas within the city limits, regularly expanded as of 2006, are a good place for investors from the residential construction sector. The demand for housing is so great today that most apartments are sold at the design stage. We estimate that over the coming years, tens of thousands of new homes could be built in the city.

The promotional slogan “Rzeszów-Capital of Innovation” sounds very ambitious…
We should set ourselves ambitious goals. The Rzeszów brand is based on this being an innovative city, a national hub and model of innovation in the economy, culture and science. Investment in advanced technology is considered among the most worthwhile options here. It is innovation that largely determines the local economy’s competitive edge. We have a growing number of such projects in Rzeszów, such as the Aviation Valley Association grouping aircraft industry companies, one of the most modern and best-functioning industrial clusters in Europe. These companies use the latest manufacturing technology in their production.

The Podkarpackie IT Cluster, on the other hand, brings together companies from the IT sector, the leader being Asseco Poland, one of Europe’s largest IT companies. The Academic Pre-incubator affiliated with the Rzeszów University of Technology comprises a dozen or so companies and a laboratory. It prepares students, graduates and young scientists for setting up their own businesses based on advanced technology. Also on the list of innovative institutions is the Regional Advanced Technology Transfer Center whose tasks include upgrading the professional qualifications of employees who are specialists in rare fields. I would also like to mention that right now, over a half of the city’s area has radio coverage that gives residents access to free broadband internet. This radio signal is also used by city security cameras and to control traffic lights.

But an innovative economy needs qualified workers…
Our region has a great aeronautical tradition. We have many specialists but we still need more. That’s why we are pinning great hopes on young people, who are a huge asset for us. More than 60,000 students are enrolled on 60 different college courses in Rzeszów, and there are 40,000 students at other schools. The biggest employers, like WSK-PZL Rzeszów, already see the problem of a shortage of specialists. That’s why they sign agreements with secondary schools, helping them train youngsters in key professions, providing scholarships and guaranteeing them jobs. They also cooperate with the Rzeszów University of Technology, a school that educates technical staff. Various reports that specialist firms prepare for investors describe Rzeszów as a city with extensive access to qualified employees. As you can see, our city is modern, dynamic in its development, while the residents are guaranteed jobs in interesting fields as well as broad access to culture and recreation. Rzeszów is a good place to live.
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