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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 26, 2010
From the Business Editor
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Attracting innovators
August 26, 2010   
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The global financial crisis has not harmed Poland’s investment appeal. International corporations choosing to launch new projects in Poland are no longer doing so on account of the country’s large market and relatively low labor costs, but are attracted by the well-educated staff who can help them develop the most technologically advanced ventures.

Along with positive GDP growth and soaring industrial production, the potential of the Polish economy is reflected by the growing interest Poland is generating among foreign investors. According to the central bank of Poland, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Poland totaled over 5 billion euros in the first half of the year, 75 percent more than in the same period last year. Poland’s growing investment appeal is also illustrated by the accomplishments of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ), which in the first half of the year successfully concluded negotiations on 29 new projects. This is three times the number from the first half of last year.

The rising number and value of the projects aside, it is the type of the projects that looks particularly promising. While new production facilities still dominate, their role is diminishing in favor of highly specialized services and research and development in sectors such as telecommunications, computer science, the machine industry and aviation. Projects requiring high qualifications, known as intellectual businesses, account for a quarter of all projects handled by the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency.

Poland’s growing attractiveness is also reflected by the way in which it is viewed by well-known international institutions. Strategic consulting company AT Kearney’s 2010 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index shows that Poland is perceived as one of the world’s best investment destinations. Poland came in sixth in the investment confidence index, right behind China, the United States, India, Brazil and Germany. Since the previous study was released in 2007, Poland has climbed 16 notches, the greatest improvement among the 25 most attractive countries. Poland has also improved its standing in league tables in terms of innovation. In the latest European Innovation Scoreboard 2009, Poland advanced from the group of Catching-up Countries to that of Moderate Innovators.

Polish and foreign companies willing to develop modern business need well-educated and creative staff. That should not be a problem, as such people are increasingly numerous. Young Polish scientists have for years been successful in international mathematical and IT competitions. One of the most recent examples are the world finals of the Imagine Cup, the world’s largest technology competition for university students, organized by the Microsoft corporation. The prestigious event had its finals in Warsaw this year and Polish teams won a number of prizes. In one category, Polish contestants took all three spots on the podium. Hopefully, new investment in innovative projects developed by international corporations will encourage the most gifted and talented people to stay in Poland rather than pursue careers abroad, as was common practice in the past.
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