Full Speed Ahead
July 9, 2014 By Piotr Aleksandrowicz
From time to time Poland's Central Statistical Office (GUS) publishes interesting data on companies. A few days ago it reported how many businesses founded in 2008 had survived at least five years. It turns out that the figure was over 30 percent despite a poor economy in 2009 and 2012. This is a very good result testifying to the substantial vitality of new businesses. The five-year survival index has been about the same since the start of the century, and has even risen a bit lately. Given that 275,000 to 300,000 new firms are registered every year, 80,000 to 90,000 of those set up this year should survive at least five years.
Another study describes the growth of business operations in Poland. It divides firms into rapidly growing enterprises that reported a minimum of 72.4 percent sales growth in total from 2010 to 2012; expanding enterprises (from 10 to 72 percent over the three years); stable enterprises (decrease or growth of no more than 10 percent for the whole period); waning enterprises (sales dropped to 51-90 percent of the sales from the start of the three-year period); and rapidly declining enterprises (at least a 20-percent decrease annually on average, with sales dropping to less than half in all).
In 2012, rapidly growing and expanding businesses accounted for over half the firms in the study. As regards waning and rapidly declining companies, these accounted for less than a quarter of the total. The best situation was in industry and transport; things went less well in construction and in the culture, entertainment and recreation sectors. But even in areas where the percentage of waning enterprises was above average, more firms were developing rapidly rather than folding.
The moral of the story is that entrepreneurs are coping even though recent years have been so-so for the economy as a whole. It's just that you seldom read about it, unfortunately. I spent a good hour searching websites for optimistic information instead of news items about fraud. I found only a few bits of upbeat news. The one I enjoyed the most was that Wielton, a Polish trailer and semitrailer manufacturer, submitted a final bid for the acquisition of a not much smaller trailer and semitrailer maker in France. Thanks to this, if all goes well, the Polish company will see its annual sales leap to zl.1 billion, becoming one of the biggest trailer and semitrailer manufacturers in Europe. Let's keep out fingers crossed.