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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 28, 2015
The Lubelskie Voice
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Driven by Entrepreneurship
January 28, 2015   
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Artur Habza, director of the Department of Business and Innovation at the Lublin Province Chairman’s Office, talks to Bartosz Grzybiński.

This year promises to see some bold initiatives to accelerate economic development in the Lublin region. For several months, the Lublin Province Chairman’s Office has been preparing to step up collaboration with entrepreneurs as part of the “Business Marketing for Lublin Province” project. What can the Office do for the business sector today?
The aim of the project is to strengthen the business image and the investment attractiveness of Lublin province as well as to improve the region’s economic competitiveness and create new jobs. The most important measures targeted at businesses include the organization of business trips abroad for businesspeople to attend trade fairs and business missions. Our experience from last year shows that there is growing interest among entrepreneurs from Asia and Europe in establishing ties with businesses from Lublin province. Many of these businesses show big potential in terms of joint projects. I am convinced that entrepreneurs from Africa can also prove to be good partners for Polish businesses. Polish tractors assembled at the Ursus factory in Lublin are already being exported to Ethiopia. Ursus is in the process of carrying out an order for 3,000 tractors, and the value of the contract is $90 million. In December we started airing commercials designed to encourage investment in Lublin province on Al-Jazeera television. We want to take advantage of this wave of interest in our region and also open up to markets in Arab countries—we have already made inroads during a mission to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Export.invest.lubelskie is a joint initiative by the Lublin Province Chairman’s Office and the Polish subsidiary of the global advisory firm PwC. What kind of support will be extended to investors and exporters as part of this project?
We want to straighten out the investor and exporter support system in operation in Lublin province. Plans include a study of the investment and export potential of the region and analysis of the needs of the Lublin business sector. We have just begun implementing the export.invest.lubelskie initiative. Actively taking part in this project are entrepreneurs, local government authorities and business institutions. We have already held 11 consultation sessions that provided an opportunity to exchange views and opinions about the region’s strategic approach to cooperation with companies. Information obtained during these consultations became the basis for working out a model of a system for providing services and support to entrepreneurs in the Lublin region. In principle, the system does not imply a revolution in the existing structures. Consequently, implementation should be fast and lead to benefits for the region. We decided that the top priorities should be to focus on the service recipient, stimulate cooperation, and monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and make any necessary adjustments. The model assumes centralization at the province level and simultaneous cooperation at three local government levels. Plans to build a center of excellence to operate out of the Lublin Province Chairman’s Office are geared toward improving the quality of support throughout the region. The project also takes into account specific industries of key importance to the development of investment in Lublin province, in line with the Smart Specialization Strategy adopted for the region. One support tool will be the Business Test Team, composed of representatives from businesses, including exporters based in Lublin province as well as existing and potential investors and business institutions. An additional component of the project will be the Biznes Młodych (Young Business) crowdsourcing platform, which will enable students from Poland and abroad as well as entrepreneurs and other interested parties to submit their own business ideas, and to have them reviewed and supported.
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