The Warsaw Voice » Business » Monthly - August 29, 2013
Business & Economy
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Bydgoszcz Reinvented
Bydgoszcz is a city that has been changing and that is capable of springing a surprise or two, says its mayor, Rafał Bruski.

Bydgoszcz is being promoted as a city where “life is more colorful.” In what business sector can this be seen most clearly?
Bydgoszcz has been able to take advantage of qualified staff and infrastructure which for years formed the basis of the former electronic and telecommunications industries in the city. These assets have been successfully adapted for the new, buoyant IT services sector, which serves as a strong support for the local economy.

Major Polish and international companies have chosen to invest capital in Bydgoszcz and they include Alcatel-Lucent Polska, Atos IT Services, SDL, Mobica, Genesys, Asseco Systems, Sunrise System, Teleplan Polska, Tel-Dat, Tyco Electronics Polska, Jabil and Livingston International. The reputation of Bydgoszcz is further strengthened by local business leaders, such as the internationally known PESA Bydgoszcz rolling stock factory. The BPO/SSC sector in Bydgoszcz employs around 4,000 people. Almost 70 percent of them work in the IT sector, 20 percent in finance and accounting and 10 percent at call centers. Current statistics show that BPO/SSC is one of the fastest growing sectors in the city while in 2012-2013, employment grew more than 110 percent in the IT sector alone.

What draws outsourcing companies to Bydgoszcz?
What matters to potential investors is that Bydgoszcz is the largest city in Kujawy-Pomerania province and, with a population of over 360,000, it is the eighth largest city in Poland. It is home to a young and resourceful community with an age average below 36. Bydgoszcz has an international airport which is constantly expanding its flight network.

Another important factor is that the city offers around 42,000 square meters of office space. Addressing the interest outsourcing companies have been showing in our city, we are planning to add another 33,000 sq m. Furthermore, the management board of the Pomerania Special Economic Zone has assured us that office space can be included in the zone.

The city pays a great deal of attention to university-level education and fosters ties between universities and business.

Bydgoszcz is home to the prestigious University of Technology and Life Sciences and the Kazimierz Wielki University along with several renowned higher education institutions. In total, there are 16 such institutions with more than 42,000 students in Bydgoszcz—over half of all the students in Kujawy-Pomerania province. The young people study subjects such as IT, economics, marketing and management and linguistics.

Does Bydgoszcz aspire to be seen as an academic city?
This is one of the underpinnings of the city’s development. We want to make the most of the potential of higher education institutions and we need to take action to strengthen the image of Bydgoszcz as an academic city. Joint projects which the academic and business communities have been undertaking to foster the local economy include new majors at universities to address the demand on the labor market. These include IT-related majors, finance, engineering and logistics.

Key guidelines for the future of education in Bydgoszcz are contained the Strategy for the Development of Education in the City of Bydgoszcz in 2013-2020, compiled this year. The document outlines measures to be taken over the coming eight years and names several goals, including more efficient education, adjusting education on all levels to the demands of the economy and labor market and a high level of qualifications which are of key importance in all types of schools.

Rafał Bruski, 51, is married with two children.
He graduated from the Faculty of Navigation at the Gdynia Maritime University in 1986 and spent six years working for Polskie Linie Oceaniczne as a navigation officer on merchant vessels. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in finance and banking at the Poznań University of Economics. He also studied accounting and finance at the Poznań University of Economics and European Union tax law at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.

In 1994-2005, Bruski worked for the Tax Inspector’s Office. In 2005, he qualified as a tax advisor and opened a tax consulting firm. In 2006-2007, he was deputy mayor of Bydgoszcz and in 2007-2010 he was the Kujawy-Pomerania province governor. He has been mayor of Bydgoszcz since 2010.