The Polish economy is one that is roaring ahead at a significantly fast speed that makes the rest of Europe somewhat jealous, a comparison can be made to another high-growth market, Vietnam, about the number of Skyscrapers that are going up around Warsaw across the city, similar to Ho Chi Minh’s current rise. Just last year Poland become the first out of the former Soviet bloc nations to be ranked as a ‘developed’ market by various credit rating agencies.
This is in stark difference to when the country was wracked by galloping inflation and corruption after it broke free from the Soviet’s grip. In fact, not only has it come a long way in regards to economic growth and prosperity, but during the 2008 Global Recession, it was the singular country in Europe to record growth during the crisis.
Strength is reflected in numerous shining (current) statistics that are brought up that demonstrate the ‘economic miracle’ that is taking place in the country. Statistics such as the low unemployment rate of 5.3% and an annual GDP growth rate of 4.7%, coupled with an inflation rate of just 1.96% in 2019, gives credence to the possibility of endless opportunities. As the rest of Europe’s economic woes become more and more apparent, this market sees more and more innovation and foreign direct investment, in fact the Polish government (on behalf of the EU) has only just announced a 700 million Euro investment drive that would see the government ‘match’ unit for unit of an investors stake into an enterprise.
This investment drive has materialized in iniatives like the more than 500 accelerators active in Poland, and the list of FinTech companies operating in the country also proves that the place is an attractive place for entrepreneurs and innovators. With a maturing market in developing technologies such as blockchain, led by startups such as Trudatum and Coinfirm, it has seen a surge of international companies eyeing the market, Revolut and Qualtrics being but a few.
Owing to it’s geographical location, it sits between the East and the West, making it a focal point for the connection of trade. The Belt and Road Initiative also stretches here all the way from China whilst the infrastructure that the EU provides for the developing economy gives it the benefit of both worlds.
Additionally, Poland is located in the region with the most STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates concentration per 1,000 people in the world. These people are the brains of the country that have powered the tech rise and are able to service so many financial institutions and tech companies that come here to outsource tasks. Poland is thus one of the most attractive in terms of outsourcing, with more than 500 foreign companies with Business Process Outsourcing, Shared Service Centres and Research and Development Hubs, employing over 250,000 people in this way.
The country’s reputation as a leading research spot has a long history. Poland’s cultural and scientific contributions have been remarkable; from the man who placed the Sun instead of the Earth at the centre of the universe, Nicolaus Copernicus, the world-famous composer, Frédéric Chopin and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie.
With a population of more than 38 million people and rising wages amongst the fastest in Europe, the market is increasingly looking as more of a market to sell to, and not just to sell from. This is proved by the market position of the country, with Poland being the biggest FinTech market in the CEE region (Central Eastern Europe), with an estimated value of EUR 856 million.
Looking at the different cities, Warsaw contains 45% of the startups and as the capital and located in the heart of the nation is a place of business and politics and society. Interestingly, Warsaw’s architecture is a mix of three; the communist blocks (now brightly coloured with graffiti and a vibrant night-life), the old renaissance-like buildings and the modern skyscrapers that are springing up with agility. Warsaw was once a mono-cultural city, but these days the city is bustling with tourists and expats alike.
Krakow is a cultural location (the historical Royal capital of Poland with a dragon-infested castle to boot) but with many banks being based there, it is becoming an even more important location as proved by Aspire’s Boomtown, as well as having a large metropolitan population close by in Katowice and the surrounding cities. Wroclaw is also a notable city, as it’s geographical location is based on the major inter-connecting road networks, making it a place of transport and logistics.
An appealing 19% corporate tax rate means that companies listed in Poland do not have to be concerned with extortionate tax rates on their business operations, nor should companies wishing to put in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) be concerned with a language barrier as Poland ranks 13th out of the global English Proficiency Index.
With the cost of living in Poland being very reasonable and the quality of life being amongst the best in the CEE (Central Eastern Europe), for any individual looking for work it is more than amicable. As Europe once again slows owing to various macroeconomic down-pressures, there has not been a better moment in time to live, work and establish a business in the country.
***The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of the company ‘Digital Startup Ltd‘