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Poland has become a safe haven for Ukrainian-owned companies and entrepreneurs

Poland has become a safe haven for Ukrainian-owned companies and entrepreneurs

Ukrainian enterprises, as a result of the ongoing war, are looking for a safer place to operate. According to the Polish Economic Institute (PIE), Poland has become a natural relocation destination for many Ukrainian entrepreneurs.

Since late February, Poland has opened its borders not only to Ukrainian citizens in need, but also to Ukrainian businesses, who support their country by maintaining jobs and paying taxes. It is important for business to continue developing and Poland can offer assistance and many new opportunities in this area.

Why Poland?

Poland, due to its geographical location and cultural proximity, among other factors, has become a “natural logistical and organizational hub” for Ukrainian companies, according to analysts at PIE, a Polish public economic think tank. In addition to logistical matters, the support provided to Ukrainian entrepreneurs also plays an important role. Poland, among other initiatives, has launched an assistance project for small & medium enterprises coordinated by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH). As of the beginning of March, small and medium-sized companies from Ukraine can conduct their business from the territory of Poland. PAIH is providing free coworking space for Ukrainian companies, offers support in finding suitable real estate for business, advice on possible state subsidies, support in dealing with central and local administrations, and information on the conditions for doing business in Poland. Ukrainian businesses are making the most of the welcoming business environment and diversifying into new markets. According to the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Ukrainian citizens, legally residing in Poland, will be able to pursue business activity in Poland under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

Ukrainian Entrepreneurs

According to PIE, companies in which one of the shareholders is a Ukrainian company or an individual with Ukrainian citizenship already account for almost a quarter (23 percent) of foreign-owned companies operating in Poland. Currently, there are 22,344 companies in Poland in which one of the shareholders is a Ukrainian company or an individual with Ukrainian citizenship. Ukrainian companies in Poland were already numerous even before the war. According to the Central Statistical Office at the end of January 2022, there were approximately 21,800 Ukrainian entities operating in Poland. That’s 2.5 times more than German companies and five times more than Dutch enterprises. 38 % of Ukrainian companies were registered in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, with most of them headquartered in Warsaw and was registered  less than five years ago.  The Polish Economic Institute (PIE) also points out that there is a clear upward trend in the share of Ukrainian citizens among foreigners running businesses in Poland. Three years ago, they accounted for slightly less than a quarter 24.6 % of foreigners running their own businesses in Poland and today 28 %. It can be seen that Ukrainian citizens emigrating are also mastering the Polish language and gaining experience, while working at Polish companies. They are subsequently being promoted to managerial positions or opening their own businesses. One can also see an increase in the share of Ukrainians taking up jobs in the creative industry: IT, marketing and PR, video production, etc., PIE analysts point out.

Startups in Poland

As previously reported by the Polish daily newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, startups from across the eastern border are also drawn to Poland. In the first quarter, as part of the Poland Prize program, which is backed by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP), 72 innovative, foreign companies located their operations in Poland. One in three of them came from Ukraine.

Furthermore, the Poland.Business Harbour project has been in effect for Ukraine since July 2021. This is a project which facilitates the relocation of companies and employees from countries across the eastern border, mainly Belarus and Ukraine, to Poland.

However, it is not only IT specialists and programmers who are coming to Poland. Technology companies, promoting innovation, such as those involved in photographing planet Earth from space, are deciding to take this step as well. Additionally, businesses related to the SSC (shared service center) sector, the industrial storage market as well as the construction and food industries. 

For its part, PAIH currently supports four Ukrainian companies whose projects are worth €43 million and will create 973 jobs, according to PIE.

Future Prospects

Without a doubt, the war in Ukraine has changed many things for Ukrainian businesses, however, their future in Poland looks very promising.  According to Ukrainian data, in 2021, Polish-Ukrainian trade exceeded $10 billion for the first time in history. This data is increasingly pointing to Poland as a major partner, not only politically, but also economically, for Ukraine. On April 28th, 2022, the XV Polish-Ukrainian Business Days took place in Warsaw.  Participants of the Polish-Ukrainian Forum debated the possibilities of establishing future economic exchanges and developing opportunities for both countries to strengthen economic and business relations.  The Polish market is wide open to accommodate companies from Ukraine.
Article author: Ursula Gaiko

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