Polish Chamber of Commerce and its members nationwide support business competitiveness by offering assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Polish Chamber of Commerce and its regional chambers provide businesses with the following services:
Financial services: Regional chambers provide information and offer advice and training in the area of business financing. Services offered by Polish Chamber of Commerce include: preparation of business plans, information on obtaining business loans for companies in a given region, and assistance on EU structural funds.
Implementing innovation: As part of the KIGNET INNOVATIONnetwork, regional chambers of commerce offer advice on innovative ventures and specialised products.
Matching business partners: International Relations Office of Polish Chamber of Commerce helps companies increase competitiveness and innovation through cooperation with other companies. The office answers questions from companies and helps them find potential business partners.
A Special Economic Zone (SSE) is a separate administrative area of Poland where businesses implementing new investment projects can take advantage of public assistance in the form of tax relief. This regional assistance involves the costs of new investment projects or the creation of new jobs. The amount depends on the maximum assistance as defined on the regional assistance map, which is:
- 30% of eligible costs for investment projects in Warsaw,
- 40% in the following voivodeships: Pomorskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Dolnośląskie, Wielkopolskie, Śląskie; and by December 31, 2010 in the Mazowieckie voivodeship excluding the capital city of Warsaw,
- 50% in the following voivodeships: Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Podlaskie, Świętokrzyskie, Opolskie, Małopolskie, Lubuskie, Łódzkie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie.
Assistance to small companies can be increased by 20 percentage points and by 10 percentage points for medium-sized companies, although this does not apply to companies operating in the transport sector.
In order to obtain assistance, a permit to operate within a special economic zone is required. The companies that manage zones grant such permits in a tender procedure or negotiations on behalf of the Minister of Economy. The permit specifies the type of activity to be carried out in a zone; the conditions of employment, investment, a deadline for the completion of investment, and the maximum eligible costs to be covered by assistance.
There are 14 zones located in different parts of Poland. Investment areas are located in all the voivodeships.
Office of Economic Innovation at Polish Chamber of Commerce created a website (inwestorzy.biz) which enables entrepreneurs:
- to actively search for investors by posting business offers;
- to find interesting investment announcements;
- to establish contacts within business groups;
- to establish cooperation and facilitates the search for undertakings which are worth investing into.
Additionally, the Office of Economic Innovation at Polish Chamber of Commerce created a number of tools (software) available online via innowacje.biz. These tools facilitate operation of businesses which enables entrepreneurs to reduce the costs of the conducted business activity.
Polish Chamber of Commerce under the Point of Single Contact provides information concerning matters related to establishing, conducting, suspending and closing a business activity.
Direct support under the “Programme for supporting investments which are significant for the Polish economy for 2011-2020”
The aim of the support is increasing innovativeness and competitiveness of Polish economy by means of supporting new investments completed by Polish and foreign companies.
Support can only be provided to the following undertakings:
1) planning investments in the following priority sectors:
a) automotive sector - especially production of: vehicles, car bodies, trailers and semi-trailers, parts and accessories for vehicles and their engines,
b) electronic sector - especially production of: computers, radio, television and telecommunications equipment and devices, systems and components (especially for the automotive, power, household and military industries),
c) aviation sector - especially production of: aircrafts, parts and accessories for aircrafts and their engines, services within the scope of repair, maintenance and renovation of aircrafts and aircraft engines,
d) biotechnology sector - especially production of: ‘white biotechnology’ products applicable in industrial processes, and ‘red biotechnology’ products related to medicine and health protection (e.g. creating new medicinal products),
e) sector of innovative services on condition that at least 60% of processes performed by the company constitute services specified in note 1 to table 9,
f) R&D sector.
2) planning new production investments in other sectors than those listed above with the minimum eligible costs amounting to PLN 1 billion and creating at least 500 new jobs, hereinafter referred to as “significant investments” or “significant projects”.
Support is not provided for investments in the sectors listed in item 1 a-d above completed in poviats with the unemployment rate at the level below 75% of the national average.
The investment projects are evaluated on the basis of data announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office concerning the unemployment rate in a poviat as on the last day of the month preceding the month in which the undertaking has submitted a form entitled “Project information” to PAIiIZ S.A. (the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency) as well as a declaration on the requirement of obtaining public assistance for the project.
Under the Programme, support for the initial investment will be provided with regard to the following:
- eligible costs of creating new jobs;
- eligible costs of the investment.
The support period may not exceed 5 years.
Support with regard to eligible costs of creating new jobs
Entrepreneurs can apply for support in the following cases:
1) completion of a new production investment in the priority sectors creating at least 250 new jobs with the minimum total eligible costs of the investment equal to PLN 40 million,
2) completion of a new significant investment creating at least 500 new jobs with the minimum eligible costs of the investment equal to PLN 1 billion,
3) completion of a new investment in the sector of innovative services creating at least 250 new jobs with the minimum capital expenditure equal to PLN 2 million,
4) completion of a new investment within research and development creating at least 35 new jobs for people with a university degree with the minimum total investment costs equal to PLN 3 million, In case of R&D investment, support will be provided only for creating jobs for people with a university degree.
Support with regard to eligible costs of new investments
Entrepreneurs can apply for support in the following cases:
a) completion of a new investment in the priority sectors with costs of the new investment eligible to be covered with support amounting to at least PLN 160 million and creating at least 50 new jobs,
a) completion of a significant production investment with costs of the new investment eligible to be covered with support amounting to at least PLN 1 billion and creating at least 500 new jobs.
Authority providing support: Minister of Economy.
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) offers Community and state funding to SMEs to help increase competitiveness and innovation.
The Agency organises information campaigns about the rules for applying for financial assistance for business ventures as well as its own promotional events and trade fairs. In addition, it maintains a database of useful website addresses. PARP is also an initiator of the creation of the National System of Services for SMEs.
The National System of Services for SMEs (KSU) is a network of groups of service providers and organisations specialising in the provision of various business services to enterprises and persons starting out in business.
Over 200 KSU centres offer a wide range of assistance to micro, small and medium-sized companies at different stages of their development as well as assistance on the effective use of EU funds. The KSU also helps undertakings that are starting up.
The KSU centres offer so-called system services, meaning services that require state assistance. They include: information and consulting services (as part of the KSU Consultation Points), pro-innovation advice (as part of the KSU National Innovation Network), and financial advice on securing guarantees and loans (as part of loan and guarantee funds cooperating with the KSU).
The KSU Consultation Points provide the following:
1. information services thanks to which customers may obtain information about a business activity, i.e.
- a step-by-step guide on how to start up a business;
- what to do so that the company grows dynamically;
- where and how to obtain financial means for opening or developing a company;
- how to deal with problems occurring in daily operation.
Within information services, customers may also get informed on how and where they may obtain a special service, i.e. technology transfer issues, returnable funding etc. KSU consultants may also arrange a meeting with a special service provider and monitor the customer’s history. Information services are free of charge.
2. consulting services, dedicated to particular customer groups of the KSU Consultation Points:
Assistance in starting up a business is highly valuable for future entrepreneurs in all issues related to the process. The assistance service results in the customer filing an application to be registered in Central Registration and Information on Business. Expert consultants assist an entrepreneur in all the issues related to establishing a business. The scope of their expertise includes in particular the following issues:
- consultation on the profile of planned business;
- support in preparing a business plan and compiling necessary documentation;
Consulting services related to starting up a business are subsidised up to 90%, the cost for the customer amounts to ca. PLN 160.
Assistance services related to running a business are dedicated to those entrepreneurs who are already operating. It includes consulting within 4 basic operation areas, i.e.:
- formal and legal obligations related to running a business;
- successful marketing;
- company organisation;
- funding sources dedicated to entrepreneurs.
Consulting services related to running a business are subsidised up to 90%, the cost for the customer amounts to ca. PLN 240.
KSU centres may be contacted in the following way:
directly at KSU Consultation Points:
- by phone;
- by e-mail;
- via website of the institution running a particular centre;
it is also possible to arrange a meeting with a KSU consultant at your company’s seat.
Consultants from each KSU centre are also available in at least 2 towns, which certainly makes it easier to get in touch and use the services offered by the National System.
More about KSU Consultation Points
Several dozen of loan and guarantee funds operating within KSU offer financial services to companies on attractive conditions. Their objective is to make it easier for companies to obtain funding required to develop or set up a company.
The KSU offer is modified in response to the needs of the companies in the SME sector: the range of services is modified and new services are designed and tested. Currently tested services include for example the recently implemented pilot consulting services on business cost optimisation as well as training and consulting services on environmental protection and currently implemented consulting services on returnable funding.
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development supports the KSU organisationally. It also develops and monitors the quality of services provided by KSU centres and their consultants, for example, by setting service standards, carrying out systematic audits, training consultants, providing information and advice and conducting research.
The KSU operates on the basis of the Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 24 May 2011 on the National System of Services for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
The Innovation Portal (PI) offers a database related to technology transfer centres, business incubators and technology parks.
Access to finance is crucial for setting up and running a business.