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26 October 2018

PAIH EXPO - The First Trade & Invest Forum

Over four thousand Polish entrepreneurs interested in expanding their business abroad, took part in PAIH EXPO 2018. The attendees had the unique opportunity to learn about business perspectives and support tools that could help their international expansion. The event was organized by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in partnership with PKO Bank Polski, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna and Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.

Stimulation of the appetite for export

The condition of Polish companies, and hence the domestic economy, is very good. The Polish financial market joined the prestigious group of developed markets, while the country's rating was increased by Standard & Poor's to the 'A-' level. The favorable situation is also visible in foreign trade. Throughout 2017, exports increased by nearly 9.8% YoY, and the value of goods, services and technologies sold amounted to over 880 billion PLN. As it turns out, a rather small group of domestic companies is responsible for exports. These include vehicle manufacturers and parts for them, furniture, digital devices, food or medicine. Taking into account the potential that Polish enterprises have for foreign expansion, their activity outside the country is rather modest. Over half of domestic companies do not conduct business outside of Poland. In turn, nearly one fifth operates in our closest neighborhood, that is in the European Union, where up to 80% of Polish exports goes. There are even fewer operations on a global scale.

- The polish government operates on many levels to arouse the appetite of our entrepreneurs for international markets. Thinking about the Polish business needs and their support in acquiring new markets, the idea of organizing the Forum was created - explains the minister of entrepreneurship and technology, Jadwiga Emilewicz.

The experience of Polish companies which are active abroad shows that expansion into new markets has a positive impact on their business. Moreover, polish exporters are one of the biggest optimists in the European Union. The clients of the Polish Trade Investment Agency declare that exports stimulate hunger for expansion, and is also connected with the investments and technological development.

- Innovations without cooperation with the external environment are not possible. At PGE, we know this and that is why we are expanding the group-based scouting program for startups to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. We are the largest power sector company in Poland and operate primarily on the Polish market. However, the new technologies do not know the limits and if we can get them from outside and use them in our activities, it will certainly benefit both parties - says Henryk Baranowski, president of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna.

Practical support and risk minimization

The Polish Investment and Trade Agency aims at that the participation in PAIH EXPO will be the impulse for many native entrepreneurs to go out with their products and services. For the first time in Poland during this event, the Agency and its partners presented a comprehensive offer of support for polish companies in their international activity.

PAIH focused especially on the practical aspect of the Forum. - We want to equip Polish companies with the necessary knowledge that allows them to move freely around even the most remote regions of the world and reduce the risk of entering new markets. In this respect, the Polish government reconstructed the support system for the foreign expansion of polish business, the key element of which became PAIH Foreign Trade Offices. These are the eyes and ears of native entrepreneurs present where there is a real chance for a contract or gaining foreign investors for Poland - explains Tomasz Pisula, president of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

PAIH Expo attracted considerable attention of Polish companies - the number of participants reached over four thousand. Among them were micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, but also large domestic companies, interested in new business opportunities around the world. Companies participating in the Forum represent a wide range of sectors. The largest group were companies specialized in technologically advanced services, wholesale and retail trade, as well as food, cosmetics and construction sectors. Most of the companies already have some export experience, mainly in Europe, but also in further regions of the world like the Near and Far East.

At the disposal of Polish companies, the organizers provided 12 geographical pavilions, where intensive workshops took place throughout the whole day. It was conducted by 54 managers of PAIH Foreign Trade Offices who came from all over the world especially for this occasion. Workshop participants could learn, among others how to effectively do business in the medical or biotechnology sector in Saudi Arabia, India, USA or Vietnam. They got to know the answer to the question why it is worth exporting automotive components to Mexico, Chile, Kenya or Lithuania. They also heard about prospects for Polish IT companies in Singapore, Silicon Valley, Canada, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria and South Korea. In addition, the heads of PAIH Trade Offices and invited external experts advised individually how to debut in the role of exporter or investor or how to strengthen its international position.

Each entrepreneur could also take advantage of B2B sessions with representatives of: Polish pro-development institutions, regional and foreign investment agencies, chambers of commerce, embassies and banks, such as BGK and PKO BP.

- The role of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego is to supplement the offer of commercial banks, eg. through the export letters of credit program. We create added value, taking over part of the risk associated with export transactions and the expansion of Polish companies to more unpredictable markets. We also support investments of Polish companies abroad, often cooperating with the commercial banking sector - explains BGK president Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka.
- Polish companies are more and more active on foreign markets, and the value of direct foreign investments is growing rapidly. The expansion process itself is a serious and complex challenge for the companies, so it is important that they can cooperate with a stable and trustworthy financial partner who perfectly knows these companies. PKO Bank Polski supports entrepreneurs with both its financial offer and analytical knowledge - emphasizes Maks Kraczkowski, vice president of PKO Bank Polski.

Let's talk about investments

PAIH EXPO is not just workshops for Polish exporters. The participants of the event could visit the Investment Pavilion and meet with investors who chose Poland as a place for business development. PAIH guests participated in investment debates on the strengths of Poland in the face of the e-mobility revolution in the automotive industry, the country's position on the map of R & D, financial and BSS services, or discuss innovations in the energy sector in Poland and around the world.

The event completed with PAIH EXPO Night - an evening business mixer, which became an opportunity for networking in a less formal atmosphere. The star of the evening was Anna Maria Jopek with the band Kroke.

Partners of PAIH EXPO 2018:

PKO Bank Polski, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.

Polish Investment and Trade Agency

Krucza St. 50

00-025 Warsaw

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