THE HONORARY PATRONAGE OF THE PRESIDENT OF POLISH REPUBLIC BRONISŁAW KOMOROWSKI
One of the greatest treasures of our country in the enterprise and energy of Poles, released in 1989. Those have largely contributed to the fact that Polish economy was the only in EU to resist the recession of 2009. Our entrepreneurs create work places, contribute to the development of Poland and stand as ambassadors of Poland abroad.
One of the objectives of Polish Presidency is to improve the position of Small and Medium -sized Enterprises throughout the European Union. Today such organizations generate approximately 60 % of the Community GDP and offer nearly 70% of work places. Therefore it is a major issue to solve the question of their access to the capital and to create a European patent system.
I do believe that the European Congress for Small and Medium - sized Enterprises, held in Katowice in early October will provide an expert background for activities taken up by Polish Presidency. Let us remember that thriving and effective entrepreneurs today mean wealthier, more competitive and safer European Union tomorrow.
Small and Medium - sized Enterprises are the leading sector among the EU economies. It employs more than 70% of the employees and generates 60% of the Community GDP. Due to strong links with the local environment and respective effect it produces, it is recognized as the major factor of harmonious growth of the regions.
I am convinced that the forthcoming European Congress of Small and Medium – sized Enterprises will appear as a venue of discussion as well as identification and setting guidelines for this sector. Economic competition must base upon uniform and unified market, common conditions and environmental standards, work conditions and terms of horizontal public support.
I do hope that lively discussions will also comprise the question of transfer of advanced technologies to small and medium-sized companies. Possibility of more extensive technological transfer along with contacts established among enterprises shall strongly stimulate development of SMEs in Poland.
For more than twenty years now Polish Chamber of Commerce has been working for the benefit of Polish entrepreneurs, preparing business to perform in the free market environment and enhancing access to international markets. Before accession to the EU, the Chamber assisted in understanding the specific features of the community market and adapting business to the valid rules. Today, Polish business and local economic governments face different challenges – development of innovation and economy based upon knowledge. Therefore, standing on grounds of our earlier assumptions, we declare innovation as indispensable condition for economic development of Poland, contained by the slogan: “There is no competitiveness without innovation”.
Transformation of Polish economy towards knowledge and innovation based model will never be accomplished with no contribution from the SMEs sector. This is why we should spare no efforts to make innovation more available for that very sector. The Congress will be a great opportunity to discuss this issue.
Following the rule ”Think Small First”, all activities of Polish Agency for Enterprise Development are performed with special focus on Small and Medium – sized Enterprises. The major objective of our projects is to assist small and medium entrepreneurs throughout their operations, starting with technological development and innovation, supporting SMEs entering the international market, to end with development of human resources of Polish businesses.
Support for Small and Medium – sized Enterprises is the consequence of the role those organizations play in Polish economy. Not only are the Small and Medium – sized Enterprises the largest group of companies in Poland but also the major employer providing workplace for more than 60% of employees and generating nearly one half on Polish GDP. The sector has been developing remarkably throughout the last decade. The number of SMEs increased by 100 thousand while the number of personnel employed grew by nearly 750 thousand. The sector plays a major role in economic development as well as ensuring social welfare and its growth rate shows this will also be true in the future.
Polish Small and Medium – sized Enterprises comprises nearly 3 million companies with the estimated 1.7 million of active ones. Among those, about 300 thousand organizations are incorporated in Polish Craft Association, while 700 thousand emerged from the craftsmanship sector. Although statistics do not differ much from the EC indices, Polish small business still has a lot to make up for. Small companies, including crafts are supported by the EU funds when adapting to the free market rules, yet we may still observe certain discrepancies between the established priorities and the actual needs of Polish entrepreneurs; such observation comes out of my own experience I gained as an entrepreneur and the chairman of association incorporating micro- and small businesses. The situation could improve significantly with extensive implementation of the “Small Business Act for Europe” adopted by the European Parliament in 2008. This document however is merely a postulate, therefore individual member states are not obliged to implement the whole of the contained recommendations. I hope this Congress will help to solve at least some of our problems
World economy tends to be booming again which is particularly true for the rising economies of China, Brazil and India. Europe and especially the Middle European countries show much slower rate of growth. Such unfavorable tendency must be soon overcome by us – the Europeans. Although Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are so numerous (99% of the companies total), so flexible in operations, showing so much enterprise, offering so many workplaces (60%) and sharing more and more of GDP (about 50%), it shows little innovation and appears technologically weak. The reasons are mostly objective, such as no multigenerational character or shortage of capital, there are however many causes which could and should be promptly avoided.
Establishment of permanent cooperation links among the Local Self-Government, Science and Business, extensive use of experience gained by countries of higher economic level, defining new areas for support from the business environment and economic self-government will enhance professional application of tools aimed at formation of knowledge-oriented society. This is the major, yet not the only, message for this Congress – so important to Poland and Europe.