“In ten years, I would like to wake up in Katowice, a part of Upper Silesia metropolis, which competitiveness lies in diversity and effective management. Before we reach this level, we need to survive economic slowdown of the upcoming years. How? Various answers are possible. But one thing is sure – we have to be together”. With those words the mayor of Katowice, Piotr Uszok, appealed to entrepreneurs of Silesian Voivodship during the “Silesia! Trusted localization in the age of economic uncertainty” conference, which was held on 11th of December in Katowice.
The value of Silesia’s diversity, the peculiarity of the cities which together form one urban organism, was stressed also by Zbigniew Podraza, the President of Dąbrowa Górnicza, Andrzej Karasiński, the secretary of the City of Gliwice, and Tadeusz Adamski, the economic advisor for the Marshal of the Silesian Voivodship. Paweł Panczyj, Managing Director of the Association of Business Service Leaders in Poland (ABSL): “Good PR is more than half of success in attracting the investors. You need to promote the diversity, get through with that information so that it becomes associated with the term ‘Silesia’ ”.
Shared Service Centers constitute one of the business sectors that is supposed to stay rather resistent to economic slowdown. The authorities of Katowice have high hopes for development of this branch. But the City needs properly qualified specialists. “Untill this day, because of the renowned technical schools, the city has been a good localization for the IT support centers. But monocultures are never good. It is important for you to be able to attract investments that are based on more complex processes, i.e. financial sector or R&D. In that case, the risk of moving such localizations to places, where the labour is less expensive, decreases considerably” – stressed Paweł Panczyj of ABSL. Paweł Hajduk of Manpower added – “In my opinion, the question of maintaining an employee in the company grows to be highly important. The brand of the employer is not enough anymore. Young people expect programmes of professional development”. Joanna Nicińska, senior leasing manager in Echo Investment, believes that the significance of the comfort in the office is also increasing noticeably. Echo has met this demand with their new office investment in Katowice – A4 Business Park. “Localization and cost of rent are not enough. What counts, is much more, i.e. high standard of surface finish, possibility of accessing the place by car, public transport, but also – which is essential – by bike, compatibility of the project with urban fabric, flexibility of the office space. Additional services, like cantine, clinic, garages for bikes and actual care for environment, are of great importance. We hope that with A4 Business Park, which meets these criteria, we will become a part of Katowice success” – concluded Joanna Nicińska.
Nevertheless, the subject of big investments did not dominate the conference. The discussion between representatives of family companies, that – according to the Family Business Initiative’s data – constitute 70% of companies in Poland, was equally lively and inspiring. “We do not close our businesses just because of the crisis. We have not only determination to persist, but also responsibility for past and future generations” – stated Professor Andrzej Blikle, president of the Family Business Initiative. Marta Rudzińska (Jars) and Irena Kurdziel (Kortak Group), owners of two of many family companies that operate in Silesia, agreed with him and asked the representatives of the authorities to create tighter cooperation, as well as to notice and appreciate them. “2013 will be a good year for us. We are hiring, we are conquering new markets, so we will outlive the crisis. We want for our name to be identified with quality and profit” – explained Irena Kurdziel.
The conference was moderated by Marta Kuligowska of TVN24, and was followed by VIP Gala. “Silesia! Trusted localization in the age of economic uncertainty” is a part of the “Prospects in Poland” project, which promotes the investment potential of Poland’s cities and regions.