Poland is a country that has all the makings of a prime mover in Europe. A country with 48 million inhabitants, one of the best GDP growths in Europe and most of all, Poland and the Polish people are not over-mortgaged so there is much room for good growth.
Poland is strategically located in Europe and can be used as a stepping stone for further business in Ukraine and Russia. However, it has significant challenges in the infrastructural development and most of the major construction companies are on hand to participate in this development.
The level of education among young people is high and many choose to pursue higher education and research. Similar to Sweden, Poland has built an effective innovation system based on some 100 incubators and science parks. The hot spots are located in the cities of Gdansk, Krakow, Wroclaw and Warsaw.
In the capital, Warsaw, most international companies and banks are place.
Speaking to their managers, they all say the same thing:
"Poland and Warsaw are strategically important for us if we are to take advantage of the rapid developments taking place in Central and Eastern Europe."
They also say that it is easy to find highly skilled and trained staff and that they see Poland as a melting pot for innovation.
The demand and desire from industry to work with promising young innovative companies is a fact. There is also a good supply of venture capital and funding from the EU. One of the reasons why there is such a well-functioning venture capital market is that the Warsaw Stock Exchange launched the "New Connect" which is a stock market for small growth companies. In addition, investors are well aware of that there is a tremendous need for new solutions and technologies to meet environmental and energy requirements.
Warsaw is a city that never sleeps and has a strong energy. This is the city where you meet most nationalities in Europe and the language of business has naturally evolved to being English. Corruption is still an issue, but the city is working hard to curb it.
When it comes to innovation Poland is cooperating very well with the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, but there is still an invisible wall between East and West. This is a significant challenge and there is much to gain by developing relations in terms of tech transfer in both directions.
In clean-tech and energy efficiency, Sweden has come a lot farther than Poland. However, the Polish market and demand for new solutions is much greater, which means that there are many opportunities for Swedish innovation companies to develop business in Poland.
So from our perspective, we have placed Warsaw and Poland on our top list of world's "hot spots" where new innovations are created and where the demand for innovation is great. It also has the right conditions in terms of relationship with industry, research and capital for a well functioning innovation system.