Polish entrepreneurs have rapidly established themselves across the UK in the ten years since Poland joined the EU. According to research by Centre for Entrepreneurs, of all nationalities who have set up businesses in the UK, Poles rank number six (behind Ireland, India or USA, but ahead of France, Italy, Australia or Holland). More than 21,000 Poles have set up nearly 22,000 companies in the UK, while another 65,000 Poles are self-employed.
Polish entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity offered by a world-class business environment to set up and grow companies that have flourished, despite tough trading conditions over the past few years. On 9 October 2014, for the first time, Polish entrepreneurs from across Britain will meet in London for a national congress to learn from one another, to inspire one another, to network together, sharing stories of business success. The Congress of Polish Entrepreneurs in the UK is a culmination of several years of work within the Polish entrepreneur community and a natural response to the need to bring Polish businesses together. It will also be a celebration of Polish entrepreneurs’ contribution to the UK economy.
Bartlomiej Kowalczyk, founder of Polish Business Link says: “Since I have been here, I have witnessed the unexpected side-effect of Britain opening its labour market to Poles in May 2004. Tens of thousands of entrepreneurs from Poland have set up business in the UK. Most are still micro-businesses, though the more dynamic ones are expanding and taking on new employees. Typically, these firms are run by people who are taking responsibility for their own livelihoods rather than seeking work from an employer, and are busy creating new wealth for themselves and for the UK economy.
“The scale of this boom in Polish businesses is evident across the UK. Spalding in Lincolnshire for example has four Polish-owned hairdressing salons. There are many hundreds of Polish grocery shops around the country, plus thousands of Polish-run construction companies, painting and decorating businesses, tax and legal consultancies, IT and media firms, plus active Polish entrepreneurs across many other business sectors.
“The one-day Congress will focus on such issues as funding for business start-ups and growth, legal, tax and financial issues facing entrepreneurs in the UK, as well as marketing and HR. It will also provide practical insight into the UK economy. The Congress will be attended by some of the most successful Polish entrepreneurs operating in the UK who will want to share their experience with the participants. An inseparable part of the Congress is the networking session, which will provide all the participants with a great opportunity to make invaluable business contacts.”
Michael Dembinski, Chief Adviser to the British Polish Chamber of Commerce says:
“This event will be a chance for Polish entrepreneurs up and down the country to get together in London and discuss issues of mutual interest. The event is about spreading quality information invaluable to entrepreneurs wishing to grow their businesses in the UK and about networking . Many of my parents’ generation who settled in the UK after World War II were entrepreneurs, but they never got together – which was a shame. A network is as strong as the square of the number of its members, no entrepreneur is an island. The UK can benefit greatly from the presence of such a large number of business start-ups if they grow, flourish, create wealth and jobs. We want to help them do so.”