In 2019, Polish exports reached a record value of EUR 235.8 billion, but this year an unprecedented obstacle appeared on the growth path – the global pandemic. How to support Polish entrepreneurs in surviving the “coronavirus”? Help them to find new markets and partners in the country.
An answer to the needs of entrepreneurs

The Polish business landscape is created mainly by small and medium-sized companies. Most of them operate, mainly locally. Fear of foreign competition, exchange rate risks, problems with employing foreign workers, inability to verify contractor, high costs – these were the main export  barriers, indicated by Polish SMEs before the pandemic. The corona crisis, called into question the very survival of many companies in most branches of business, but also thwarted plans for foreign expansion. With Polish entrepreneurs in mind, we have developed new tools, that support them in doing business abroad. Among them is information on newly created export opportunities and market niches. We also organize webinars, share first-hand information and show Polish exporters non-standard solutions. So far, over 3,000 people have participated in the training sessions. Our experts explained, among other things, how to take advantage of the increased demand for e-commerce services in Germany, why it is now worth entering Southern Asian markets with groceries, or how to prepare for a debut in the United States.

The pandemic as an opportunity to fill market niches

As a result of the pandemic, prices and availability of goods changed, which forced the discontinuation and subsequent remodeling of global supply chains. The hibernation of the Chinese economy translated into an imbalance in trade relations, especially in Asia. Strong dependence on food supplies from China and Oceania prompted Singapore and Japan to look for new contractors. The relocation of the center of the pandemic to the Old Continent put in a difficult situation, among others Israel, which up till now, relied on food imports from Italy and Spain.  The UAE was forced to build up a strategic food reserve. Demand has grown not only for basic necessities, but also for cleaning agents and professional cleaning chemicals.

It is in this remodeling of international supply chains that we see opportunities for Polish companies. With our support, over 60 containers of Polish food were shipped to Singapore, and Polish household chemicals found their way on  to shelves in Greek shops. We also helped a Polish manufacturer of construction tools to sign a contract with a leading American supermarket chain. These are just some  examples of the  greater openness to and activity on international markets of Polish companies. Our experts monitor markets in order to react efficiently and quickly, to find opportunities for Polish entrepreneurs. The enquires we receive, mainly concern support in finding a potential contractor, obtaining information about changes in customs regulations or information on the required certificates.

Cooperation as the way to build „Poland” as a strong brand

What, in the long term, may make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to operate on international markets is cooperation with Polish champions. In this way, they can achieve complementarity offers, strengthen their presence outside of Poland, and, consequently, the recognition of the “Poland” brand in the world. We already support such relations and even initiate them. If, for example, we have a manufacturer of passive houses, that purchases components abroad, we suggest using components from small and medium-sized suppliers in Poland. Their prices are competitive and the quality is often much higher than market standards. In times of crisis, companies most often need to ensure continuity of supplies, in case they do not receive components for their products from the current supplier. Those who previously imported semi-finished products from Asia, are surprised to learn that many manufacturers and suppliers are waiting for them in Poland. It is always the right time to build chains of cooperation, also in times of crisis. They will pay off in the future.


Author:

Grażyna Ciurzyńska, Acting President of the Board, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH)

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