A large audience of UK and Polish business leaders gathered in Rotherham yesterday when the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Trade and Investment Promotion Section at Embassy of the Republic of Poland hosted the 2015 National Anglo-Polish Conference.
Gordon Millward, regional chairman of the FSB, said: “In hosting this important National Conference, the FSB has found itself once more in the vanguard of developing international business relations.
“We are delighted that it took place in Rotherham which, despite some setbacks in recent times, has a fast-developing commercial infrastructure which makes it a great place to do business.
“With the theme of ‘Linking British and Polish SMEs,’ this event set out to assist the integration of the dynamic, enterprising Polish business community within the resurgent UK economy and open up the potential for innovative inter-trading opportunities.
“The business community responded in numbers which were beyond all our expectations, with long-established UK entrepreneurs coming from far and wide to meet with their Polish counterparts, many of whom are new to the business world and new to the UK.
“This presented a prime opportunity to demonstrate to the emerging Anglo-Polish business community that the UK – and Rotherham in particular – is the place to establish a business for the future.”
Marek Niedzwiedz, a South Yorkshire Committee Member of the FSB and founder of the Anglo-Polish Business Incubator, said: “There are many benefits for the UK economy in embracing enterprising foreign nationals wishing to establish businesses in the UK.
“Polish entrepreneurs have rapidly established themselves across the country and according to research by The Centre for Entrepreneurs, of all nationalities who have set up businesses in the UK, Poles rank number six.
“More than 22,000 companies have been set up in the UK by Polish nationals, while another 65,000 Poles are self-employed. This represents a massive addition to the UK business population and, by integrating them fully into the trading community, opens extensive new marketing opportunities for adventurous entrepreneurs to exploit.
“This is a vital benefit of membership of the EU and a major source of growth in the economy, but there exists a wide range of practical and cultural barriers for Polish nationals wishing to establish their businesses in the UK, particularly in relation to banking.
“If Britain is to maximize the commercial gains from Polish inward investment it needs to take measures to ease the integration process. Today’s event has explored the means by which the ‘welcome mat’ can be extended to encourage greater levels of investment and speedier integration of the Anglo-Polish community.
“I am delighted that the FSB has seen the potential of engaging in this process and today’s event will mark the start of a new move to build firmer relations between our two countries for the benefit of the wider European economy.”