Poland is the fifth economy in Europe and one of the ten in the world that in 2020 attracted the most investments in greenfield projects, i.e. those built from scratch, in the STEM area, according to fDi Markets data. In all projects of this type, $177.3 bln of foreign direct investment flowed into Europe last year. As much as 11% of this went to Poland, and the value amounted to over $20 bln. In the overall ranking, Poland took a high third place in Europe, just behind Great Britain and Germany, ahead of France and Spain. Considering that all direct foreign investments in the world in 2020 amounted to over $528 bln, Poland’s share in greenfield investments amounted to almost 4%. In turn, Poland’s share in all greenfield projects in the STEM area was 2.8%, and Poland was ranked 5th in Europe and 10th in the world, just behind Canada and Mexico. Poland is also a leader in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of foreign direct investment. Over 30% of direct foreign investments in greenfield projects, which were located in the CEE region, were found in Poland. Interestingly, in 2020 Poland was ahead of Russia for the first time in this respect – the difference was over $0.5 bln in favor of Poland.
Poland is an ideal place for startups
EUR 12 billion is the amount that PE/VC funds have invested in Poland. According to the Digital Champions CEE report, Poland ranks first in terms of the number and total capitalization of the largest technology companies in the CEE region. Our country is also an ideal place for developing all kinds of startups, whose innovation and maturity of concepts are appreciated all over the world. It is also confirmed by the CEO World Magazine survey results, in which Poland was the seventh most startup-friendly country. We are also slowly becoming an essential research and development center for global players from around the world. In 2014-20, thanks to the SmartGrowth operational program, co-financed by the EU, 420 research and development centers were established in Poland, which is the basis for the upcoming R&D boom.
– Investment projects in the modern services sector (BSS, R&D) are among the critical investments currently serviced by our Agency. It has been the most popular sector in PAIH’s investment portfolio for a long time. Since January 2021, we have completed 38 projects of this type with a total investment value of EUR 184 mln, and another 37 are underway. The total value of active BSS projects is EUR 121.9 mln, and the declared employment is 9,121 employees. It is proof that Covid-19 has not stopped investment in new technologies. On the contrary – we have seen much greater growth dynamics of such projects – emphasizes Krzysztof Drynda, Chairman of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.
Well educated employees are a magnet for investments
Several factors contribute to a good climate for the new technologies and modern services (BSS, R & R&D) in Poland. The first of them is the human factor. There is no shortage of well-educated employees in Poland who are open to innovation. They are the driving force behind this industry and a magnet for foreign investors. Suffice it to say that Poles are third in “The Best Developers in The World.” They are also considered to be some of the most hard-working programmers in the world. It is thanks to the specifics of the Polish higher education system.
The report includes numerous rankings of analyses confirming that Poland is a leader among the developing countries of the continent, especially in information technology. The report also provides the voice of experts who emphasize that taking into account the remarkable ability of Poles to adapt to innovation and the dynamic development of the Polish economy, in the coming years, we can expect an increase in the importance of Polish science in Europe and the world. An additional factor is that labor costs in Poland are still low compared to highly developed countries. Therefore, the value of human capital cannot be overestimated.
University centers are located in large and many medium-sized cities, enabling the academic community to cooperate with companies operating in their region. They quickly start using the acquired knowledge in practical conditions, thanks to this. In other CEE countries, one main university center is usually located in the capital region.
Good prospects for new technologies and modern services are confirmed by the trend of transferring services focused on advanced research and development to Poland. The geographical location is also essential, as it places Poland on the route of the new “Silk Road” and makes air connections with most European cities possible within a few hours.
The report “Invest in digital Poland” is the first study of this type in Poland. Over 25 organizations and nearly 60 experts participated in preparing the report. The report can be downloaded free of charge from the website of the Digital Poland Foundation: