This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency. Over the last ten years. The agency has managed to attract over 200 companies that provide roughly 85 thousand jobs in the Wrocław metropolitan area. A special conference was held to discuss the most prominent events in the last decade and the plans for the future. The debate featured investors and the representatives of the Agency, Wrocław City Office and Ministry of Development.
Over the last ten years, the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency has attracted investment from over 200 foreign businesses, including BASF, IBM, Google, Bosch, UBS, Volvo, 3M, Nokia, Dolby, Credit Suisse and LG. The Agency also plays an active part in supporting Polish businesses by facilitating their development at the local level and helping them to become more international and build the brand outside of the agglomeration. In so doing, the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency has contributed to creating 85 thousand jobs.
The last decade has also brought changes in direct foreign investment structure and its contributing factors. In 2005, the Wrocław agglomeration was mainly attractive to manufacturers who sought financial performance and the public assistance system.
"The modern BPO system was virtually absent in Wrocław ten years ago. Our company also exemplifies this positive evolution. Over the last ten years, we have managed to extend our manufacturing site with R&D and BPO centres," said Tomasz Duda, R&D Centre Director at 3M Polska.
Wrocław boasts the largest number of R&D and Knowledge Process Outsourcing centres in Poland. The is also proud of its thriving IT sector.
"The Wrocław agglomeration provides a space for innovative enterprises and is open to new R&D projects. That's why we are collaborating with universities and business incubators and work with the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Industry to provide assistance to investors and help them solve their challenges," said Wrocław Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz.
Employment and infrastructure
In 2016 alone, the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency has attracted 20 different investors, which translates into 7 thousand new jobs.
"I have an honour to announce that Becton Diskinson has made a decision to extend their Lower Silesia branch and BPO centre. They currently employ 300 people. The business is planning to provide 50 new jobs," said President of the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency Dariusz Ostrowski.
This is yet another reinforcement to the job market in the Wrocław agglomeration. To date, the investors served by the Agency have created over 85 thousand jobs in the area.
"We should also consider the fact that each new job provided by the investors generates three to five new jobs in services, suppliers or business co-operators," explained the Agency's Vice President Ewa Kaucz. She also added that 35 thousand people are employed in the modern business service processing market in Wrocław. Additionally, the supply of modern office space in Wrocław in 2005 was 100 thousand sqm. The supply has grown to 800 thousand sqm today. Another 200 thousand sqm of office space will be provided in a few months to come.
Wrocław sets a nationwide example
The last decade has also brought the most dynamic period in Wrocław's contemporary history. According to PwC, Wrocław's GDP in 2004–2012 grew by 45%, which is the best result across the country, unemployment rate dropping from 11% to 3% and mean remuneration in business growing twofold.
The Wrocław of today is a exemplary European city, which is a huge achievement considering a huge gap between Western metropolitan areas in the West and the cities in the former Eastern Bloc. The city's success story would not have happened it was not for economic development and business-friendly city authorities. In 2006, the Wroclaw City Office made a decision to create the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency, Poland's first specialised institution dedicated to providing support and services to investors. The Agency is a nationwide benchmark in how to collaborate with businesses.
"The Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency has set an example for local and central administration on how to cooperate with private businesses. Foreign investors know very little about Polish reality and regulations; they find it important that they have someone to talk to and solve their problems," said Deputy Minister of Development Tadeusz Kościński.
The year 2010 brought an Internet revolution. The Internet began to be a mass-medium at the time. New challenges arose in social communication. Public officers were unable to conduct online communication on a scale expected by the residents or investors. In 2013, www.wroclaw.pl was taken over by the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency. This classic Public Information Bulletin has now evolved to become Wrocław's official website providing a variety of information.
"www.wroclaw.pl is now a functional medium, with a unique traffic of over one million hits monthly, which makes us the most effective local service in Poland," said President of the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency Dariusz Ostrowski.
"We are addressing the needs and expectations of tourists as well as people who come here on business and would like to find out more about the city and find their way around it," said Editor-In-Chief of www.wroclaw.pl Ewa Waplak. "We are also looking forward to a première of a new project called Wrocław Wspiera. The service is going to provide improved navigation to the residents of Wrocław," she added.
Challenges for the coming decade
The economic development of Wrocław has brought changes in the social structure of the city. Middle class have emerged, and they are now contributing to the city's atmosphere. Contemporary Wrocław is the city for the young (one out of five residents is a student). Open and dynamic, it is considered to be one of the most attractive professional career destinations in Poland.
"One of the most challenging tasks we have is to grow our talent base. We have a positive migration balance and positive birth rate forecast. We do realise, however, that we need to intensify our measures to secure sustainable development for Wrocław," said Vice President of the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency Ewa Kaucz. "In 2017, we are going to carry out projects in collaborations with universities. It is vital that we speak in a language that Generation Y and Z can understand. This is not that easy, however."
Additionally, the Agency is planning to foster collaboration with new technologies and support start-up companies.
"It's not only about start-up companies, but also many other initiatives. We are witnessing the evolution of global business. We were one of the pioneers ten years ago. We would also like to be on top contemporary trends," said Ewa Kaucz. She also emphasised that corporations and large business are lacking in flexibility, which is largely due to their structure. That is why they need new solutions to continue the race for innovation and creative employees. These new ideas come from small and agile businesses. No other city can offer as many creative minds as Wrocław!
The Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency is an official partner of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency. The Agency also collaborates with the Ministry of Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, employers' organisations, chambers of commerce and universities.