Polish firms in Germany on a roll, looking to expand and employ more

Tomasz Salomon from the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology talking with Polish entrepreneurs about running businesses in Germany. German-Polish Chamber of commerce and Industry, Warsaw

More than half of the Polish companies operating in Germany are planning to expand, according to a new report.

The report, published on November 20 by the Polish-German Chamber of Commerce, also found that about 75 percent of Polish entrepreneurs in Germany expected turnovers to increase in 2019, and that 43 percent want to hire more in the country.

It also stated that 97 percent of Polish companies operating in Germany are satisfied with their decision to move across the border.

There are about 1,500 Polish companies operating in Germany at the moment with many of them in the logistics, food and furniture industries, but there are also more and more start-ups offering new services in high technology.

According to Michael Kern, president of the chamber, Poles choose Germany not only because of its huge market but also because they learn new skills.

They also, according to Łukasz Lubański, from the logistics firm Raben, which has been operating on the German market for 15 years, benefit from the security afforded by clients paying on time.

“The contractors’ payment discipline is exemplary,” he says. “The German client who has to pay on the 30th, pays on the 29th.”

The same discipline is found in the behaviour of the authorities.

Start-up firms are part of a new wave of Polish companies flourishing in Germany.German-Polish Chamber of commerce and Industry, Warsaw

"Unfortunately, inspectors often knock on our door,” says Tomasz Szpilkowski, from Bergman Engineering, a German-Polish recruitment company.

“The German authorities are very finicky. It is also impossible to meet all the bureaucratic requirements without the help of a tax advisor or a lawyer."

Further down sides to Germany for Polish companies are high taxes and problems finding people to fill vacant posts.

The Polish entrepreneurs would also like to have better access to new technology.

"If we compare the Polish and German banking systems, the difference is dramatic. In Poland we have electronic banking at the highest level, transfers are made almost immediately, contactless card transactions are common,” says Lubański. “We are ahead of Germany by a good few years."

He also complains about the state of the roads, especially in western Germany. "Either they are being rebuilt or they are jammed,” he complains. “In Poland we have had a lot of new highways built in the last few years so we can move.”

Entrepreneurs are also concerned about a complicated tender process. Because of this they often form joint ventures or cooperate with German partners in order to participate in tenders for public contracts more easily.

“But this is the future: international cooperation, bilateral projects. We can no longer think about our economic future nationally," said Tomasz Salomon, director of the Trade and International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, during a recent discussion at the Polish-German chamber in Warsaw.