Not only Szczecin and Koszalin, but also smaller towns, such as Łobez
and Nowogard, gradually attract interest among entrepreneurs wishing
to invest in West Pomerania. In total, nearly 60 investment projects have been supported in the past year by the Investors’ and Exporters’ Assistance Center
of West Pomerania. Several of them have already succeeded and led
to the creation of new jobs. Precisely channelled EU funds from the Regional Operational Programme help to strengthen the West Pomerania’s economy.
Less than a year after the EU funds became available to support the rehabilitation
of industrial sites in Nowogard, the first the investor, Press Glass, started recruiting employees and then launched its production. This is the best proof of how wisely invested EU funds can help to develop previously disadvantaged areas.
‘We provide a comprehensive approach because it brings the best results.
An example of the above is, for instance, the introduction of local government contracts in West Pomerania. A single common contract is signed by several local governments to utilise Operational Programme funds to support several investments, including provision of utilities to the industrial site in Nowogard, support local education. The latter also includes vocational training in nearby Maszewo, Osina and Goleniów. On the one hand, the business gets infrastructure needed to start production and, on the other, prospects of new qualified staff,
which is necessary for the business to grow,’ explains Olgierd Geblewicz, the Marshal of the Westpomeranian Region.
Investment incentives, created by the regional government under the framework
of the Special Inclusion Zone, are considered attractive among entrepreneurs.
An example is Kentaur, a Danish-Polish company, which launched its production
of protective clothing for restaurants and hospitals in Łobez. Further investments and jobs in the framework of the SIZ will also be created next year in result
of the Regional Operational Programme competitive procedure which led
to selecting a number of projects.
The most interesting projects completed in 2018 include Danish Bestseller
(logistics centre in Goleniów), Swedish companies Specma and Klippan (new plants
in Stargard) and Danish Jupiter (extension of plant in Police). Moreover, the official opening of their fulfilment centre in Gardno near Gryfino was announced
by Zalando, Germany. As indicated by the Investors’ and Exporters’ Assistance Center, apart from already popular investment sites, such as Szczecin, Koszalin, Goleniów and Stargard, an increasing role started to be played by smaller towns: Karlino, Kołbaskowo, Gryfice and Barlinek. Their attractiveness has been growing proportionally to their transportation accessibility. In the period of the record low unemployment in the region, it is easier to attract employees in smaller towns.
In West Pomerania, greenfield projects, or projects established in undeveloped areas, are still the most popular. Entrepreneurs, however, have shown growing interest in brownfield development, i.e. projects in former industrial locations. Next year, a new cargo terminal and the ability to use air transport at the Goleniów airport may boost the development of the local economy. For many years, Germans
and Danes have prevailed among nations that most appreciate good conditions
for business development in West Pomerania. Interestingly, the two countries are also the most popular directions for the export of products.
‘West Pomerania products have won recognition due to their quality and price.
For this reason, we promote export directions and we provide specialised export oriented training for entrepreneurs. With our support, the regional business can be present at a number of trade fairs. In the past year, maritime sector companies had a chance to participate in the SMM in Hamburg, Germany, one of the biggest events of the type in the world, whereas transport and logistics industries attended LogiMAT in Stuttgart,’ explains Jacek Wójcikowski, director of the Investors’ and Exporters’ Assistance Center.
The support is going to be continued. An advertising campaign of ‘West Pomerania,
a good place for business’ is expected to provide significant support to the local business. The campaign is designed to resort to companies that won the competition of ‘Your Business Under the Banner of Success’ to encourage others to invest
in the region. In 2019, EU funds should attract a number of interesting projects
to West Pomerania. They include corporate investment in research
and development, which transforms vocational education, and the first ever support dedicated to the shipbuilding industry.