The chemical industry is a key sector of the Polish economy. It is a large part of Polish export. Its products are used in almost all sectors of the market. The chemical industry is also strategic in Małopolska.
The Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry defines fostering innovation as one of the greatest challenges for the chemical industry. Innovation is the only way for further growth of the European chemical industry on the global market. The chemical industry will undergo many significant changes while the market will force the development of modern production technologies and new materials. The Małopolska specialisation includes particularly programmes aimed at implementing new chemical compounds, materials and technologies as well as solutions in the field of chemical engineering. The industry in the region can be characterized by high work efficiency. New enterprises are still being created. The large-scale of export of chemical products manufactured in the region (in 2016, the value of exports stood at EUR 1.3 billion) is definitely worth noticing. If we look at the map, we will find out that the largest companies are located in Tarnów, Oświęcim, Alwernia and Skawina. The plants situated in those localities are not only manufacturers of products of strategic importance, but also significant employers. Among the business environment institutions offering services directly to entities in the field of chemistry we should mention the Tarnow Industrial Cluster J.S.C. and the Scientific and Technical Association of Engineers and Technicians of Oil and Gas Industry. In addition, the Małopolska chemical industry is supported by R&D units, including: Faculty of Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University (the university authorities plan to establish a research and development centre) and the Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences.