Małopolska has for several years been the 4th or 5th region in the country in terms of exports and similar figures as regards the number of companies who export their products to foreign markets.
These are good results but still they need to be corrected or at least maintained. The Business in Małopolska Centre has been supporting regional businesses for years, mainly in the sector of small and medium enterprises, in their activities within global economy and trade.
First, it should be noted that the export promotion activities within the CeBiM are addressed not only to enterprises that already have experience in foreign contracts, but also to those who are just considering if, how and where to start striving for their share in foreign markets. Many of the projects undertaken by CeBiM in the year 2018 brought together those managers and business owners who were considering the decision to present their offer to potential foreign customers.
The year 2018 was the next and practically the final stage of the project "Power up your Business in Małopolska" (financed under the Regional Operational Programme for the Małopolska Region 2014-2020). A significant portion of the project funding was earmarked for supporting and promoting exports of SMEs of Małopolska. In this case, the following policy has been applied, proven in the projects carried out by CeBiM during the 10 years of operation of the Centre:
· analysis and identification of those economic sectors within the region which have the highest export potential,
· determination of export promotion directions, based on nation-wide studies and opinion surveys carried out among business people,
· development of comprehensive information on selected sectors of the regional economy and a programme of training, seminars and consultations on economic characteristics for each direction of export expansion,
· organisation of economic missions, trade fair presentations, B2B meetings, study visits, etc.
In practice, this involved improving the tools for the promotion of such sectors as furniture, cosmetics, food, new technologies, clothing and design, construction and transport and machinery industries.
The destinations considered most promising, but also posing a considerable logistical and conceptual challenge in 2018 included countries such as the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Azerbaijan (Baku), Senegal (Dakar) and Spain ( Barcelona). An important signal for the future of our economic relations was the cancellation, at the request of a foreign partner, the mission from Ukraine and prompt response to entrepreneurs' demand for the organisation of the seminar on ... cooperation with Ukraine in the context of the current situation in the regional labour market. The difficult relationship with our eastern neighbour will probably be the subject of discussions initiated by CeBiM and businesses for many times.
At the same time, an analysis of the economic characteristics of foreign consumers has allowed the presentation of manufacturers of cosmetics, footwear and clothing, new information technologies, construction and transport companies and the food processing industry from Małopolska. The information and consultation meetings held in 2018 were attended by 330 entrepreneurs from the subregions of Kraków, Tarnów, Nowy Sącz and Wadowice. During the meetings, they were prepared to make the first steps on difficult, demanding and highly competitive foreign markets. The issues directly related to export development were summarised in the Małopolska Exporter Forum of Małoposka held in September, prepared by Małopolska Voivodeship as part of the project „Business in Małopolska – Support and development for your company being a project complementary to „Power up…”.
The activities under these projects form only a part of the export support programme being implemented by CeBiM. Information services for SMEs (amounting to 960 in 2018) and support in direct contacts of foreign business partners with potential partners in our region (a total of 290 in 2018) are provided on an ongoing basis. It is worth noting the growing cooperation with the new Foreign Trade Offices of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, which have the ambition to play a dominant role in the support for Polish exporters. CeBiM became a regular partner some of them.
In recent years, the visit to CeBiM has become an obligatory point of agenda for foreign economic delegations during their stay in Krakow and Małopolska. In 2018 we hosted entrepreneurs and development experts from such countries as e.g. China, Georgia, Taiwan, Ukraine and UAE. This is an important element in building the international economic brand of Małopolska and enhancing the awareness about products and services "made in...", regardless of still too limited opportunities for effective marketing in Asian or Arabian markets. In this case, there is a need to work on a supra-regional scale, with the perspective of many years of intensive economic promotion.
The support of regional exports under CeBiM in 2018 revealed several new trends and confirmed those earlier: entrepreneurs continue to see the EU market as the most interesting fro exporters while recognising the need to examine opportunities in areas of growing demand; the demand for regional export "motors" or "showcases" is still vivid, with an observable and dynamic export strategy for new and novice companies in different industries; the development of exports requires considerable financial effort and support, but entrepreneurs do not wait for more or less available "grants" but rather invest their own resources in international expansion.
In 2018, CeBiM, which is a common undertaking of the Małopolska Voivodeship, MARR S.A. and Krakow Technological Park, prepared and submitted to the Regional Operational programme of the Małopolska Region another project entitled "Power up... 2 ". The measures contained therein to support Małopolska exports are even more ambitious, comprehensive and... even harder to implement. This is another challenge faced by us in the Business in Małopolska centre and by our entrepreneurs.
Jacek Adamczyk , DOIE MARR S.A.