The city of Wrocław took home Emerging Europe’s award for City FDI Strategy of the Year 2018, seeing off fierce competition from a number of other cities across the region. The city is one of Poland’s top FDI destinations, and the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency (ARAW) has helped the city attract over 200 investment projects and created over 90,000 jobs in the last 12 years.
“For many years Wrocław was a completely unknown city to many Europeans, not to mention people from other continents,” Karolina Grzyb, director at ARAW, tells Emerging Europe. “It was only after Poland joined the EU that the representatives of the municipality started to undertake certain initiatives aimed at making Wrocław more recognisable on the international map.”
Wrocław was the first city in Poland to establish a local investment promotion agency, and has inspired other cities to follow suit.
“Our activities have become known across Poland, and other cities have begun to take our example and establish similar organisations,” adds Ms Grzyb.
“Our role is to present investors with all the required information necessary in the decision-making process, but above all to lead the investor by the hand throughout the investment process, making sure that all aspects of conducting new business in a foreign environment are clear to the investor,” says Ms Grzyb.
Besides promotion, ARAW now also fosters local entrepreneurship, particularly hi-tech start-ups. “We work on developing the ecosystem and encourage cooperation between start-ups and big enterprises or venture capitals,” says Ms Grzyb.
Wrocław could be the future of advanced technology and operations in Poland. A majority of the companies that have invested in the city are delivering increasingly complex services and advanced products. ARAW is doubling down its focus on attracting talent in order to further develop business in Wrocław.
“This is why companies still have great potential for further development: R&D, automation, advanced technologies, electromobility – these sectors have room for further growth in our city. It is the high quality of performance, skills and talent that ARAW provides rather than low cost opportunities for new business,” notes Ms Grzyb.
Wrocław is known for its experienced and talented candidates. Key investors in various sectors include Volvo, Toyota, BASF and Mercedes-Benz in automotive, LG, Whirlpool, and Electrolux in whitegoods, UTC Aerospace systems, Bombardier, and Balluf in mechanical engineering and automation, 3M, USP, and PPG in chemicals and pharmaceuticals and a strong service sector to boot (BPO, SSC, IT) which includes companies such as Nokia, McKinsey, Capgemini, BNY Mellon, Google, HPE, Credit Suisse and IBM, to name but a few.
“Today, with many advanced technologies, sophisticated operations and new processes being carried out in Wrocław, the focus has moved to attracting talent. We hope that winning the Emerging Europe Awards will make Wrocław even more popular among experienced professionals and lure talent to actually come and live here,” concludes Ms Grzyb.