While the furor over the Polish Holocaust law flared again in Israel last week, a delegation of 100 Polish business leaders headed by the country’s new minister for entrepreneurship was in Tel Aviv, looking for deals and investments, Globes reported on Tuesday.
Polish Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology Jadwiga Emilewicz said: “Poland is a big market of 38 million people, but for that reason, it is hard for the small and medium-sized Polish entrepreneurs on whom Polish development is based to think globally. For them, it is enough to offer services to a third or a quarter of the Polish market.”
It’s her hope that contacts with Israeli entrepreneurs will broaden their horizons.
“Today, even though our growth is very rapid (GDP is growing at 5 percent annually and we’re in second place after Romania among the developing countries in the European Union), we’re still copying things that already exist, not innovating,” Emilewicz said.
She was in Israel along with Polish Investment and Trade Agency executive VP Wojciech Fedko for an economic forum in Tel Aviv where some 200 Israeli businesspeople and companies took part.
Meanwhile, a main attraction of Poland continues to be cheap labor. Even if wages have gone up in recent years, they are still lower than their counterparts in more developed countries like France and Germany.
“The cost of employees for companies is half of the cost in Israel,” said Council of the Polish-Israeli Chamber of Commerce president Elroy Knebel.
“Furthermore, the personnel are topnotch: the rate of higher education is among the highest in the world.” Polish programmers took first place in Europe and third place worldwide after China and Russia in the Hacker Rank ratings.
While bilateral ties have a long way to go, Emilewicz said there were signs of progress:
“I met with 20 Israeli IT startups that came to my office and asked what they could develop for the Polish market, so yes, I feel that there is interest from the Israeli market in coming to Poland and we’re at the beginning of the journey. I believe that our program with Start-Up Nation Central will open the gate for both sides, because now it’s possible to co-operate even without physically changing places,” she said.