6 minute read 30 Mar 2021
Softlanding – Poland welcomes foreign startups

Softlanding – Poland welcomes foreign startups

Authors
Krzysztof Witkowski

Associate Partner, EY

Experienced advisor with 15 years of experience in finance, business strategy and operations within EY. Privately, a husband and a father. Real football fan and traveler.

Olena Kolikhova

Innovation Manager

Passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, an expert in modern technologies for business. In EY Olena is responsible for driving innovation, cooperation with technology companies and VC funds.

6 minute read 30 Mar 2021
Related topics Start-ups

Polish version

Foreign companies more frequently decide to choose Poland as an attractive place of their business expansion. 

There has been a steady growth of interest in doing business in Poland among companies from the East for the last several years. This trend is efficiently being fueled by both governmental and private initiatives. One of them is the Soft Landing program - implemented by Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in cooperation with, among others, EY.

The number of foreign companies registering their business in Poland is increasing each year. According to the report "Investment Attractiveness of Europe 2019" Poland was recognized as the 7th most attractive location for the foreign direct investment in Europe. Ahead of us were France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands .

Why is it profitable to do business in Poland?

Poland is an excellent place for business development on an international scale. There are many factors that speak in favor of choosing Poland: from geographic, social and macroeconomic, to investment ones.

 

In the heart of Europe

One of the most important reasons is our location – right in the middle of Europe. For logistical reasons, the company's location in Poland is an excellent choice for companies planning to export their products both to the East and to the West.

An additional advantage is a quite large internal market. As the largest country in Central and Eastern Europe and the 6th largest in Europe by population, Poland has a potential of 38 million consumers and gives access to a European Union market which is estimated at 500 million consumers.

Macroeconomic stability

Poland, as one of the few European countries, has managed to maintain a relatively good - for a pandemic - economic situation. The decline in GDP is lower than the average in the European Union. Likewise, the data concerning other indicators, such as inflation or unemployment rate, look optimistic.

Attractive investment incentives

Companies investing in Poland can count on government support and non-governmental initiatives that allow for an easy start of business. One of the systemic government incentives is, for example, the available income tax exemption (depending on location up to 70% of investment costs or two years of employment costs), for companies implementing new investments on both public and private land. In addition, there is, for example, the possibility of taking advantage of income tax relief for conducting research and development activities, giving the benefit of double inclusion in the tax base of certain costs of R&D activities.

Soft-landing program – the first step should not be difficult

The Soft Landing Program is an initiative led by Cambridge Innovation Center and Foundation Venture Café Warsaw in cooperation with EY and Polish Investment and Trade Agency. Its aim is to help foreign companies to quickly and comfortably start and develop their business activity in Poland. The program helps startups and scaleups create a plan to enter the international market, enables them to establish cooperation with the local ecosystem and provides an opportunity to test the potential of the business.

The Soft Landing program was created on CIC's Warsaw campus - a great place to start. The campus welcomes both creative startups at the beginning of their career and larger companies looking for new spaces to grow and scale their business. One of the main elements of the campus are the Scale-up Floors and in them specialized industry HUBs - places where people, infrastructure, knowledge and projects come together based on a specific theme. However, physical presence on campus is not a prerequisite for participation in the program. Participants can also join the program remotely. All the companies participating in the Soft Landing program have access to the knowledge, trends and global marketplace of contacts offered by program partners.

Soft Landing – 4 steps

The Soft Landing program is structured in a way that allows you to learn the rules of the market and connect with key players, meet customers and key institutions, and establish relationships with other startups. The program is divided into 4 steps where program partners share their expertise.

Pre-landing - basic knowledge is presented to the participant company prior to the relocation to prepare this company for the move in a best possible way.

New entity - Immigration and relocation stage - beneficiaries of the program receive full assistance in establishing a business in Poland.

First 30 days - Support during the first month of operations at the new location - streamlining of processes and connecting to the local network.

Scaling – up - Financial, operational and business scaling support, as well as assistance with outsourcing and talent acquisition.

Professional EY experts advisory

One of the main benefits that program participants receive is care and guidance from EY consultants. This support can be divided into 4 areas.

Legal support related to company registration in Poland

Within this area the participants of the program receive basic legal support, e.g. support in choosing an appropriate legal form, preparing necessary documents, establishing a company, adjusting to European and Polish regulations in the scope of personal data protection, ensuring appropriate protection and transfer of intellectual property rights and also legal support in offering IT solutions on the Polish market.

 

The greatest difficulty for foreign companies may be caused by the lack of understanding of all the legal mechanisms being in force in Poland and their impact on a newly established business. The choice of the legal form in Poland, corporate structure and forms of employment determine tax obligations or other administrative costs. It is also important to understand that in Poland, future clients, especially IT companies, will find it crucial to secure intellectual property and protect privacy. Decisions made by a new entrepreneur in Poland may at the very beginning significantly affect the success of his business. Having experienced experts in many fields, including lawyers, tax advisors, and employment experts, EY is able to build an optimal model of operations and help build trust on the market in a comprehensive way.
Justyna Wilczynska-Baraniak
EY Polska, EY Law, Intellectual Property, Technologies and Personal Data, Associate Partner, Attorney-at-law

Tax advisory

Assistance provided by EY specialists relates to basic information on tax law in Poland and ongoing tax support for foreign entities.

Immigration advisory

As part of the support, foreign entrepreneurs receive assistance in obtaining documents legalizing residence and employment of foreigners, as well as in relocating an employee to Poland.

Scaling-up business – EYnovation

The EYnovation team provides support at the final stage of the program, when the foreign company has already completed most of the formalities. This is when the challenges of developing a company in a new land arise.

Soft Landing" program was created in cooperation with our partners to support foreign entrepreneurs who want to build and develop their business in Poland. By joining the program, companies will not only receive our support in registering business in Poland and gain knowledge in such areas as migration and tax law, but will also join the ecosystem of Polish entrepreneurs, will be able to establish valuable contacts with VC funds, organizations and institutions supporting Polish startups, meet potential clients and partners. The offer addresses all the foreign companies and the recruitment to the program is open continuously.
Krzysztof Witkowski
Associate Partner, EY

About this article

Authors
Krzysztof Witkowski

Associate Partner, EY

Experienced advisor with 15 years of experience in finance, business strategy and operations within EY. Privately, a husband and a father. Real football fan and traveler.

Olena Kolikhova

Innovation Manager

Passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, an expert in modern technologies for business. In EY Olena is responsible for driving innovation, cooperation with technology companies and VC funds.

Related topics Start-ups

Summary

Recruitment for the program is continuous. The applicants are mainly technology companies operating in the IT industry. They range from small, few-person startups to larger entities with 40-50 employees. A large number of participants come from Eastern Europe, especially from Belarus and Ukraine. The program is still developing and adapting to the needs of its participants, who can count on the flexibility of consultants and their personalized approach. Companies that complete the program can count on the continued support and partnership with EY Poland.