The first club debate after summer vacation took place on September 18 at Hotel Bristol. The axis of the event was a panel discussion featuring the invited experts, focused on the expansion of Polish companies to foreign markets. The event took place under the Honorary Patronage of the Family Enterprise Initiative Association (Stowarzyszenie Inicjatywa Firm Rodzinnych).
The content-oriented part of the debate was inaugurated by a speech given by Cezary Pietrasik, founder and CEO of Healthdom – a start-up from the Tech-Med industry based in Silicon Valley. It is an individualized medical prevention platform utilizing genetic information, behavioral data, and a survey to determine when and what to examine in order not to fall ill. The speaker also outlined the business environment in the US, which is significantly different from what we are used to in Europe. For example, there are no non-competition laws, so employees are free to start their own start-ups in the same industry at any time. Individual states are like separate markets. In Arizona, for instance, telehealth services cannot be developed because of a strong lobby of “traditional” doctors. There are also very well developed business accelerators at universities, which are free of charge and guarantee good acquaintances and sponsors. The market, on the other hand, is very deep, which makes it possible to find a niche which is very exotic from our perspective, e.g. a company worth USD 1.7 billion focuses on maintaining order in share registers. When it comes to the medical industry, due to the complexity of the American healthcare system, this market has numerous entry points.
The next point on the agenda was a discussion panel moderated by prof. SGH, dr hab. Roman Sobiecki – Dean of the Collegium of Business Administration, Warsaw School of Economics; His panelists were: Paweł Dziekoński – Vice President of the Management Board at Kazar, Jarosław Jankowski – Manager for Business Development at Fracht FWO Polska, Jarosław Jaworski – President of the Management Board at Coface in Poland, Maciej Pyrka – Country Manager for Poland at Emirates, prof. Jerzy Witold Pietrewicz – Head of the Department of Market Analysis, Collegium of Business Administration, Warsaw School of Economics. At the very beginning the panelists unanimously pointed to Africa and Dubai as the most promising directions of expansion for Polish companies. These markets have many entry points and are very absorbent. Dubai, for example, is located in a desert, but it still purchases a lot of sand because the local sand is not suitable for use in construction. After learning the local customs, market characteristics, restrictions, and using the services of, for example, a credit information company, only one thing – very important in the opinion of our experts – remains to be done. Namely, to have a representative on-site. Such a person can get to know the market directly and join what the panelists referred to as the “local mafia”, i.e. establish contacts with the key economic and business entities. In a nutshell, they’ll gather in-depth knowledge about the business environment.
Another important thematic segment was state aid in foreign expansion. The panelists agreed that what is currently missing is an export bank that would follow Polish companies to foreign markets and support them financially. Such support is necessary, because, as it was stated in the panel, “the competition is already abroad and nobody is waiting there for us, so we need to do what we can to keep up.”
Honorary Patron: Family Enterprise Initiative
Partners: Emirates, Fracht FWO Polska, Kazar Group, Polish Investment and Trade Agency