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Green shoots in the business world

Better sentiment among entrepreneurs, the results of a 2024 business survey suggest. Poland among the three best-rated investment locations.

Entrepreneurs are looking to the future with more optimism than in the past several months. This applies both to the prospects for their own businesses and the economy as a whole.

Government decisions related to the business environment are also viewed more positively. Poland was among the three best-rated investment locations among the countries surveyed. Membership in the European Union is still considered a key factor in favor of foreign investment in Poland.

The results of the prosperity survey ‘Poland in the opinion of foreign investors,’ conducted in February/March 2024 on behalf of the Polish-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Poland) and in cooperation with the IGCC (a network of international chambers of commerce operating in Poland), indicate that entrepreneurs assess the condition of the economy and their own industry much better than last year, and many also expect their companies’ performance to improve.

“The results of the survey indicate that the economy is recovering from the prolonged phase of economic weakness observed throughout Europe, and reflect positive business sentiment regarding economic developments in the coming months,” said Lars Gutheil, Managing Director of the Polish-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Poland).

More than 87% of survey participants rated the state of the economy as good or satisfactory, an increase of more than 20 p.p. over last year’s results. In contrast, far fewer entrepreneurs rated the state of the economy as bad: 12.8% of survey participants thought so in 2024, while as many as 33.6% in 2023.

The business community also looks with hope at the new government’s actions in key areas. More than 87% have a positive or neutral assessment of the government’s actions with regard to general conditions for investors, and more than 73% think the same of the government’s activity regarding support for businesses in connection with the energy transition. “The new government’s declared openness to dialogue with businesses and the first decisions of the new administration have been welcomed by the business community,” Gutheil emphasizes.

Surveyed entrepreneurs also pointed to the improving situation of their industries. Nearly a third of respondents assessed the situation as good (an increase of almost 10 p.p. compared to last year), while slightly fewer rated it as satisfactory. Compared to last year, the percentage of respondents rating the industry’s situation as bad only slightly decreased (20.1%). Nearly a quarter, however, expect the industry’s condition to improve in the current year.

The well-evaluated condition of industries is also reflected in the assessment of companies’ prospects. More than half of entrepreneurs rate their company’s business situation as good (up more than 6 p.p.), while one in four assume that the situation will improve in the coming months. More than 80% of entrepreneurs expect turnover to increase or remain at the same level. The outlook for exports is also better than last year: more than 70% of companies expect export revenues to remain at the current level, and one in four respondents expects them to increase. The recovery is also evidenced by a greater willingness to invest, as 3 out of 10 companies intend to increase expenditures for this purpose. In addition, one in three companies expects an increase in the number of employees. “Both the current macroeconomic situation in Poland and the situation of companies are assessed much more positively than last year, also with regard to export activity. This is a very positive outlook for Polish-German trade relations” Gutheil says.

The results of this year’s survey confirm that Poland continues to lead the highest-rated investment locations among the countries surveyed. This year it ranked in the top three, after Estonia and Lithuania. Twenty-five factors influencing the country’s investment attractiveness were evaluated, grouped into five areas: Economic and Administrative Policy, Taxation, Economic Environment, Labor Market and Infrastructure. At the same time, it is worth noting that almost all respondents (98.2%) doing business in Poland would choose the country again as an investment destination. Invariably for years, the greatest influence on Poland’s attractiveness as a place to do business has been indicated by its membership in the European Union. Good communications, both in the form of the quality of communication networks and services, as well as transportation and logistics, are also mentioned among the next most important assets. Thus, infrastructure factors were recognized in this year’s survey, while last year’s survey primarily emphasized the quality and availability of subcontractors and employees.

Respondents also identified areas for improvement. “According to entrepreneurs, the main challenges are rapid implementation of the energy transition, reform of the tax system and better availability of workers,” Gutheil points out.

In addition, factors such as the quality of vocational training, public administration and transparency of public procurement were listed among the biggest challenges for companies. The predictability of economic policy, the tax burden and labor costs are also rated low, but it is worth noting that this year there were slightly fewer negative indications of these categories compared to last year.

Sylwia Ziemacka
Sylwia Ziemacka
“I believe our unique selling point is that we focus on what brings us together. Poland Weekly offers something you will not find anywhere else: a truly international and unifying perspective focused on content that builds cooperation and mutual understanding. This attitude doesn't make us naïve, but it allows us to focus on mutual understanding and a search for solutions. There are so many new challenges that we are all facing, such as energy transformation, climate change and supply chain disruption, to name but a few. By working together and sharing good practices, we can achieve so much more.”