Poland Abounds with Entrepreneurs
More than a half of young Europeans are keen to start their own business, according to the 2007 Eurobarometer on entrepreneurial mindset in the EU. And young Poles are in the lead in this respect. Academic Enterprise Incubators report that 68 percent of first year students plan to become an entrepreneur.
Tomek Szczesny and his friends established a Managerial Development Forum, which organizes conferences and training courses for business people. Their idea caught the attention of Tad Witkowicz, a US businessman of Polish extraction, who supported the students financially.
Tomek says that he sees around himself many young Poles who want to become self-employed. Lots of our friends and young people in Poland are thinking of creating their own company. There several reasons. One is that corporate work doesn't give so much joy and opportunities to grow. The best way to learn and to gain experience is to create your own company.
The richest student in Poland is Maciej Popowicz, the brain behind a record popular Our Class website, which enables graduates of various schools get in touch. It started modestly on his PC. Today the firm employs 35 people and has 300 servers. Popowicz earned several dozen million zlotys when he sold a 20 percent share in his website to a German investor.
Specialists say that learning the entrepreneurial attitude should start at primary school level. The Junior Achievement Foundation is targeting both primary and secondary school pupils. Barbara Szymczyk, its PR director, agrees that it is best to start such education early. 'This school year enrollment in our programs is over 700,000 students, so I guess we can be proud of ourselves. This is the stage when you can form one's mind. It is early enough. Probably kindergarten would be too early, but primary school is the perfect time to start teaching about entrepreneurship, about active attitude to life, about creativity, which we do.
One of the main programs realized by the Foundation is the Company. The Company program is the perfect example of our learning by doing approach. Students, ages from 16 to 19, form mini-companies at school. They come up with an idea of a product or service, they elect their managers' team responsible for each department, they produce, they sell, keep records and finally they share the profit. This school year 2007-2008 we registered 344 teams in the program..
It is not easy to start a business of one's own but it's worth the risk, says Tomek Szczesny from the Managerial Development Forum. Of course, it is very hard to start but there are enough capital and business angles in Poland to seek capital invest in our own businesses. I am now observing lots of new businesses in Poland, especially in the high tech sector. The prospects are very good because the economy is boosting, our labor force is rather cheap so now it is a good time to start a business in Poland. In 2007 some 350 firms operating within the framework of the Academic Enterprise Incubators generated a total of 8 million zloty income. This is only a fraction of the whole scene, as every year more than 66 thousand firms are established by people below 30.
Source: Radio Polskie