United States business mission visited Katowice

The City of Katowice hosted a business mission from the United States last week. The group of businessmen and journalists from New York, Washington and Atlanta spent a few days in Katowice experiencing local culture and collecting business and economic information about the agglomeration.

The main purpose of the business tour, that also included Warsaw, was to present Poland and the two cities as an attractive outsourcing destination. The group have met Katowice government and business representatives and visited, among others, GPP Business Park, Euro-Centrum and the office branch of Capgemini in the Altus building.

One of the first opinions after the trip was voiced by Thom Mead, CEO of Globalization Today – a magazine and consulting company. “The city of Katowice in a period of transition will soon be a thriving, beautiful metropolis with a regional population comparable to Atlanta. While construction cranes were visible in nearly every district, they have taken great strides to preserve the city’s character. But despite its tourist charm, delicious food, and good quality of life, Poland is ready for business, outsourcing business to be specific.”

Similarly to many business persons from the United States who have been visiting Katowice before, the safety issue is still one of the key factors for Americans while establishing firms abroad. “Unlike some destinations I have frequented around the world, one can feel completely safe in Poland. […] As I told the Mayor of Katowice when we had dinner on my last night there: If I was with an American company and was selected to be the Country Manager for Poland, I would have no hesitation to move me or my family here. I cannot say the same for several other, more well-known outsourcing destinations.” – Thom Mead wrote at globalizationtoday.com.

The group have also attended an outsourcing conference in Katowice that gathered speakers of Cisco, IBM, JP Morgan and Microsoft, in the presence of Paul Fogo, board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland. The event was also participated by local representatives of Capgemini, Jones Lang LaSalle, Hays, GPP Business Park, Katowice Special Economic Zone and the Silesian University of Technology.

The attendees talked over outsourcing issues in the context of the Katowice agglomeration’s resources and capabilities. For the record, there were 36 service centers in operation with a 7 500 headcount at the end of 2011 in the area. It is expected the number of employees will reach 9 000 by the end of this year. “You have to think globally. Katowice competes not only with Kraków and Wrocław at the outsourcing market. Your competitor is, for example, Jakarta and all the other cities around the globe attracting outsourcing projects and companies” – said Michał Jaworski, national technology officer at Microsoft Poland. He also pointed out one additional important factor that is taken into consideration by outsourcing investors. “While trying to win new investors, you need to remember the global companies have to care for their reputation when they decide about new destinations for their projects”.

The outsourcing conference was organized by the Association of Business Sector Leaders, American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, Katowice Special Economic Zone and the City Hall of Katowice.