Poland holds opportunities for Georgia food processing, financial services and technology companies, according to experts at the “Poland: Open for Business” conference that was held here on April 18.

“Poland could use investment in dairy, chicken and turkey processing,” said Witold Sulmirski, founder of the first foreign-owned bank in Poland, American Bank. “Expertise and equipment are needed to make dairy products meet European Union requirements as well,” he said.

The largest and most successful of the formerly communist Central and Eastern European countries is also in need of investment from financial services companies that offer a wider array of products and technical know-how, said the Polish National Bank’s president, Hanna Grokiewicz-Waltz. 

Currently only 40% of the country’s population uses banks, mainly because retired and low-income Poles do not want to invest what money they have, said Ms. Grokiewicz-Waltz. However, she added, with time and exposure to more financial options, that will change.

Poland has been attracting technology research and development facilities to take advantage of a well-educated and low cost workforce, said Bill Dumont, executive vice president of global business development at eShare Technologies, Inc. The Atlanta-based information technology company operates a software development facility in Krakow.

Mr. Dumont said that labor costs are half of what they are in the U.S. and Krakow’s 11 universities produce a great number of talented high-tech workers. Infrastructure shortcomings are rapidly improving, he added.

Mr. Sulmirski cited a labor production rate 30% lower than that of the U.S., due, he said, to workers often having inadequate tools and a liberal attitude toward work. However, he said, high-tech companies tell him that given tools, leadership and incentive, Polish workers could be as good as the Dutch.

To learn more about Poland, contact the Polish-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeastern U.S. at (404) 633-0015.