Poland has an important role to play in the economic integration between Western and Eastern countries – prove the organizers of the Baltic Business Forum. The economic forum, held for the fourth time now in Świnoujście and neighbouring Heringsdorf, begins on April 25th 2012.
‘It is in Poland’s interest to show partners from the North and the West that it is best to reach the East through Poland, locate their business here and engage in commercial ventures,’ says Jacek Piechota, the former minister of economy, the president of the Baltic Business Forum. ‘We have all assets to function as an intermediary: we have a thorough understanding of different business cultures of the West and the East and because of our own experiences we can also identify challenges arising from free market and democratic transformations. This undoubtedly makes us experts on Eastern markets valuable for the West,’ he adds.
The Baltic Business Forum in Świnoujście and neighbouring Heringsdorf is therefore well-attended each year by businessmen, politicians and experts from both Western and Northern Europe, as well as Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan, who meet to discuss transnational and regional economic strategies, but also to establish business relations. ‘Within the Baltic Business Forum we create a platform of various solutions and services that could be employed by businessmen thinking about expanding their business in Eastern European countries,’ explains Łukasz Białek, the head of the Baltic Business Forum board of directors.
This year’s attendees of the Baltic Business Forum can take advantage of the International Brokerage Event. It is a dedicated online application that allows participants, even prior to their arrival in Świnoujście, to get to know each other, present their business profiles and finalized and planned investments. This solution enables them to make more efficient use of their stay by the Baltic in order to establish business contacts. ‘Every participating company will have its own virtual calendar. Using the application, it is possible to invite a potential client for a meeting, and if he/she is busy at a proposed time, the system will compare both calendars and suggest other date and time that are convenient for both sides,’ Białek explains.
Apart from informal meetings essential for business development, an important part of this year’s Baltic Business Forum is plenary sessions where invited experts will discuss conditions and barriers in exchange of goods, services and capital between the West and the East. Separate panels are dedicated to e.g. power industry, logistics, banking and finances, telecommunications, computer studies, ecology, foodstuff trade and even the media. Forum’s participants will also debate economic strategies for the Baltic region. ‘It is an area of very intensive development which Poland has not been very active in so far,’ admits Andrzej Kaczmarek, the former secretary of state in the ministry of economy, the vice-president of the Baltic Business Forum. ‘By including the Eastern Partnership countries, as well as the Far East, in our forum we become a leader in finding new prospects for the entire Baltic Sea basin,’ he adds. A new prospect could be offered by Chinese capital, which the organizers seek to stress heavily, hence this year’s forum in Świnoujście begins with a session meaningfully entitled ‘Baltic – Poland – China’.
All the debates are held at a modern conference centre, Interferie Medical SPA in Świnoujście, conveniently connected with the local railway station and airports in Heringsdorf and Szczecin-Goleniów. The forum is organized by: the Baltic Business Forum Association, the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, the President of Świnoujście and the Marshal of Zachodniopomorskie Province, and held under the honorary patronage of the Minister of Economy, Waldemar Pawlak.
More details on www.bbf2012.pl