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OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurship: Poland 2010: Key Issues and Policies
OECD Publishing, July 2010, Pages: 220
The rapid growth of small, private companies over the past 20 years has been one of the greatest successes of the post-Communist transformation in Poland. The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector today contributes 69% of employment, nearly 60% of turnover and 56% of value added in the Polish economy. As in most countries, SMEs allocate relatively little, less than 5% of revenues, to fixed investment and their productivity is less than in large enterprises. But productivity in the sector, especially in micro-enterprises, has nevertheless risen more rapidly than in large enterprises. Both entry and exit rates for enterprises, almost entirely small ones, are higher in Poland than on average in the EU. This indicates considerable dynamism in the sector which has contributed to the progressive diversification of the Polish economy since the end of central planning.
However, the sector remains weak. It is disproportionately represented by micro-enterprises (those with fewer than ten employees). A significant number of large firms exist in the Polish economy, but there are relatively few firms in the intermediate size classes, especially the 10-49 employee class. This suggests important barriers to the establishment or growth of small firms beyond the micro-enterprise class. Survey evidence indicates that the lack of critical mass is often reflected in a lack of operational sophistication and too little attention to strategy development, record-keeping, marketing and innovation. A majority of SMEs have problems with management quality and two-thirds are focused on survival and maintaining their current position, rather than on development or growth.
As a result, SMEs in Poland often lack the resources or willingness to invest in new technology. Innovation expenditures, especially on research and development (R&D), are low. SMEs are disadvantaged in terms of capital relative to EU counterparts and are more likely to report difficulties due to: lack of skilled labour; a bureaucratic regulatory and procedural environment; poor infrastructure; and high labour costs. Only 8% of new enterprises started in 2007 raised bank funding to support their activity. The resulting low quality of their products or processes makes them generally uncompetitive in EU or global markets. Few SMEs in Poland are involved in export activity, and participation in public procurement, especially by younger micro- and small enterprises, is low.
SME and Entrepreneurship Performance in Poland Today
SME Framework Conditions and the Business Environment in Poland
SME and Entrepreneurship Policies and Programmes in Poland
The Local Dimension to SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Poland
SME and Entrepreneurship Policy Assessment and Recommendations for Poland
Annex A - Chronology of Major SME and Entrepreneurship Policy Events and Initiatives in Poland
Annex B - Main Strategic Documents and SME and Entrepreneurship-Related Policies Since 2003
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