Poland's third-largest city has been on a regeneration and reinvention mission from its industrial past in an effort to attract global players to the fast-modernising and investor-friendly region of the European Union (EU).
Łódź aims to become a viable post-Brexit investor-friendly hub for global investments.
The city's universities have been adjusting their curriculum and courses to meet the needs of local businesses as well as multinationals setting up in the region.
ód offers a range of incentives to potential investors, including an exemption from property tax and regional investment aid.
The city of ód , pronounced Woodge, is known as the Manchester of Poland for a similar 19th century industrial and textile production heritage that it shares with the northern England city. However, for some years now, Poland's third-largest city after Warsaw and Krakow has been on a transformation mission, which has resulted in innovative new schemes such as a plush shopping destination within a former giant factory called Manufaktura and the city's buzzing main artery Off Piotrkowska.
Łódź, located in central Poland, prides itself with 150-year-old industrial architecture which is at the heart of the regeneration vision. A part of the modernising plan is a vision to become a viable post-Brexit investor-friendly hub for global investments, with India firmly on that list. And, Indian companies have been quick to grab the opportunities on offer in this attractive new EU destination.
There are over 200 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from India already actively operating in the ód region, which is an easy ride from the capital Warsaw. Leading the charge is software giant Infosys and Tata Group companies Tata Communications, Tata Motors and Tata Global Beverages.
“The Indian companies operate across various sectors including BPM, IT, textiles, packaging, logistics, tractors, pharma and engineering, creating thousands of jobs. There is a 30 to 50 per cent tax incentive on offer within the wider ód kie region depending on the type of investment,” explains Amit Lath, CEO and Managing Partner of Sharda Group of Companies, who has been based in ód for many years.
“The Indian community has grown from just five people in 1998 to over 2,000 staying permanently plus many of them travelling to ód and ód kie region from other cities related to business. Thanks to this growing Indian community, we managed to get a British International School to the city of ód , with the Mayor offering us a building,” adds Lath, who is also Vice-President of the Indo Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IPCCI). Hanna Zdanowska, the Mayor of Łódź, has been overseeing the city's enormous regeneration project and is keen to balance environmental and social concerns with economic considerations. She says: “The scope of the works is wide, as it applies to both the revitalisation of entire quarters of the city and numerous other complementary projects. We will restore tenement houses, redevelop entire streets, modernise parks, plant trees and reduce traffic in the city centre.
“We will also invest in culture, renovate historical monuments and improve public transportation. Commercial developers believe in Łódź because they see that we consistently implement our growth strategy to make Łódź a beautiful city and a great place to live in.”
As part of a connected approach, the city's universities have been adjusting their curriculum and courses to meet the needs of local businesses as well as multinationals setting up in the region. The Youth in Łódź programme is another comprehensive human resource development project, which covers scholarship and training programmes and employer branding initiatives, aimed at helping local entrepreneurs and investors acquire skilled professionals.
Over time, the city of Łódź has emerged as Poland's second most popular in terms of attracting EU funds after Warsaw. Richard Stephens, Founder-Editor of Poland Today, notes: "The city of ód has many advantages: it is the third largest city in Poland, with a population of over 700,000 people, it′s centrally located - right in the heart of the country, it′s close to the capital city Warsaw - and to its major airport, Okecie.
“And it has an industrial heritage which has allowed it to adapt to the needs of current business demands, and many multinational companies have set up factories or regional offices - especially in the business services sector. Finally, the dynamic city authorities, led by Mayor Hanna Zdanowska, are investing in the city′s infrastructure, giving the future development of the city even more potential."
The city's Business Development and International Relations Bureau says its aim is to serve as a one-stop-shop for overseas businesses. It offers a range of incentives to potential investors, including an exemption from property tax and regional investment aid to support initial investments in manufacturing activities and the creation of new jobs for a certain period of time, based on the nature of the initial investment and the number of new jobs resulting from that investment. Additionally, the Łódź Special Economic Zone has some tax relief options around income tax as well as real estate tax, besides support at every stage of the investment process.