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Most Polish entrepreneurs are long-distance runners

Double exposure of business people who work together in office

Most Polish entrepreneurs are long-distance runners

The last 35 years of our shared history can hardly be described as a fairytale idyll that has led us from one success to the next. Wars (including in Europe), economic crises and rapidly changing supply chain conditions, and finally a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill for several months – in short, both phenomena that we influenced and those that no one saw coming – have dramatically changed the business environment.

Those who survived were those who maintained flexibility from the beginning, allowing them to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Time has shown that this was the majority. According to the latest data, 53% of the private companies established by Poles in 1989 are still in operation. 13,776 companies that have been in business for 35 years are still offering their services. Perhaps the key is the fact that these are mainly small and medium-sized enterprises, as the report Polish Pioneers of Entrepreneurship shows. 35-Year-Old Companies in Poland[1].

The report also shows that small and medium-sized enterprises stand out in terms of productivity compared to other business size categories – they generate significantly higher revenues per employee compared to large enterprises and especially microenterprises. It turns out that as many as 85% of the companies covered by the cited report function as sole proprietorships, including as many as 97% of the surveyed companies with only one owner. So much so that at the same time these companies employ 81,373 workers.

In the three Silesian provinces of Opole, Lower Silesia and Silesia, there are 2,676 such companies. On the other hand, the list of cities with the highest number of such registered companies in our province includes Katowice, as well as Bielsko Biała, Gliwice and Tychy, Częstochowa, Sosnowiec and Zabrze.

Looking at the object of activity of “35-year-olds”, the most represented is section H of the CPC – transport and storage, followed by section G of the CPC, which includes both wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles. The next largest group is specialized stores, which carry out retail sales of goods. In third place (2321 units) is industrial processing – section C of the CPC.

-Most of these companies are facing the biggest challenge and the most important decision of the last 35 years. It’s a question of succession and the future of the companies, notes Iwona Gramatyka, CEO of EXPO Katowice. – This will ultimately determine whether these companies will grow, and if so, in what direction.

There are several ways. The first, natural one is children. The second is partners, managers we know and who we think will continue the work of the founders. The third is sale, but this requires a lot of preparation and sometimes changes that no one would have planned in the case of natural succession.

Meanwhile, in our country, research shows that only 30% of entrepreneurs have achieved succession by passing the family business to the second generation. Only 6% of companies are managed by the third generation of the family. It is noteworthy that 85% of the managers of Polish family businesses would like to transfer their function to the next generation. Unfortunately, only 8% of successors say they want to take over the business.[2].

Najwięcej firm założonych jeszcze w 1989 roku jest w Wielkopolsce i Małopolsce – rp.pl, dostęp: 24.05.2024.

[1] Raport: Polscy pionierzy przedsiębiorczości. 35-letnie firmy w Polsce – EY Polska, dostęp: 24.05.2024.

[2] Sukcesja w firmach rodzinnych – Moore Polska, dostęp: 24.05.2024.

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