Other | July 23, 2014

The Many Faces of Entrepreneurship in Poland

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GEW 2014 may be in November, but organizers in Poland have already gotten a head start on this year’s campaign. With a focus on improving the national perception of entrepreneurs, the campaign is seeking a higher level of engagement from entrepreneurs around the country.

GEW Poland’s motto for 2014 is: Entrepreneurship has many faces. We want to convey to people in Poland that not only is there value in being entrepreneurial, but anyone can be an entrepreneur. We want to demonstrate that entrepreneurs are not only CEOs of huge companies, but entrepreneurs are the people who conduct business on a small scale as well, i.e. starting and running small- and medium-sized enterprises. This latter group does not get as much media coverage and as a result, their ventures remain unknown to the population at large.

“We don't see how much good these people do for the Polish economy and for their local communities,” said Adam Kądziela, from the GEW Foundation.

Although 95 percent of the enterprises in Poland are micro-enterprises employing less than nine people, media coverage tends to be given to the same successful entrepreneurs time and time again. In addition to receiving the majority of media coverage given to entrepreneurs, it is often these same entrepreneurs who continuously win startup competitions in Poland. While we applaud great achievement, entrepreneurs beyond this select number of success stories deserve to be recognized as well. We want to ensure that budding entrepreneurs in our local communities are recognized alongside owners of big companies who employ hundreds of people.

The perception of entrepreneurs in Poland is very negative. In fact, according a study conducted by GfK Polonia in 2009, only 46 percent of Poles think that entrepreneurs are honest and only 43 percent of Poles believe that they care for their employees. At the same time, “Poprawa wizerunku przedsiębiorców”, a report published by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan in 2013, shows that only 43 percent of entrepreneurs feel respected for what they do.

The negative perception of entrepreneurs in Poland needs to change. Entrepreneurship is not an easy path to follow. It requires determination as well as a commitment to hard work so we want entrepreneurs to be proud of their accomplishments. To raise the profile of hard-working entrepreneurs in Poland, we initiated a social campaign called: Faces of Entrepreneurship.

In order to take part in the campaign, people need only to send a photo with information about their entrepreneurial venture using the campaign's website.

We hope that people representing different kinds of entrepreneurship will want to participate in the campaign, not only businessmen and managers, but also sole traders and people who are active in their local communities. We want to show the important role that entrepreneurs play in their communities. The photos will be a clear message that everyone can be entrepreneurial.

Stories of well-known and lesser-known entrepreneurs who will participate in the campaign will be accessible on the website www.twarzeprzedsiebiorczosci.pl.

The campaign is the first event leading up to this year’s GEW campaign. In previous years, GEW was supported in Poland by partners including the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Administration and Digitalization and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development or European Commission. In 2013, more than 80 thousand people participated in different events organized throughout Poland. This year's campaign is supported by the Ministry of Economy and Polish Confederation Lewiatan.

For more information, please visit www.tydzienprzedsiebiorczosci.pl and www.gew.co.

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Justyna Politańska has led the development of GEW Poland since 2011. She recently co-founded the Global Entrepreneurship Week Foundation in Poland and is currently its CEO. A graduate in Political Science at the University of Warsaw, a scholar of Universidad Complutense in Spain and Universitaet Konstanz in Germany, she conducted research about the political participation of women in Germany and Poland. Following graduation she worked in advertising and later became president of the Youth Forum Lewiatan, a job that allowed her to pursue her passion of helping young people in Poland by promoting entrepreneurship and human rights.