Department of Economic Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commissioned in 2009 a study of Polish high-tech exporters. The Ministry was preparing for establishment of dedicated science and technology positions in Polish embassies and needed support in better understanding the needs of Polish technology companies and identifying the key locations of their international activities. The researchers identified 302 Polish high-tech companies, which were actively engaged in export activities. Subsequently, the companies were contacted with questionnaire surveys and CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviews). The most popular export destinations were: Germany, US, France, UK, Czech Republic, Russia and the Ukraine, but markets regarded by the companies as strategic included also the Netherlands, China, Austria, Italy and Slovakia. 64% of the analyzed companies entered international markets in response to the initial contact made by a foreign customer. As many as 21% of firms were participating in international tenders without using any specialist legal services concerning the respected markets. The majority of companies (78%) maintained that limited financial resources restrict their promotion and sales efforts abroad. 34% of them were faced with discrimination against Polish companies by foreign buyers, and 13% – by foreign governmental institutions or industry associations. Most significant commercial problems in international markets were related to the identification of partners (55%) and verification of their reliability (53%). In 81% cases, Polish technologies needed to be adjusted to specific requirements of foreign buyers.
The research was the first Polish study of technology exporters. It initiated a public debate concerning “the Polish economic patriotism” and encouraged governmental institutions to offer dedicated support measures for innovative business enterprises, interested in international expansion. The collected data helped also improve the operations of Polish embassies. In June 2010, the Polish enterprise association BCC (Business Centre Club) awarded the Minister of Foreign Affairs the title of “Promoter of the Polish Economy”, recognizing his successful efforts to support Polish business enterprises in international markets.
Researchers involved: Krzysztof Klincewicz, Agnieszka Kacprzak-Choińska, Łukasz Alwast, Adam Liwiński