The business leaders participating in the 2nd edition of the annual conference, Green Light for BPO in Opole, showered complements on the city authorities for their openness to investors and readiness to cooperate.
“Some of the companies participating in the conference were impressed by the strategy of Opole authorities and their approach to and continuous support for business, and, just after the event, decided to invest in the city,” says Paweł Panczyj, Managing Director at ABSL, an organization representing companies from the business services sector in Poland. “Of key importance was the presence of the decision-makers from Opole municipality and the main business players already settled in Opole. What followed, the conference participants were able to get the full picture of the latest developments in the local market,” he adds.
More than 80 delegates gathered at the conference discussed the advantages of Opole as a location for business. They also pondered upon what may work better or be improved in the city. Emphasized was the fact that Opole’s two main strong points are skilled labour and geographical location. “It is crucial that many people in Opole speak German,” says Marcin Nowak, Capgemini. “Indeed, there are several cities in Poland that can boast well-educated and skilled labour force but very few with a large number of German-speaking employees,” says Nowak. Speaking about the location, Paweł Panczyj underlines that what previously used to be one of Opole’s weak points, namely its situation between Kraków, Katowice and Wrocław, is now becoming an advantage. “Businesses are now looking for their second or third, or, say, backup locations across Poland. Opole is an ideal destination for that,” adds Panczyj.
In the opinion of Wiktor Doktór, CEO of Pro Progressio, the city should keep emphasizing its uniqueness, or, in fact, try to discover what this uniqueness is about. “Opole should not only focus on IT, finance and business services. It should also look broader into other areas. It has a very favourable location, so the local authorities should also toy with the idea of growing logistics and transport.”
The city representatives take such pieces of advice very seriously. “We know that we must find something that makes us stand out. The question is: What is it?,” says Katarzyna Hładec, Department of Economy and Innovation of the Opole Municipal Office. “During the conference, we were happy to hear some suggestions. One of them is our approach to employment,” she added. “The people of Opole, to a greater extent than employees in many other cities, think long-term and are very loyal to their employers.”
One of the key outcomes of the conference was to stress that Opole needs to work more closely with their larger neighbouring municipalities. “Our offering can be complementary to that of Wrocław, Katowice, and Krakow in terms of business support. We can take the role of a satellite location,” says Hładec.
Maciej Wujec, Head of the Department of Economy and Innovation of the Opole Municipal Office is more than sure that next year will see the 3rd edition of the conference. “There is still so much to discuss with regard to outsourcing. So much has changed in Opole since last year, and next year will probably bring even more challenges and issues to talk about,” says Wujec.