An unexpected side-effect of Britain opening its labour market to Poles in May 2004 is that tens of thousands of entrepreneurs from Poland have set up business in the UK. Positively surprised by how easy it is to establish and grow one’s own firm in Britain, a great many did just that.
Most are still micro-businesses, though the more dynamic ones are expanding and taking on new employees. Typically, these firms are run by people are taking responsibility for their own livelihoods rather than seeking work from an employer, and are busy creating new wealth for themselves and for the UK economy.
The scale of this boom is evident across the UK. The town of Spalding in Lincolnshire is home to four Polish-owned hairdressing salons. Poles have set up many hundreds of grocery shops around the country, as well as thousands of construction companies, painting and decorating businesses, tax and legal consultancies, IT and media firms, and are present in many other business sectors.
While there are now many newspapers, magazines and websites aimed at Polish consumers in the UK, until now, there’s not been a business-to-business (B2B) website with purely business content and advertising aimed at Polish entrepreneurs.
PBlink.co.uk will be the first such site, providing useful content (much of it in Polish) with links to useful websites with information about business start-up, paying taxes, finding finance for business growth, employment and property law, advise about growing one’s business, marketing to British firms, consumers and public sector, and case-studies from successful Polish entrepreneurs in the UK.
Michael Dembinski, from the British Polish Chamber of Commerce, is enthusiastic about the potential of PBlink.co.uk. ‘Many of my parents’ generation who settled in the UK after WWII were successful entrepreneurs; Henryk Strzelecki who founding clothing firm Henri Lloyd, for example. Any yet they never formed a network or association. There were a many Polish professional associations representing engineers, doctors, teachers, scientists – actors even – but not entrepreneurs. The BPCC hopes that such a network of entrepreneurs from the latest wave of immigrants from Poland will form around the community of PBlink users. For entrepreneurs who also happen to be relative newcomers to the UK, it is important to have a place where they can easily find information to help overcome such internal barriers to growth, such as confining one’s marketing activities only to Polish customers.”
Together with PBlink.co.uk creator, Bartek Kowalczyk, the BPCC has run numerous networking events for Polish entrepreneurs in Scotland and England. Another one is in London on 25 September 2013.