The number of Polish firms looking to set up offices or move their headquarters to the UK is continuing to rise, in spite (or maybe because!) of Brexit. Ambitious Polish tech start-ups see the UK as a springboard from which to go global, while Polish manufacturers consider the British market to be sufficiently tempting to acquire distributors or local businesses there. Supported by Capital Business Links, ING Bank Śląski S.A. and Konieczny Wierzbicki, the event was well attended by firms from across Małopolska and other regions as well as from UK, interested in bilateral economic relations between the two countries.
After a welcome and introduction from Urszula Kwaśniewska, director of the BPCC's Kraków branch, Michael Dembinski, the BPCC's chief advisor, talked about the impact that Brexit may have on UK-Polish trading and investment relationships. Speaking as Britain was voting in its generally election, he stressed that different business sectors stand to be affected in different ways, which in any case will be determined by whether Brexit will be hard or soft.
Sebastian Swaldek and Paulina Drzewiecka from Capital Business Links Ltd Sp. k. talked about the tax and accountancy aspects of running a business between Poland and the UK. They set out the optimal legal forms of business from the point of view of limiting paperwork and making the payment of taxes as simple as possible, giving some case studies of how to do it.
One problem faced by many Polish entrepreneurs setting up in the UK is opening a bank account. Since British banks began clamping down on money laundering, it has become far harder for non-UK residents to open an account there. Dominika Byrska from ING Bank Śląski explained how her bank makes it easier for Polish entrepreneurs to do so.
After a network coffee break, the forum resumed with a detailed examination of another issue facing businesses trading between Poland and the UK. Brexit will potentially lead to a divergence in data protection regulations. The EU's General Data Protection Regulations, which come into force next year, are radically shaking up companies' approach to how they store and process their clients' personal data. Michał Czuryło, from the law firm Konieczny Wierzbicki looked at the implications for business of the new legislation and the effects Brexit might have on it.
Cultural differences between the way Poles and Britons do business were discussed at length in a panel discussion, at which Michael Dembinski, Paulina Drzewiecka, Sebastian Swaldek, Dominika Byrska and Michał Czuryło were joined by David Kennedy of Lacrosse Translations. Different approaches to trust, paperwork, hierarchy and formality were discussed, with an interactive participation of the audience.
There was plenty of time for swapping business cards over lunch, and participants were willing to stay on and chat to new contacts made.