Held at Birmingham Science Park Aston, the event was hosted by Innovation Birmingham. Michael Dembinski, the BPCC's chief advisor, and Bartłomiej Kowalczyk, founder of PBlink, welcomed the guests and introduced the seminar mixer.
Over 60 people attended the event, which was full of pleasant surprises. The first – delivered by Henrik Court of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Hugo Russell from Innovations Birmingham – was that entrepreneurs can get far more help from local and regional business support institutions than they might think. Their presentations outlined the various programmes and funds that start-ups and growing SMEs can tap into. The second surprise – which came over the course of the evening – was the breadth and scope of business activities that Polish entrepreneurs were engaged in across the Midlands.
A series of case studies from Dawid Czerniak (SLT Media), and Adrian Ociepka and Michał Wojnar (Team@One Ltd) and Krystyna Czerwińska from the Czerwinska Group of Companies showcased three very different businesses, all with one thing in common – a focus on helping businesses sort out their headaches.
Justyna Bailey and Adam Jolly from Cambridge & Counties Bank gave a highly informative presentation about entrepreneurs should approach their bankers when seeking a loan or an overdraft. Gary King from Tendo Ltd, reprised his excellent presentation made at the First Polish Entrepreneurs' Congress, about the challenges of selling to British clients. This raised a number of interesting comments from participants, full of insights into the cultural differences between the UK and Poland in the sphere of doing business.
The formal presentations were followed by a long networking session, at which many business cards changed hands. The event was judged by participants to have been a great success, with many expressing the desire for a follow-up event to be held in the Midlands as soon as possible. As well as bringing together many entrepreneurs who otherwise might have been unaware of one another's businesses, there was a strongly felt sense of shared experience and mutual learning.
The BPCC and PBlink would like to thank Ewa and Eliza from Confidalia Events for helping with the logistics of the event organisation, partners MoneyGram and TurnerLaw and for the support of DFDS Seaways, BC Printing and the Midlands Polish Business Club.