The aim was to establish working links with the province. The meeting, held in the marshal's office, was attended by Urszula Kwaśniewska, director of the BPCC's Kraków office Kraków, Marta Smolarek, the BPCC's export consultant, and Michael Dembinski, the BPCC's chief advisor. Mr Jarubas was joined by Cezary Tkaczyk, the CEO of the Starachowice Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Gregory Orawiec, director of the province's Regional Policy Department, and Andrzej Lukasik, the marshal's adviser on international cooperation.
The meeting was focused on two areas: first the promotion of the investment opportunities that the province and the SEZ can offer British firms, the second was the help that the BPCC and its members can offer firms from the province in entering the UK market. Ms Kwaśniewska outlined how the BPCC's Kraków office supports inward investment and Polish exporters, as well as the networking benefits the Chamber offers. Mr Dembinski presented the latest data on trade between Poland and the UK, underlining the success of many Polish brands. He also pointed to the strong growth trend in demand for products from Poland. "According Poland's central statistical office, during the first eight months of this year, the value of Polish exports to the UK was up by almost 14% compared to the same period last year. The UK is a great partner for Poland, because its economy - the world's fifth-largest - is growing faster than any other large western European country, and because there are a million Poles living in the UK who can act as ambassadors for Polish brands. Over 22,000 limited liability companies belong to Polish entrepreneurs in the UK, and a further 65,000 Poles living there are self-employed," said Mr Dembinski.
President of Cezary Tkaczyk, who is also head of the Chamber Staropolska Industry and Commerce, said: "We want to present our offer and to work together to raise the profile of the UK as a destination market for exports from our province. This requires bilateral contacts and the full use of all the tools which we have at our disposal." The meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting between Mr Jarubas and Her Majesty's Ambassador to Poland Robin Barnett, held in Kielce the previous month.
The BPCC delegation was hosted in VI Liceum high school in Kielce, renowned as the city's best. Classes are taught in Poland and English. Mr Dembinski compared the quality of education in both countries and the cultural differences in communication, directly connected with the knowledge of foreign languages. Pupils had many questions relating to the appropriate choice of study to improve their competitiveness on the labour market. Ms Kwasniewska stressed the importance of foreign language skills in the recruitment process, as well pointing out the importance of additional activities undertaken by students such as internships. She explained how such internship programmes work at institutions such as the BPCC.
Later in the day the BPCC visited at Targi Kielce, Poland's second-largest trade fair (after Poznań). Targi Kielce is a first-class international venue for conferences and exhibitions, and the BPCC looks forward to organising events here. This was followed by a visit to the newly opened Regional Science and Technology Centre in Podzamcze near Checiny. The centre is focused on life sciences, which is logical for a region that offers healthcare tourism to two large spa complexes - at Busko Zdrój and Solec Zdrój.
The first of the BPCC events aimed at presenting its export services to entrepreneurs from the province will be held in Kielce in January.