Wrocław – Poznań – Warsaw – Kraków; four Polish cities with concentrations of British business, were the four venues for the BPCC’s cycle of face-to-face business mixers, organised as a welcome return to physical meetings after a year of lockdown.
The purpose of the series – entitled Nice to See You Again – was epitomised in the name. After such a lengthy absence from the being able to meet safely because of the pandemic, the opportunity to get together in safe circumstances and swap business cards over a glass of wine and good food was met with gratitude and full-house turnouts.
The first three events, held before the summer holidays as the number of new cases of Covid-19 was finally falling, were arranged in the open air, with venues chosen for their ability to host such mixers, carefully controlled in sanitary conditions, in courtyards or patios. In Wrocław, we met in the courtyard of the Radisson Hotel, in Poznań, outside the Vastint Business Garden and in Warsaw in the patio of the Hotel Bristol (click on links for full pictorial coverage of each event).
By early September, the numbers of new cases remained at levels low enough to permit safe indoor networking for those who have been vaccinated or could prove a negative Covid-19 test withing 48 hours. This allowed the Kraków Nice to See You Again event to be held at the Hotel Mercure.
We were joined by representatives of local authorities, with the mayor of Poznań, Jacek Jaśkowiak, the deputy mayor of Wrocław, Jakub Mazur welcoming guests at their respective cities’ events.
The British Embassy was represented by Her Majesty’s Ambassador Anna Clunes (Poznań and Warsaw), James Hughes, minister-counsellor, economic affairs (Kraków), and Richlove Mensah, regional director for trade and investment, Europe Central (Wrocław).
Each of the four events began with a short panel discussion focused on local economic conditions; taking part in the panel were speakers from the real estate (Savills) and recruitment sectors (Michael Page), joined in Wrocław, Poznań and Warsaw by representatives from accounting/consulting firm, Grant Thornton.
After the welcome speeches and panel discussions, guests needed no encouragement to catch up with friends and colleagues, business partners old and new, exchanging business cards and enjoying the food and wine and relaxed summer atmosphere.
Wyborowa Pernod Ricard – with a wide selection of finest single-malt whiskies from across Scotland – had a whisky-tasting stand at each of the events, with expert tasters on hand (including Scotland’s trade envoy to Poland, Martyn O’Reilly) on hand to explore the subtleties of well-aged malts from across the Highlands and Islands.
Guests had no trouble readjusting to normal life and the ability to chat with one another and swap business cards in safe surroundings. It is clear that as much as the world of business has been revolutionised by remote work and meetings over Teams and Zoom, there is still no substitute for doing business face to face in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The BPCC would like to thank sponsors Savills, Michael Page, Grant Thornton and Wyborowa Pernod Ricard, as well as the four venues – Radisson Hotel, Wrocław, Vastint Business Garden, Poznań, Hotel Bristol, Warsaw and Hotel Mercure, Kraków, for supporting this series of business networking mixers.