2017 was the year of new investments. The city of Częstochowa holds areas belonging to two Special Economic Zones which attracted much interest in 2017. Ever since the SEZs were established in Częstochowa, a total of 25 tender procedures have been concluded, 11 of them in 2017 alone. Investments worth PLN 861.2 million were declared in Letters of Intent.
Two investments in the automotive and glass industries are considered key. Within an area of the city included in the SEZ, a second branch of Guardian glassworks will open, offering over 150 new jobs. Following months of talks and negotiations, the investment was possible thanks to the collaboration between the Częstochowa city authorities and the Katowice Special Economic Zone, allowing Guardian Glass to carry out from scratch the biggest equity investment in its history. Once the investment is in place, Guardian will launch a modern glasscoating line allowing production volumes of one thousand tons a day. This will give the group an opportunity to strengthen its market position among the European glass manufacturers. Guardian has also announced a transformation of its existing plant in Częstochowa next year. All those measures are a response to the growing demand on the domestic market and on the markets of the neighbouring countries.
ZF Global Electronics is expanding production in Central and Eastern Europe and has chosen Częstochowa as the location for its next investment, namely, a production plant manufacturing electronics supporting advanced safety systems, which will be auxiliary to active and passive safety systems production lines, including new generation video cameras and electronic systems improving passenger safety, such as airbag control systems.
The new plant is due to open by the end of 2019 and, once the full production capacity is achieved, it is to employ 300 staff. One particular asset to this investment is the application of innovative state-of-the-art technologies in the production process. Further dynamic growth of the plant is also guaranteed by the fact that this is only the initial stage of the product lifespan. This investment is significant not only for the city itself, but also for the entire northern subregion of the Silesian Voivodeship.
Development of production plants will be followed by subsequent investments in the BPO industry, namely, financial and engineering centres. Częstochowa is now frequently taken into account as a location of Self Service centres.
Nowadays, with so many vacancies on the labour market, it is no longer sufficient to offer attractive investment areas or modern office centres. The crucial factor which attracts new investors to the city are well-educated and work-ready human resources. For years, Częstochowa has been reactivating vocational schools and changing the image of vocational education among pupils and their parents.
The local self-government’s priority is to attract not only new investors, but also new workforce and new residents, which is why the authorities actively promote its city’s valuable investment areas along with the opportunities the city has to offer. Entrepreneurs pay much attention to the business environment created by local authorities. It is important for self-government to be the one to reach out and meet the needs of business by facilitating completion of administrative procedures, creating tax incentives, organizing conferences, trade fairs and other business events. This is exactly what is being done in Częstochowa. It is the local self-government, acting under the “Invest in Częstochowa” brand, that inspires numerous events bringing together the people of science, education and business. Our generation is witnessing a globally progressing transformation of functioning of modern urban agglomerations. It is extremely important to develop new methods and means of communication with residents, for a city which attracts new students and residents will also attract new investors.
The city authorities promote the investment areas in an innovative and unconventional manner. One example of this approach is offered by the IRON OXIDE Street Art Festival held on the Euro Park Mielec SEZ premises. As the SEZ authorities and the co-organizers from the Monstfur group emphasize, this is an unprecedented instance of promotion of investment areas. Such incentives help spread the image of a city that is open to business and original solutions, which brings a positive response from the world of business.
Last year’s edition of the festival, held in May, was accompanied by Monstfur’s tour of the European capitals, taking the city’s SEZs promotion to another level. Information on such unusual event reached both Americas. This year, the organizers have changed the concept and invited students from high schools and vocational schools offering computer graphics, photography technology and related programs to create festival works.
The unusual IRON OXIDE FESTIVAL is not the only unconventional method of promotion of the city’s investment opportunities. In 2016, the “Invest in Częstochowa” brand was promoted by a young, Częstochowa-born racing driver, Bartłomiej Mirecki, a two-time winner of the Kia Lotos Race Championships. Until now, Mirecki has been the only driver from Poland or the entire Central and Eastern Europe to have participated in the Ferrari Driver Academy and the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy tests. Since 2015, Bartek Mirecki has been a Formula Renault driver. In December 2017, the young driver promoted Częstochowa’s investment areas during the Barbórka race.
Such unusual methods of city promotion also prove that Częstochowa is home to open-minded people who willingly accept new challenges.
In June, Częstochowa was awarded the European Medal of Honour. The award has been granted since 2000, and never before in its history has it been given to a city. Active promotion of Częstochowa with a view to attracting new investments, as well as activities aimed at developing entrepreneurship, vocational and technical education, are the elements which received Medal-winning recognition. Also appreciated was the city’s efficiency in acquiring EU funding, activities aimed at preventing social exclusion, care for the elderly, large families, vaccination programs and numerous educational campaigns, presenting an image of a city which shares the highest EU values.
The interest in the SEZ areas of the city is not waning. Due to the upcoming tenders, planned to start in January, the city authorities will soon intensify their actions aimed at including more municipal ares into the Special Economic Zones. Regular events, such as Zawodowiec, Iron Oxide Festival, or the Jurassic Congress, will be continued, however, their form will be certainly modified to meet the residents’ needs and promote Częstochowa’s investment and HR education opportunities in the best possible way, as such is the requirement nowadays, bearing in mind the situation on the labour market. We will continue our collaboration with secondary education institutions and pay even more attention to creating a suitable environment for the development of the BPO industry.