The potential investors can also count on help of such institutions as: the Łódź Regional Science and Technology Park – Technopark in Łódź, the Investors’ Service Team in the City of Łódź Office, the Bełchatów and Kleszczów Science and Technology Park or the Kutno Agri-Industrial Park. The Regional Investors and Exporters’ Service Centre in the Marshal Office of the Łódź voivodeship (RIESC) is a direct partner for investors and Polish exporters on the territory of the voivodeship. Its services are free of charge.
RIESC accompanies investors from the initial presentation of investment offers of individual communes and districts up to the final launching of an investment project. Its services include, among others, searching the best location for an investment basing on the needs and requirements of the investor (location, infrastructure, logistics, working force) or collecting data necessary to draw up the feasibility study of a project (statistics, potential recipients and suppliers, legal framework, tax burdens, available human resources). The centre organizes inbound missions for foreign investors to the Łódź voivodeship, provides support in negotiations while considering the location for an investment, helps to prepare an incentive package and helps exporters from the Łódź voivodeship find the addresses of potential trade partners on foreign markets. The information made available by RIESC during the investment project preparation process is confidential.
The location in the centre of Poland, significant tax reliefs, rich industrial traditions and individual service for investment projects – are the strong points of the Łódź Special Economic Zone (ŁSEZ). There are attractive investment areas equipped with all necessary media available for business entities on its territory. The zone also offers office spaces for BPO and IT operation – they are class A buildings located in the centre of Łódź.
At the moment ŁSEZ covers 1302 ha and consists of 45 subzones situated on the outskirts of towns and communes of the whole Łódź voivodeship and in the Greater Poland and Mazovian ones. During the 17 years of its operation the zone has issued more than 275 business licences and the companies have implemented or announced investments worth over PLN 11.5 billion. They have or will generate more than 30 thousand jobs. The strongest branches present in the zone are: household goods, cosmetics and pharmaceutical, IT and automotive ones. Entrepreneurs operating in the Łódź SEZ can take advantage of the State aid designed for: supporting new investments and creating new jobs. The State aid consists in tax exemption (CIT), which can be used by an investor until the whole amount designed for this type of aid is exhausted (till 2026 at the latest). The State aid level depends on the enterprise size and eligible investment costs, and, from 1st July 2014 on, amounts to – 35% for big enterprises, 45% for medium and 55% for small ones.
Eligible Investment costs include: expenditure on the purchase of lands, buildings and constructions, on equipping facilities, expenditure on the purchase of intangible assets, expenditure on the rental or tenancy of lands, buildings and constructions. The period of such a rental or tenancy must be at least five years, and in case of small and medium enterprises three years, counting from the planned date of investment completion. Eligible costs due to the creation of new jobs include the two-year gross costs of labour of the newly hired employees. The basic conditions for operating in the Łódź SEZ are: an investment of minimum EUR 100 thousand, conducting business for a minimum period of five years (three years for small and medium enterprises), maintaining the employment level for a period of five years (three years for small and medium enterprises) and conducting the activity for which the business licence has been issued. The most important investments in the Łódź voivodeship are carried out in cooperation with the Łódź Regional Development Agency (ŁRDA). The company was set up in 1991 as a unit supporting the development of micro, small and medium enterprises by preparing and implementing programmes financed from the EU funds. Since 2001 it has been functioning as a Regional Financing Institution responsible for handling and implementing programmes aimed at financing investments in new technologies, specialist consulting services, employee qualification raising and export development. The company is a partner of the Polish Enterprise Development Agency and cooperates in implementing the Innovative Economy Operational Programme. The main shareholder of ŁRDA (92.7%) is the Łódź voivodeship.
ŁRDA offers its assistance, for example, to prepare and carry out projects with funding from the EU, to receive a business license for operating in ŁSEZ, to raise financial aids from the Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, to organize business missions abroad of the companies from the Łódź voivodeship and to present companies at international fairs and exhibitions. The company operates in the National Service System for small and medium enterprises, providing IT, pro-innovative and financial (loans and warranties) services. The provision of financial services includes the Regional Loan Fund and a currently conducted programme Jeremie Initiative, which ensures additional financial aids for loans for the companies.
ŁRDA also carries out its own projects supporting enterprise in the region, including, among other initiatives, the creation of the Voivodeship Entrepreneurship and Business Centre, which is being set up in the historical buildings at Narutowicza street in Łódź. Apart from the seat of ŁRDA, these new premises will also host new initiatives such as: the Entrepreneurship Incubator, the New Technologies Cluster, as well as other organizations promoting enterprise development, such as: Business Centre Club, the Łódź Association of Private Employers Lewiatan and the Łódź Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The centre will also include the Business Link Academic Entrepreneurship Incubator, where over 100 novice and innovative companies from the region will be able to operate. The renovation and adaptation works will last till the end of 2014.
Entrepreneurship is born here
The Entrepreneurship Incubator will receive almost a thousand sq m of area for its operation. In six years’ time it is going to generate jobs for about 270 people. Entrepreneurs will be able to rent space there at preferential rates. The company will also provide them with complex support, including the consulting services – the pro-export and pro-innovative, financial, information and training ones.
The Incubator has also been established in Zduńska Wola, where newly created companies receive premises on preferential terms. The rent includes equipped office space, computer and Internet access. The Incubator can host the seats of 20 new innovative companies, which can use the consulting services provided by the staff of ŁRDA, including the business and professional, market, marketing, accounting, financial and legal ones. ŁRDA also plans to set up Incubators in Wieluń, Skierniewice and Kutno.
Technopark, i.e. the Łódź Regional Science and Technology Park, covers 14 ha of developed area within 6 km from the centre of Łódź. The area is divided into 22 investment lots designed for the companies which can buy or lease them in order to run business activity there. All the lots are covered by the site development plan, according to which this area is meant to be used for services and non-disruptive production and hotel buildings.
In Technopark, there is a Technology Incubator offering consulting and office assistance to new innovative enterprises. They can take advantage of modernly equipped offices, the Internet access, free legal, marketing and public relations assistance, help in finding external financing sources, completing applications for subsidies or writing business plans. The Incubator has 68 office rooms and 4 office and laboratory modules.
The period of incubation lasts five years. In this period a company benefits from the preferential rental conditions. Since its beginning, the Incubator has attracted 94 companies from the following branches: IT, renewable energy, telecommunication, pharmacy, 3D printing training. According to the representatives of Technopark, at present 85% of the space is rented and there are 35 companies in the incubator.
In 2013 Technopark launched further new offices, laboratory and conference sections, catering facilities and a research centre for business called BioNanoPark together with two modern laboratories – of Molecular and Nanostructural Biophysics and Industrial Biotechnology. The labs carry out research and development work on new generic agents, individual medical implants, new bio-products and biotechnology for chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food, energy and environment protection industries. The Investor Service Team in the City of Łódź Office deals with the strategy implementation based on the project “The Łódź cluster as a cooperation network for innovation in the region”. Its tasks include, among other activities, securing investors in priority branches (BPO, household goods, logistics, biotechnology, pharmaceutics and research and development centres), providing organizational support to investors during the project preparation stage and providing assistance during the investment implementation stage. The team is also responsible for developing and drawing up the city’s investment offers, especially with respect to the priority branches, and preparing individual presentations of the city tailored to the needs of the investors.
The Bełchatów and Kleszczów Science and Technology Park covers a separated area which uses the local infrastructure and provides an opportunity of running business activity on preferential terms, especially by small and medium entrepreneurs. The Park offers investment areas and lets out office space within the Technology Incubator and provides services of sulphidation, application of a protective layer on medical implants. The park offers entrepreneurs an opportunity of purchasing or leasing unoccupied lands or buildings, using the infrastructure and professional ancillary services, technology transfer as well as help in raising financial aids, including those from the EU structural funds. The shareholders of the Park are, among other entities, the district and town of Bełchatów, the Kleszczów Commune Development Foundation, the PGE Lignite Mine, the Bełchatów Power Plant and the Technical University of Łódź.
The Kutno Agri-Industrial Park is situated near the international road E30 and the railway main line E20. Within about 1.5 km there runs a motorway A1. On the territory of the Park there are energy supply points, a water conditioning station, an urban heating plant and a group sewage treatment plant. A new Container Terminal is currently being built at the railway main line E20.
The Park includes the Kutno subzone of ŁSEZ providing investors with approx. 30 ha of fully developed area. Conducting a business activity in the areas covered by the zone shall give an investor an opportunity of taking advantage of numerous reliefs and exemptions and also the help of the Employment Agency in the recruitment and training of newly hired staff and obtaining property tax exemption from the local government.