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Suggestions for starting a business in Poland ( I have 50/60,000 USD )


Levi_BR 6 | 220
14 Oct 2014  #1
Good Morning Y'all

I am a young brazilian that is thinking about invest in Poland around the end of 2015 +-.

And i am thinking about open an startup or something like that (not necessarly tech company).

I was in Poland for around 3 months in 2011 and then i could realize how many opportunities the country have to investment and growth, but i would like to know also the opinion of all of you about it.

What kind of business you think that would be better to start in cities like Poznan, Lodz or Wroclaw? With an initial amount around 50 or 60 thousand USD. How hard is to find financing or credit line for starting business in Poland?

In the country that i lived before (Chile) is not difficult to find investors to good ideas. But unfortunately a socialist government make all investors run away. How is it at Poland?

Thanks!
Monitor 14 | 1,821
14 Oct 2014  #2
Poland does not have so many venture capitals as western countries. With your 50 000 USD you can become one and finance a small IT startup. To learn about companies which need financing check:

startups.pl/startups,polskie
mamstartup.pl

But mind that startups is risky business and you have less than 10% chance of success, so investing have sense only if you have much more money than 60 000 USD, but this much you're ready to risk and potentially burn.
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
14 Oct 2014  #3
Might be a better idea to invest it in a specialist fund that invests in many startups at once rather than becoming a business angel yourself in just 1 or 2 ventures.

But, remember that the value of your investment can go down as well as up. Only invest what you can afford to lose.

You might also want to watch Dragons Den on Youtube for an idea about hits and misses when investing in new, small firms.

youtube.com/watch?v=sAT7dhDrDRg
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
15 Oct 2014  #4
Thanks guys! Very valuable advice!

Another hypotesis that i have is also open a physical business.

I Was thinking something like a Lounge Bar or something alike, in a city like Poznan or Warsaw.

Do you think that this amount is enough? Or would be better to find a polish partner to improve the investment amount?

How much would be needed to open the venue (not very big thing by the way) and also have some working capital for the first non-profitable months?
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
15 Oct 2014  #5
I can't answer you on that, but hopefully someone else can. I am not 100% sure but there might be some enterprise loan or grants and some department to speak to at the local government office. I did have a link but it's broken (for GUP, if anyone knows what that is and can post a new one).
Monitor 14 | 1,821
15 Oct 2014  #6
I would discourage you from opening yet another bar. It's the 1st idea which Poles have after gathering a little bit of money. Because of that most of these businesses don't last more than few years. Funny is that often after one business fails, then the next person tries opening some other bar in the same place.

Try something what would require know how, not just small money.
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
12 Nov 2014  #7
What about open a small budget hotel (around 30 rooms) in a city like Warsaw, Krakow or Poznan?
Monitor 14 | 1,821
12 Nov 2014  #8
Maybe it is good idea, but you should do market research to find out where this business gives the biggest yields. Many hotels were built before Euro 2012 championships. Many of them belong to large networks, so the competition exists.

Check articles:
google.de/search?q=inwestycja+w+hotele&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb&gfe_rd=cr&ei=TRxjVP3vMYje8gf7hIDIDQ
Sparks11 - | 335
12 Nov 2014  #9
Doing what everyone else does will get you the same results and as has been mentioned, countless restaurants and bars open and close in Warsaw in the same year. Unless you have some revolutionary idea which you can't wait to try, I think you would do better investing in stocks or something. Making a go of a small business here ( and anywhere really) is extremely difficult unless you've got something special, but it sounds like you don't.
lateStarter 2 | 45
13 Nov 2014  #10
Are you interested in any kind of partnership arrangement? I am thinking about turning some land I own (50KM north of Warsaw) into a track for dirt-bikes/quads. Rentals, camping, long term investment. We also have a house available near the property to use while developing the business. Need to find out first if Gmina will allow it (zoning) and contact a good lawyer about limiting liabilities. I used to ride dirt-bikes when I was younger.
pigsy 7 | 305
14 Nov 2014  #11
For 50k ill suggest to open a snow removal company in winter and landscaping in summer, for that money you can buy used snow ploughs and riding grass cutting machines.go around supermarkets complexes for seeking contracts and advertise on portals for business
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
3 Dec 2014  #12
Hey guys! It is me again!

I Was looking for some cities that could host a small hostel (with something around 50 to 55 people capacity).

Until now, my favorite is Poznan (Close to Germany, well developed, touristic).

Which other places you suggest for me to prospect? This idea is not for the near future, but something that i will start to work on the second half of 2015 to finally open in 2016, so i am looking to cities with potential for the future and that doesn't need huge investments (Remember, i will have around 60 thousand dollars to invest :) + some extra money to support the first 4 months without profit)
JollyRomek 7 | 481
3 Dec 2014  #13
Hi Levi, may i ask you what it is that makes you want to invest in Poland?

It seems to me that you actually do not know what you want to do, how to do it and where to do it. You have now gone from "Lounge Bar" to "Hostel". To me it sounds more like you have been in Poland for three months as a tourist, enjoyed your time and believed that you have what it takes to start up a business here. However, you should remember that going on a holiday (even for three months) and real life are two different pairs of shoes. I do not know how many people i have met in Poland who were convinced that if they come back here and open a bar or a hostel, they would make it. Somehow, they all ended up back at home or never started their business in the first place.

The first question you have to ask yourself is what it is that you are really passionate about. Second is whether or not there is a need for it. Have you researched the hostel industry in Poznan? Is there a need for an additional hostel? What can you do with your hostel that other hostel can / do not do? Are you willing and able to deal / cope with the rather bureaucratic approach in Poland, i.e. paperwork and stamps for literally everything you do?

Do not waste your money just for the sake of going to Poland to open a business here. Unless you really have a plan, fully understand your business and industry and are aware of what you are getting yourself into.
Monitor 14 | 1,821
3 Dec 2014  #14
Hostels are for young tourists mostly. So what you should look at is the ratio between the number of tourists staying in hotel/hostels to number of hotel/hostels room in given city. It's not so easy as just saying that there are many tourists there so it's a good place for a hostel.

wykop.pl/artykul/2200132/liczba-turystow-w-polskich-miastach

to check number of hotels, hostels and prices there you can use popular search engines like booking. or hostelworld. or for example Polish:

nocowanie.pl eholiday.pl

You may notice so called "hotel pracowniczy". They are very cheap "hostels" for workers. They could be a competition for you too if you don't offer good enough standard, location and style, but just cheap price. And don't forget about competition of services like: airbnb.pl
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
3 Dec 2014  #15
It seems to me that you actually do not know what you want to do, how to do it and where to do it. You have now gone from "Lounge Bar" to "Hostel".

The knowledge that i accumulated working in Chile, Qatar and Brazil on tourism revenue management can be used on both sectors (and also at the airline industry or at the entertainment area, but open an airline or a football stadium is... a bit complicated and more demanding haha).

Hi Levi, may i ask you what it is that makes you want to invest in Poland?

1 - Poland is one of the few countries in the world that have the 2 conditions that, together, make a good place to invest: It is a politically stable country, growing economy. Example: My previous country, Chile, for example, is growing but is no stable at all. On the other hands, stable countries like Uruguay doesn't show any economical growth.

2 - Quality of life (I live in the richest country in the world nowadays, but i can say that Poland have a better quality of life. Different than here, Poland allows you to drink, for example).

3 - The future of Poland is rather exciting. I see the country with a potential to be in the future what South Korea is today. A Huge well-educated population, a lot of remittances coming from expatriated poles financing the country and a market economy will make this country skyrocket into a high-income economy.

4 - My girlfriend is polish.
Monitor 14 | 1,821
3 Dec 2014  #16
I think that Uruguay is not growing slower than Poland. As for similarity of South Korean's economic growth with Polish then you are wrong. They are very different so you cannot predict success of Poland, because of Korea. South Korea grew because of: high domestic savings which allowed high investment and because of export growth of huge national corporations. Poland doesn't have big savings rate, nor big corporations. Polish growth is caused in big part through outsourcing of labor from western Europe. This will finish when Poland will not be cheap enough and there will be nobody to invest further with such a rate. Polish companies are too small, don't do much R&D and don't have access to cheap money as Korean firms have.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
3 Dec 2014  #17
Polish growth is caused in big part through outsourcing of labor from western Europe. This will finish when Poland will not be cheap enough and there will be nobody to invest further with such a rate. Polish companies are too small, don't do much R&D and don't have access to cheap money as Korean firms have.

Absolutely agree on this. I would compare Poland's growth to the Irish "Celtic Tiger" back in the late 90' / early 2000's when centralized shared service centers popped up everywhere. Surely we have seen how Ireland ended up when the likes of Dell, Google et. slowly but surely started to move their operations to Poland.

@ Levy, judging by your last post, i can only conclude that my assumption about "you may have stayed here as a tourist for three month, but have not yet experienced real life in Poland" is spot on.

Particularly the fact that you have mentioned "opening an airline or a football stadium is too complicated and demanding" and that is why you do not do it, let's me assume that you in fact do not know much about Poland and the markets here.

There were at least two airlines in recent years that either collapsed or never even took off (due to missing licences) in the past couple of years in Poland. And with regards to the football stadia in Poland, well look at the capacity vs. usage of all the new stadia and you will see why I believe that giving these examples, only shows lack of knowledge regarding Poland.

Before you burn 60k USD and end up going home with deep hatred for Poland, think carefully, analyze the markets, double check whether or not there is demand / need.

At this moment, and i hope you will not take this personal, it sounds like you have no idea as to what you really want to do. Having a bit of airline / tourism industry experience does not mean that you have the expertise to run a successful hostel or lounge bar. Neither would any of your posts suggest that you really understand what you are talking about.

Perhaps you may want to look into investing into something smaller for the beginning? An online start up in Lodz is currently looking for a 25k PLN (7.5k USD) investment. If you want to know more, send me a PN but i really would discourage you to burn your 60000 dollars on something you do not seem to know a great deal about.
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
3 Dec 2014  #18
don't have access to cheap money as Korean firms have

European Union is, if not cheaper then the korean sources, at least in the same level.

But you are right when you say that (still) Poland doesn't have a big number of transnational corporations.

Particularly the fact that you have mentioned "opening an airline or a football stadium is too complicated and demanding"

It was just a joke actually, since it is impossible to open an airline with 60 thousand usd of own capital.

And also of course that open an airline in any UE country nowadays is almost suicide. High taxes and, most of all, labour unions, will rip you alive and chew your meat.

At this moment, and i hope you will not take this personal, it sounds like you have no idea as to what you really want to do

I Didn't took it as offense, don't worry. And you are right that i don't know EXACTLY what i want to do (Except that i want to use my knowledge about Tourism Revenue Management, since i am, modesty apart, very good at it). That is why i am gathering ideas, doing brainstorm, with such a huuuge antecipation (remember, all this is just for 2016).

I sent you a PM by the way to know more about this startup.
hostel-in-pl
3 Dec 2014  #19
Hi Levi_BR

Please consider Wrocław instead of Poznan.
Poznan has the reputation of being a "business city". They even promoting the city as "city of know-how".
Wroclaw - from the other hand - is a city that is a great destination for tourists.

Wrocław has high demand in hostel department. During vacation season its hard to book a room (bed) in most of the cheap or mid-priced hostels. You have to make reservation minimum 2 weeks in advance. I don't know how the off-season demand looks like thou.

Most small hostels operate without serving a breakfast - so only 1 emploee (3 persons/24h) is needed to operate with 2 shifts overlaping during on check-out/check-in time.

Your main target should be foreign tourists, so english-speaking staff is a must + english website with booking system + targeted promotion (would help) in cities that has direct flight connection with Wrocław. If booked in advance - you can fly to Wroclaw really cheap + there is a good public transport connection from the airport to the city centre. So Wrocław can be a great destination for frugal tourists.

Other idea is to have a apartment for short-time rent (for tourists) - my friend has 2 apartments like this. With 35% of occupancy rate it gives him 900$/month of profit per apartment. But he is a owner of that apartments - so you have to calculated cost of renting/buying. It is very low maintance and booking is handled via booking.

I'm an architect specialising in hostels and small hotels - so if you need help or have any specific questions regarding hostels in Poland or Wroclaw (my home town) - you can contact me directly via e-mail

please.contact.me.privately@gmail
Monitor 14 | 1,821
3 Dec 2014  #20
European Union is, if not cheaper then the korean sources, at least in the same level.

But borrowing money by Polish companies from abroad increases amount of foreign debt. External debt contrary to internal is bad for the country. It increases risk caused by currencies fluctuations, government in bad times cannot just print more money to increase inflation and make it easier to pay debt back. Also foreign debts means paying back interest abroad, while in case of internal debt interests stay in the country and work in economy.
HolyDUCK
5 Jan 2015  #21
Start up a small biz in Gorzow WLKP as it's quite popular for German tourists and is about 30 minutes away from the border. Maybe a small super market such as Biedronka won't cost more than 60,000 Złoty and you would get a lot of customers.
pigsy 7 | 305
5 Jan 2015  #22
Just to update you the freezers,coolers,cash register,counter,racks itself will cost over 100k pln if bought new or used may cost minimum of 60k,plus inventory which can be obtained for credit for 2 weeks or so still will need around50k in running inventory.I didnt even mention beer/liq license costs and inventory including ciggerettes which could be another 50k.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
5 Jan 2015  #23
Plus, in order to be able to sell at prices like Biedronka, you have to buy like Biedronka i.e. in bulk.

But in any way, i think the times in which the Germans even drove from 200 km away to get a bargain just across the border are over.

In fact, you see more and more cars with Polish plates standing in the parking lots of the supermarkets on the German side of the border.
HolyDUCK
5 Jan 2015  #24
Gorzow is like 35 KM from the border though;

What about Witnica? It's like 12 KM from the border (like 18 mins) and. . . Well maybe you shouldn't start a business yet. BTW my mom is from Witnica!
JollyRomek 7 | 481
5 Jan 2015  #25
Gorzow is like 35 KM from the border though;

The "200km" referred to Germans from a bit further afield who would travel all that way, just to sneak up some bargains at the markets at the border, a cheap tank of fuel and some cigarettes. It may have made sense years ago, now there is hardly any savings to be made anymore. So opening a supermarket, in the hope that it will be flooded with Germans looking for bargains would not make any sense anymore. Specially not when taking into consideration that there crossborder shopping flow now goes into both directions.

I remember a few years back (maybe two years or so) when Poles snatched up all the sugar in the supermarkets on the German side.
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
6 Jan 2015  #26
Guys, thanks for all the suggestions, but i am asking specifically about Hotels/Tourism related business because i have years of experience on that, which is important.

If i opened a supermarket i would put all that knowledge on the garbage.

Thanks :)
HolyDUCK
6 Jan 2015  #27
Could you open up a money exchange buisness in Kostrzyn n.o or open up "Rooms for let" in Gdansk, Pobierowo, Miendzyzdroje, Swinoujscie or any other Sea-side town popular with tourists.
pigsy 7 | 305
6 Jan 2015  #28
but i am asking specifically about Hotels/Tourism related business because i have years of experience on that, which is important.

With 50/60k usd bro you cannot even think of hotel motel or even an hostel.Forget buying property you cant even rent/renovate/furnish/pay deposit and rent for that place.A restaurant yes you can but again so many in Poland to compete with.If you want I can put you through agents who are selling couple of motels/hotels in Warsaw but none less then 2.5 mil pln and make not more then 250k pln a year working like a dog in there.

Even if you want to take a loan 60k usd today will be around 216k pln and you would require minimum 25% down plus costs to take a loan thus you cant even get 1 mil pln loan with it.Try offerty.net and other portals to look for any hotel/motel and check it out yourself.

Yeah, a travel/ticketing agency can be an answer but requires serious local help and internet will be your competion.
@Holyduck: Kantor if you mean can be an option temporarily until Poland adopts euro but requires large sum of money readily available for good business also.Most successful kantors in Warsaw I know always have over 250k,Usd ready at any available time.
OP Levi_BR 6 | 220
6 Jan 2015  #29
orget buying property you cant even rent/renovate/furnish/pay deposit and rent for that place.

Pigsy, in one of my experiences, i helped a hostel to be open in Vancouver with 60 beds using 72 000 USD (43 000 of initial investment + 19 000 of working capital for the first 3 months). Rented property, obviously, but almost every hostel in the world is with rented place.

So you are saying that Poland is more expensive than Canada?
terri 1 | 1,624
6 Jan 2015  #30
YES, Poland is MORE expensive than Canada.
You have obviously forgotten, that before you open any business, you will have to 'grease palms' all the way along, otherwise nothing will get done.

You can calculate how much your 50,000 USD is currently worth (at a rate of 3.6PLN for 1 USD).
You will see that it is not very much. You can search on 'gumtree' at any locations in Poland too see how much your money will buy you.

Poland is not a cheap country anymore.


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