This year’s European Economic Congress (EEC) in Katowice set another record turnout. Located at the International Congress Centre and the Spodek Arena, the largest business conference in Central Europe attracted as many as nine thousand visitors. More than 90% have declared their willingness to attend again next year. Thousands of young people took part in the second edition of Start-up Days and the third edition of the Leaders of Tomorrow project. The PTWP has just presented conclusions from the ninth edition of its flagship event.
“Every year, the European Economic Congress grows in importance in Poland, Europe and across the world”, commented Wojciech Kuśpik, CEO of the PTWP Group and initiator of the EEC, “By expanding the agenda to include accompanying events targeted at young people and innovative businesses, we have managed to considerably broaden its scope. Positive feedback and record turnouts further confirm our belief that we are going in the right direction,” he added.
Just as in previous years, guests, panellists and partners of the EEC 2017 took part in a customer-satisfaction survey, conducted on a representative study sample by the BCMM Market Research institute. As many as 93.2% of all guests and 91.8% of all panellists declared that they would attend again in 2018. Participants highly appreciated the venue of the European Economic Congress and identified its location at the International Congress Centre and the Spodek Arena as an important organizational asset. Communication with participants (both before and during the event) was also highly appreciated, as was the registration system and the quality of conference rooms.
“The European Economic Congress is one of the key events of this kind in Central Europe. For foreign entrepreneurs and officials, it serves as an excellent opportunity to meet Polish partners and find out about the latest trends in the economy, science, research and innovation. One of the chief themes this year was an event devoted to start-ups and scale-ups, which attracted nearly 2.5 thousand participants”, said Petr Darmovzal and Renata Romanová, legal counsels from the Economic and Commercial Division at the Czech Embassy.
This year’s edition comprised 132 sessions with more than 800 speakers. Leading themes included, to name but a few, new ideas for Europe - political transformations in the European Union; the economy after Brexit, and the likelihood of other exits; the crisis in the perception of liberal capitalism; the hierarchy of values in the economy in the age of new generations of employees; the 4th industrial revolution – how to develop industry using the latest technologies and on the basis of digitization; and investment in times of instability - risks, barriers, courage and profits.
The Congress agenda also addressed various issues of economic and public life, such as finance, innovation, technology and mankind, energy and resources, mining and metallurgy, management, self-governance, and regional politics, infrastructure, the healthcare market, transport and logistics, construction and real estate, and global economic cooperation.
“The presence of decision-makers and eminent experts makes it possible to hold in-depth debates on the most crucial issues of energy policy and to consider them both globally and from the perspective of individual regions and countries. This is why Lithuanian politicians, ambassadors and representatives of major energy companies never fail to attend the Congress. Participation in these panels is an excellent opportunity for Lithuanian energy experts to present their vision of the energy policy. Let me add that the Congress has also always served as an excellent venue for bilateral meetings and this edition was no exception: the Lithuanian Minister of Energy, Žygimantas Vaičiūnas met the Polish Minister of Energy Krzysztof Tchórzewski, the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Energy Michał Kurtyka, as well as two CEOs of Polish energy companies: Henryk Baranowski from PGE and Piotr Woźniak from PGNiG. It is also worth mentioning the meeting held between Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas and outstanding Polish experts, politicians and media representatives; I am particularly glad that Professor Jerzy Buzek could be among them. Lithuania believes in the great potential for further bilateral cooperation in the field of energy. The annual European Economic Congress in Katowice serves to deepen our bonds and forge new contacts”, said Šarūnas Adomavičius, Lithuanian Ambassador to the Republic of Poland.
“The European Economic Congress is no doubt a special event; despite the great variety of covered themes, opinions and topics, it manages to ensure a friendly atmosphere that fosters open debate. As a representative of the financial sector and active participant of the digital transformation, I was particularly interested in the debate about the digital economy and digital society in Europe. The meeting brought together a very diverse group of EU officials, Polish government members and market representatives (experts from almost all industries active in Poland). Of course, the Congress is also about building relations with potential clients and partners. It is difficult at present to talk about its immediate benefits in terms of image and marketing, since these will only become apparent in the long term, but I believe I will join many of these people again in future business projects”, said Joao Bras Jorge, CEO of Bank Millennium.
“Both the European Economic Congress and the accompanying European Start-up Days are excellent and necessary. The EEC is the largest business conference of Central and Eastern Europe; it brings together more and more people every year and its agenda keeps on growing. Today, it is a must on the map of business events. We are glad to be able to take an active part in its organization”, adds Brunon Bartkiewicz, Chairman of the Board at ING Bank Śląski.
“Our presence at the European Economic Congress in Katowice, the platform of dialogue between the private and the public sector, is the perfect opportunity for us to present and discuss the impact of available ICT solutions on existing business models and cutting-edge services such as e-administration, e-education, and e-health. We believe that an open exchange of experiences and cooperation between business and administration will allow to effectively tap existing and future technologies for the growth of the Polish economy, faster digital transformation and the construction of smart cities. During the Congress, we held a series of interesting meetings and discussions. We believe that the formula of the event effectively helps participants accomplish their respective goals”, said Marzena Śliz, Public Affairs Director at Huawei Polska.
“The European Economic Congress in Katowice is truly remarkable and has now become a permanent fixture on the calendar of the most important business meetings in Poland. The debate entitled “Investments in the first place” served as an impulse to discuss the key importance of investment for the contemporary economic system and the job market. We also touched on the issues of the current transition from the traditional paradigm based on heavy industry towards a more diversified and innovative 4.0 model”, said Tomasz Domogała, President of the Supervisory Board at TDJ S.A.
According to guests, the Congress made it possible to forge useful business relations and shed a broader light on economic trends and phenomena, helping them to take more informed business decisions. Panellists emphasized the role of the Congress in boosting the prestige and image of individuals and companies involved in the endeavour.
“I came to the EEC to present the OFF Festival project, of which I am the mastermind and director. The organization of such an event requires the concerted effort of many partners, ranging from water and food suppliers to private patrons of culture. The European Economic Congress particularly facilitates talks with the latter. My meetings focused on the presentation of the project and potential cooperation. The effects I hope will come in due course”, said Artur Rojek, Artistic Director of the OFF Festival.
The European Economic Congress also drew positive reactions from local government officials, who saw it as a platform for forging contacts with various investors.
“The European Economic Congress was a great opportunity to show the potential for the development of tourism in our commune. Our main concern was the issue of the Kamiński Hostel and the adjacent grounds. We accomplished our goal and received many offers. At the moment, we are preparing documents for investors. The Congress also provided us with a lot of interesting ideas concerning the future direction of Brenna. We used the opportunity to promote the entire commune and we are very satisfied”, said Jerzy Pilch, Commune Head of Brenna.
The 9th European Economic Congress was accompanied by the second edition of the European Start-up Days, a space of open dialogue between start-ups, investors and business-support organizations. 37% of EEC guests took part in the event.
“The combination of a start-up competition with an event of this scale is a great opportunity both for young companies and well-established businesses”, said Magdalena Wąsik from Gradis, a new start-up, “We were able to witness a meeting of creativity, and young, often cheeky energy with years of business experience and a great willingness to invest in diversification. Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union, took a lively interest in our solution. Reducing energy use and CO2 emissions is one of the priorities for the European Union. We were invited to hold further talks about the implementation of innovative design processes and steering street lighting throughout the EU”, she added.
The European Economic Congress and the European Start-up Days 2017 were widely covered by television, radio, Internet and the press. More than 660 journalists from 150 editorial boards released nearly 5856 publications that talked about or mentioned the two events in Polish media outlets. Estimated as of 3 June 2017, the advertising equivalent value, i.e. the amount of money that would be required to purchase ads of comparable surface and airtime, exceeded PLN 30 million for the EEC and PLN 5 million for the European Start-up Days.
“The European Economic Congress in Katowice has now become one of the most important meetings for international business circles from Poland and Central Europe. It allows us to stay abreast of the latest trends in key sectors of the economy, helping to conduct market research and devise new development strategies, including marketing plans, for our companies. As a representative of the hotel industry, I have observed a dynamic growth in the sector, not only in the regional market. The recently growing demand for new hotels and top-quality hotel services in the Silesian agglomeration is a direct consequence of events such as the European Economic Congress. This business melting pot provides a major impulse to create a new quality”, said Maciej Jaglarz, a Silesian businessman and owner of the Altus hotel in Katowice.