01 Nov 2002 - 01 Dec 2002
Advisory, competitiveness, EU accession, Europe, Private sector development, innovation and knowledge-based economy, SME, Trade, economic integration and globalization

Poland: Technological Competitiveness of SMEs in the Manufacturing Industry: Strengths and Weaknesses in light of EU Accession

The project, financed by the Office of the Committee for European Integration, was carried out by Richard Woodward and Michał Gorzynski. The research team also included Piotr Mlynek and Anna Orlik; the project lasted from November to December 2002.

A report was prepared concerning the technological competitiveness of Polish SMEs across three sectors of manufacturing industry: furniture, medical instruments and the production of man-made materials, against a background of enterprises from the EU. The costs and benefits, threats and opportunities facing Polish SMEs in these sectors in the context of EU accession were presented. The report covered the following areas:

  • A presentation showing how to increase innovation and raise the technological level of Polish firms in these sectors, and across Polish SMEs in general;
  • an economic and financial analysis of SMEs in the three selected sectors of manufacturing industry, focusing in particular on data which would show the level of, and potential for, innovation within small and medium-sized firms;
  • analysis of the competitiveness of Polish SMEs in the selected sectors taking particular account of their technological level and their institutional support. The analysis was conducted on the basis of 1) in-depth interviews with experts and sectoral representatives - trade associations and research and development bodies, 2) comparative analysis between domestic and EU SMEs with similar product profiles and 3) anecdotal studies;
  • analysis of the technical and organizational limits to Polish SMEs' competitiveness in EU markets (above all in the area of quality management);
  • highlighting the costs and benefits for these three sectors of Polish industry arising from EU membership;
  • highlighting EU programs and sources of finance from which Polish entrepreneurs can benefit, with the aim of narrowing the innovation and technology gaps that exist between Polish firms and their EU competitors.

The report, positively assessed by the Office of the Committee for European Integration, was used  by the Commitee for European Integration in the Chapter VI.II of the Report entitled The balance of costs and benefits of Poland's accession to the European Union. Executive Summary. 

Research outcome was also presented by Richard Woodward at the conference on "Economic consequences of Poland's accession to the EU' organized by the Offices of the Committee for European Integration and Department of Economics of Warsaw University in May 2003.