Starting a business in Poland

Launching a start-up or business in Poland is simple but not easy!

What !!! … simple but not easy, isn’t this contradicting?!

What is this, a fortune cookie advise?

To answer this question, I’ll ask you to have a little bit of patience, and read the story below …

It all started 7 or 8 years ago, at that time I was getting my master’s degree in Genomics – in Paris, I was spending way too much time online, and having had a previous experience in creating websites, I decided to launch a dating/ games/ entertainment website. Less than 6 months later the website was a success, and thus I started thinking of transforming it into a real business. In the next 3 months, I tried to get all the required paperwork, to be able to open a business, the needed documents and details were so absurd and complex business wise, that the procedure itself is enough to put to rest any unsure decision to jump into the entrepreneurial world!

To keep the story short, after providing insane details, and wasting a lot of time, my application got rejected, it wasn’t about the capital, for I had enough to start the business I wanted, the reason was more absurd than the details required, it was something in the spirit of “foreign students can’t launch startups”. If this rule was to be applied in Silicon valley, half the companies & startups wouldn’t have existed.

Fast forward, after moving to Poland (for personal reasons), I said to myself “now that I’m basically stuck here, why not try to launch my startup here!” So I went to the gmina office, I was given a document to fill, I took it home the next day brought it filled, and was informed that now I had a company, shocked, I asked “shouldn’t they make a decision on whether I can open this company or not”, the answer was “No”, they don’t have the right, unless they have a specific reason to reject it, by default you are authorised to have any business you want! The simplicity of the Polish process compared to the complexity of the French one was astonishing!

Now that we established simplicity, what is the “not easy” part?

Few months ago, i founded a startup networking group: , it is basically a virtual space where startup founders can connect, talk and share expertise face to face through online conferences, it is great for founders to help them establish local and international connections, but it’s also a way to share info and … complain!

Polish startups wise, In addition to all the difficulties a standard startup face, the polish start-ups have one more heavy stone to carry, it is called ZUS, and if I’m not mistaken it is the most hated establishment in Poland!

ZUS limits the age of most startups to 2 years, and prevents the rise of serial entrepreneurs …
First things first, for those who don’t know what ZUS is, it is a combination of social security + retirement plan, it costs you around 100 EUR/month the first 2 years on your first company and then double the amount.

So how does ZUS cripple Start-ups? You’ll read it in my next article!

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