Poland's Small Exporters to the Economy's Rescue

As the economy slows, Soviet-era entrepreneurs stay in business
Entrepreneur Polański: surviving a ruble meltdown and euro recession Photograph by Rafal Milach for Bloomberg Businessweek

With Poland’s economy in its worst stall since 2001, Zdzisław Polański, 64, is betting the farm at an age when most entrepreneurs are thinking about calling it quits. He’s planning to invest $10.3 million—about four times his annual sales—to build a new food packaging plant alongside the 1970s prefab facility he leases in a forest near Warsaw. Sixty percent of the funding comes from a European Union loan. A new production line, chemical and microbiology labs, and equipment for making and testing coatings and inks are Polański’s answer to sales that haven’t regained 2008 levels and the squeeze retailers have put on his customers for price cuts.

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