Podkarpackie region located in south-eastern Poland is one of the EU's outermost regions. In the south it borders with Slovakia, and in the east with Ukraine, constituting the external border of the EU and the Schengen area. The cross-border location of the Podkarpackie region offers great opportunities for socio-economic development.
In the Podkarpackie region, SMEs constitute 99,9% of all enterprises. In 2019 there were over 150 000 Micro, over 3 000 small, and over 600 medium-sized enterprises. The major aspect of internationalization is export.
The analysis of SMEs’ situation showed that the Podkarpackie region has got plenty of assets that can be used in establishing cross-border cooperation with foreign enterprises. These are relatively low level of production costs, great dynamism, and opportunities for rapid development, strong motivation, of both entrepreneurs and employees to work, learn and acquire skills quickly, high flexibility, and adaptation to market conditions.
Apart from all the assets the Podkarpackie region has, there are many business-related institutions that support business activity on the regional as well as international level. They, for instance, assist in finding partners for economic cooperation and technology transfer, organize business fairs, training, workshops, and seminars in the field of international cooperation or search for sources of financing for entrepreneurs. Moreover, the business support institutions provide subsidies for the development and innovation or supporting SMEs in promoting product brands.
Despite the potential of SMEs development and support provided in the last 5 years, almost 80% of the entrepreneurs have not used financial support programs, what is more, 94.6% of the entrepreneurs, who nevertheless conduct business abroad, did not take advantage of non-financial support programs in the last 5 years.
Podkarpackie Region SMEs’ Internationalization
Finding business possibilities abroad seem to cause some difficulties among SMEs. Over 60% of them consider the transnational activity as a significant barrier, however, the eagerness of establishing such cooperation is not perceived as a significant problem.
Intense internationalization, especially between cross-border entrepreneurs would have many advantages. Among other things, it could become a new source of income, trigger market recognition, enable obtaining certificates, or establish cooperation with global concerns. It also may open new sales markets, increase the profitability of capital, increase creditworthiness, enable participation in a trade that allows learning from others, obtain greater job satisfaction, employment security, enterprise development, and shape an appropriate image open to investors.