Katowice Special Economic Zone

Internationally awarded zone focuses on investor support

Originally Published in March 2018

The Katowice Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) was established in 1996 to support the restructuring processes and boost employment in the Silesia region in southern Poland. It has been recognized as the best special economic zone in Europe by the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine for the past three years. KSEZ creates unique conditions for investors who want to open their factories, business process outsourcing (BPO) operations or research and development (R&D) units in Poland. Investment projects within the zone have now reached a value of EUR 6,5 billion. KSEZ has attracted major international investors, such as General Motors, Fiat, Guardian and Capgemini, as well as smaller enterprises and family businesses.

Investment projects within the Katowice Special Economic Zone have now reached a value of EUR 6,5 billion.

KSEZ offers public aid in the form of income tax relief, calculated based on the total investment cost or new job creation in the region. The tax relief is granted in line with regulations in similar institutions throughout the European Union. KSEZ also provides legal and tax advisory services, mediation in property market dealings within the zone, office and storage space rental, as well as human resource consulting and training. It also maintains a database of potential contractors.

Katowice Special Economic Zone covers over 2,614 hectares, with plots ranging from 0,5-150 hectares. These are fully equipped with utilities (water, electricity, gas, sewage) and access roads. The offer extends to renting office space, warehouse space and production halls. Most investment sites within KSEZ are concentrated in the south of Poland in the Silesian Voivodeship. The KSEZ comprises of four subzones; this arrangement enables investors to find the most suitable location for their enterprise. Most of the sites are situated near international routes: east-west (Lviv-Wroclaw-Berlin) and north-south (Gdansk-Cieszyn-Ostrava-Vienna).

Access to qualified employees is still one of the key competitive advantages of the region and a factor that influences investment decisions, which is why KSEZ intensified educational activities to provide investors with necessary staff. “Our role is to build a bridge between science and business, so as to provide access to qualified people in line with investors’ needs,” emphasized Professor Barbara Piontek, Deputy, Chairman of the Board at KSEZ.

In 2017 KSEZ acquired 58 new investments worth more than PLN 3.4 billion. Entrepreneurs committed to creating over 2,000 new jobs and maintain 14,000 existing ones, according to KSEZ President Janusz Michałek. A newly established KSEZ Innovator Club supports cooperation between universities and investors operating in the zone by matching talent with innovative companies.

Some of the first partners of this program are the Silesia Automotive & Advanced Manufacturing (SA&AM) cluster and the Silesian University of Technology, one of the largest universities in Poland, offering courses in architecture, robotics, IT & electronics and construction.

Silesia Automotive & Advanced Manufacturing cluster members’ research and development expenses amount to over PLN 700 million.

Since November 2017, KSEZ has been coordinating the SA&AM cluster, which is dedicated to entities operating in the automotive sector and advanced production systems (Industry 4.0), especially manufacturing and technology companies. It now has more than 70 firms from the automotive and advanced technology industries, 11 scientific units and three business environment institutions. Cluster members’ R&D expenses amount to more than PLN 700 million, while research units and businesses have signed more than 335 knowledge-transfer contracts.