For the fourth time this year, the BPCC, together with Picklemedia, has organised a business meeting for Polish entrepreneurs active in Scotland. The Chamber is actively working with Polish entrepreneurs north of the border, and is developing strong links with Scottish institutions working with business.
Marketing in its broadest sense was the theme of the evening's meeting, held in the elegant surroundings of Glasgow's 29 Private Members Club. Practical advice about selling to Scottish businesses and to Scottish public sector was offered by experienced practitioners.
Public procurement – more transparent, open and predictable than it is in Poland – is an area that should be of interest to Polish businesses in Scotland. The Scottish public sector is spending money constantly on goods and services and there's no reason why a firm started by a Pole in Scotland should not be able to supply them at a good price. Pauline Wallace from Glasgow and and Audrey Cameron from law firm Anderson Strathern explained, with exemplary clarity, what a business needs to do if it wants to successfully sell to the Scottish government or local authorities. “It's so easy for an SME to do business with the public sector in Scotland – the key thing is to be registered online as a supplier of goods and products,” she said, “which is a simple procedure”.
Over 70 Polish entrepreneurs representing a wide range of business sectors from real estate and construction, to translation and on-line advertising, took part in an event which had as its aim the presentation of business information and networking.
Case studies from successful SMEs – one set up by Poles, Eltech, an electrical contractor which has carried out re-wiring a Scottish castle, and Cobb Bakeries, a company from Loch Ness that has grown from being a hotelier to supplying tens of thousands of cup cakes for large sporting events. Willie Cameron inspired participants with his story of how Cobb Bakeries managed to deliver 34,000 cup cakes to 34 sites around the UK in time for the opening day of the London Olympics.
Business support guru, Dr Arshi Ilyas, who has mentored around 100 start-ups, talked about the key factors that determine the success of a entrepreneur, and explained how Business Gateway can help Polish entrepreneurs that are growing their firms in Scotland.
Bartek Kowalczyk of Picklemedia, who organises the BPCC business seminar mixers, said “It is important that Polish entrepreneurs in Scotland learn how to network effectively. There is still a conviction, carried over from the 'old country' that there's something shady about business people getting together.” David Atkinson, who runs a design company, gave some handy tips about selling yourself. A key message was the importance of one's business card, the importance of price, and winning the trust of clients and customers.
The formal presentations were followed by networking, which began with every participant introducing himself or herself to everyone else. The networking part of the evening was popular with participants; during the course of the evening, many new contacts were made – a real estate agent, having bought a new house with her husband, made useful introductions to kitchen and electrical contractors.
The event was sponsored by Bank Santander, MoneyGram, Eltech Electrical Systems and eleMedia.