Categories: Case study, Location: Lower Silesia, Poland, Date: August, 2019
During the communist era, Wałbrzych, a town in Lower-Silesia, was a significant mining and industrial hot spot in Poland. However, economic restructuring in the 1990s led to a significant decline in regional industry. To counter this trend, the region founded the ‘Invest-park’. The Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone was established by the Polish Council of Ministers in 1997, providing public aid in the form of income tax exemptions for investors (in addition to other encouragements) to make the area more attractive to businesses. The economic zone is located in Lower-Silesia but also extends to neighbouring regions Opolskie, Wielkopolskie and Lubuskie. It consists of 41 subzones. As a result of the dynamic development of the zone, the territory was enlarged along with other subzones in the year 2000. It currently has an area of 221 223 km2. When entrepreneurs invest within the park, they are eligible to obtain public aid in the form of income tax allowance. The amount of aid is based on the size of the investment, or the number of new work places created thanks to a given investment. The extension of the aid varies from 35-55%, depending on the size of the company and which municipality within the region is being invested in. In principle, companies within the manufacturing sector are preferred in the selection process, however firms with service activities in the fields of IT, research, and finance are also able to tender for settlement in the zone. The Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone is run by the «INVEST - PARK» limited company, with the main shareholders comprised of the Treasury of State, communes from the subzones, and financing institutions such as banks and Authority Agencies, including the Agency of Industry Development S.A.