|WBJ editor-in-chief Andrew Kureth congratulates Yves Besset, president of the board at Veolia, after his firm won the Medium-Sized Investment of the Year award|
Warsaw Business Journal honored some of Poland's most innovative investments with its Investment of the Year Awards at a celebration evening on October 23 at the Amber Room restaurant in Warsaw. The investments nominated for the award were divided into three categories based on the number of jobs they created, and were judged by the amount of money invested, the degree of innovativeness and the impact the investment has on the local community.
“This competition gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on investments that are making a real difference, but might not always get the big press headlines,” said Andrew Kureth, editor-in-chief of Warsaw Business Journal. “These investments are making a significant positive local impact, and that’s why we’re proud to recognize them with these awards.”
Small, yet cutting-edge
|Representatives of SENER pose for a photo with their award and certificate, along with Andrew Kureth|
By investing €500,000 so far in Poland the company plans to become a sustainable, highly innovative space company which could compete in the European market. “Our main goal is to participate in a Polish satellite project, currently we focus on innovations in mechanics and optics,” Ms Lachowska-Keane added.
Reaping benefits from recycling
The award for Medium-Sized Investment of the Year went to Veolia Usługi dla Środowiska, a company specializing in waste management, which opened a new sorting plant for municipal waste as well as a production line for refuse-derived fuel, and a composting plant.
“We are using technologies which are not yet standard practice in Poland, like ballistic separators and sorting systems,” Yves Besset, president of the board at Veolia said. The company invested €28 million in the modernization project, which also resulted in the creation of 15 new jobs.
With the new amendment to the law on municipal waste going into force on January 1, 2012, Veolia was one of the companies that quickly adapted and started reaping benefits from the new regulations. “The amount of waste recycled doubled over only one month after the implementation of the new law. People are starting to really recycle,” Mr Basset added.
The winner of the Large Investment of the Year Award was GDF Suez Energia Polska for the construction of a green unit at its Połaniec power plant, an undertaking which created 100 jobs at the facility after the modernization was completed.
The green unit, which is the world’s largest power unit entirely fueled by biomass, has also become one of Poland’s largest renewable-energy producers. The biomass-powered bloc has a capacity of 205 MW and can power up to 600,000 households. “Poland is moving towards more renewable energy and that is why we have decided to build the biggest bio-mass fueled energy block in the world. We managed to achieve that goal,” said Bogumił Jabłoński, director at GDF Suez Energia Polska. The investment cost €250 million.
GDF Suez operates seven energy blocks which use both coal as well as biomass to produce energy and heat. “We are now in the process of carrying out a major modernization project we dubbed ‘Feniks’ to make all the blocks compatible with EU regulations and to increase their generation capacities,” Mr Jabłoński said.
The winners received statuettes, certificates as well as vouchers for a weekend in St. Bruno hotel at a gala event held on October 23 in the Amber Room restaurant in Warsaw. The competition and gala represent the final phase of this year's Investing in Poland project, which also comprises the publication of Investing in Poland 2014, a guide for investors looking for investment opportunities in Poland. It was launched at a conference in September.
|Former Treasury Minister Jacek Socha, now partner at PwC, spoke of the importance of the knowledge the winners' investments were bringing into Poland.|
All the nominees in the competition were selected by their respective chambers of commerce based on their innovativeness and creativity.
“Investments in Poland are increasingly turning towards being capital intensive rather than labor intensive,” said Adam Małecki, deputy director of the department of Foreign Investment at the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ).
The other companies nominated in the Small Investment category were Coyote Polska for its innovative road information service and DB Schenker Rail Polska for its investment in high-tech locomotives. Medium-Sized Investment category nominees also included Bohemia Motors for its high-tech car showroom and Ghelamco Poland for its T-Mobile Office Park, both in Warsaw. The other nominee shortlisted in the Large Investments category was Huawei Poland for its CEE operational center.
The jury, which selected the Investments of the Year, included Mr Kureth, Mr Małecki, as well as Katarzyna Kacperczyk, director of department of economic cooperation at Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Leszek Kurycyn, Randstad Professionals operations director, and the representatives of chamber of commerce partners. The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry was represented by its vice president Bertrand Jannet, the Polish-Spanish Chamber of Commerce by vice president Marcin Grodzki, the Netherlands-Polish Chamber of Commerce by member of the board Remco van der Kroft, the Polish Indian Chamber of Commerce was represented by chairman of the board Ryszard Sznajder, and vice president of the board Mik Kuczkiewicz represented the Belgian Business Chamber.
Nearly 200 business leaders, executives and diplomats attended the award ceremony. Partners of the project include PAIiIZ, PwC, Bank Pekao, Randstad, Dentons and CBRE.
For more photos of the event, please click this link to our Facebook page.
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