45. Project “Become your own Boss in Poland”
One of the problems that Warsaw faces in terms of labour market policies is the insufficient use of young people’s potential, and a high risk of unemployment among them. About 50,000–60,000 people encounter problems of this kind in Warsaw. The employment services of Warsaw, coordinated by the Labour Office of the Capital City of Warsaw, implement a number of standard activities (similar to those in other parts of the country), as well as special initiatives to improve the situation on the local labour market. The standard activities include a job agency, vocational consulting, training for the unemployed, cooperation with employers, organisation of training, apprenticeship and intervention works, subsidies for workplaces or funds for initiation of business activity.
However, thanks to the available European funds some new projects have been implemented, which allows for a more innovative approach. One of them addresses directly the issue of young people going abroad to work and often hesitating as to whether they should come back to Poland, in fear of unemployment.
45.1. Short description
The project “Become Your Own Boss in Poland” is the only social project in Poland aimed directly at emigrants, who have decided to get back to the country in order to register their own businesses in the capital city. According to the Director of the Office for European Funds of the capital city of Warsaw, which implements the project:
This is the only project of this kind in Poland, encouraging emigrants to return to the country and establish their own business. Thanks to support from European funds, we are able to help these people in making important life decisions and at the same time support the labour market in Warsaw.
Director, Office for European Funds, Warsaw)
In order to apply, it is necessary to have a good business concept and fill out the forms available on the web page of the project. It is also necessary to file copies of two documents, confirming one’s stay abroad.
The project “Become Your Own Boss in Poland” is implemented together by the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw and the College of Finances and Management in Warsaw. It receives additional financing from European funds, within the framework of the Human Capital Operational Programme, action 6.2 “Promotion of entrepreneurship and self-employment”. The value of the project is PLN 1 780 441, and its implementation ended in April 2012. The participants, who receive funds for the development of their businesses within the framework of the project, are obliged to maintain business activity from the date of its commencement for at least 12 months.
Recruitment lasted from 27 September until 29 October 2010, and participation in the project was free of charge. Thirty-one participants took advantage of training and consulting during the first stage; out of these, twenty-three received additional financing for the best business ideas and they continued to participate in the second stage of the project, including the training and consulting programme. In September 2011, the authors of the best business plans were congratulated personally by the commissioner of the EU for Employment, Social Affairs and Integration, Mr László Andor. The cost of financing of this project was almost PLN 1.8 million, and it is designated mainly for establishment and functioning of new, innovative companies, owned by Polish re-emigrants in Warsaw.3
45.2. Conceptions and ways of addressing users
Apart from non-returnable financial support of up to PLN 40,000 for the establishment and running of their own company, participants of the project “Become Your Own Boss in Poland” were granted an additional facility in the amount of PLN 1,126 per month, payable for 6 months after the commencement of their business activity. Earlier, they went through professional trainings, workshops and individual consulting, getting ready to start business activity. After establishing their company, they could take advantage of consulting for the first year of operation.
The project participants were of age, not active professionally (not working and not registered at the labour office as unemployed), who had returned from economic emigration, residents of Mazowieckie Province and willing to open their own business in Warsaw. The offer was directed, in the first place, towards emigrants aged over 45 years, returning to or entering the labour market for the first time after giving birth to and raising a child, and those emigrants who have lost their jobs other than through their own fault.
45.3. Internal organisation and modes of working
The project was implemented together by the Office for the Capital City of Warsaw and the College of Finances and Management in Warsaw. The office was responsible for the formal and financial aspects of the project and recruitment, while the College took care of implementation or ordering of training or consulting tasks.
45.4. Interaction with the local welfare system
The main objective of the project “Become Your Own Boss in Poland” was to get the project participants ready to start their own business activity by updating and raising the level of knowledge and professional skills necessary to launch and operate their firms. The project is an innovative support tool for those who, unable to find a good job in Poland, had emigrated due to economic reasons. The project offered a chance to encourage some of those people to return, and to provide them with work opportunities upon their return.
The project objectives were implemented by a training and consulting programme on administrative and legal aspects of establishing and maintaining a business operation, workshops to shape interpersonal skills and individual consulting. Thus, the support for each of the twenty-three participants was very much individualised and it resulted in the establishment of twenty-three firms rendering services of a very diversified nature, fitting well within the context of the local market.