EBN visit to Poland

On the 18th October 2012, a group of 16 Eastleigh Business Network members, that included Councillor Peter Wall from Eastleigh Borough Council, left the council offices and headed to Stansted Airport on route to Goluchow in Poland for a Business Conference. The idea of the visit was for members of EBN to meet similar sized businesses, swap ideas and business practices and promote their own business in a Polish town similar to Eastleigh.

At Poznan airport, we had arranged to hire two 9 seater mini buses, which we used to drive to Goluchow, approximately 90 minutes away. On arrival to our hotel, we were greeted by our host, Marek Zdunek, Mayor of the area and were taken to the Restaurant Marley, in nearby Kuchary, where we were treated by the Mayor and Council representatives from Goluchow to a dinner of traditional Polish food.

Following Breakfast the next day, in the Restaurant Dom Pracy Tworczej, Eastleigh Business Group attended a Business Forum in the conference room of our hotel where a short Presentation was given by Marek Zdunek, Peter Wall and Carlos Brebbia. Each EBN member, local business representatives, and council members from Goluchow gave a brief introduction to their business (very similar to the way we do things at our own EBN meetings – the only difference being we had to do it a sentence at a time so the translator could do her work!) This was then followed by networking and a lunch hosted again by the Mayor. Gifts were exchanged by Peter Wall and EBN to Marek Zdunek and our Chairman did this with a short speech in Polish – which was well appreciated and mostly understood!

In the afternoon we were taken to two local businesses where we were given tours by the owners. The first was an agricultural parts company, followed by a tour around a residential development in Koscielna Wies. We then arranged a sightseeing trip to nearby Kalisz where we had a short walk around the square and a meal at a local restaurant.

On Saturday we visited the State Vocational School in Kalisz, a University which is the best of its kind in Poland, and a private tour of the castle in the grounds of our hotel. We then had lunch and drinks in the castle grounds and a meal in the evening at Isabella’s in Goluchow, a short walk from the hotel. In fact, following every evenings’ official event, we all ended up at Isabella’s for drinks until the early hours!

The following day we left after breakfast and stopped off in Poznan for lunch before making our way to the airport.

Some good contacts were made on both sides during the trip and everyone received some good feedback and information in regard to business practices in the two countries and how they differ. Some members have already been in contact with their Polish counterparts since our return. Joe Line and Peter Wall have already started preliminary arrangements for the proposed Polish contingents to visit Eastleigh in 2013.

Joe LIne, one of the main organisers said: “I must also say I have never been with a group where every single person on the trip joined in and was enthusiastic throughout the stay. There was hardly enough time to stop for more than 20 minutes to get changed from the day’s events for the evening, and everyone was up and ready for breakfast at 8.00am the next day despite sampling Polish vodka until the early hours.”

EBN hope this will be the first of many such trips and that more members of EBN can get involved and enjoy not only the business benefits that may come from it but also enjoy a great social side and have a trip they will not forget.

Our thanks to all those who helped organise this visit, especially to Peter Wall and the Economic Development Department at EBC who have helped support the idea and continue their links with us and our friends in Goluchow, and without whose help this trip would not have been possible.