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Marshal promoting Lodz region
Witold Stepien, Marshal of Lodz (the Lodz region in central Poland), heads the region’s government. He discusses Lodz’s development strategies and investment appeal.
European Times: What are your key goals for Lodz?
Witold Stepien: Lodz is one of only three regions which have managed to allocate 100% of the european funds offered to them. We are now defining our strategies up to 2020 and looking forward to new EU funding in 2014. Our major goals include supporting small and medium-sized enterprises while also attracting large companies. For major investors, we can offer streamlined clearance procedures and other assistance. We also plan to invest extensively in our human capital and to continue to improve our administrative processes and management. We want to support our companies and create a very business-friendly environment for investors.
European Times: In what areas do you especially want to attract investment?
Witold Stepien: infrastructure is one area in which we hope to bring in large investors. It is vital for us to build local roads, relieve traffic congestion and improve connections between regions as well as create logistics hubs, and our regional budget is not sufficient for us to make all the infrastructure improvements we would like. We also want to develop our railway system; we are part of the rail Baltica Growth Corridor.
European Times: What are some sectors with particularly strong growth potential?
Witold Stepien: the Lodz region is known for its educational and research activities and has great potential for research, for example in medical and technical universities. The retail sector is also developing rapidly and we already have several important shopping centres. Other expanding sectors are ICT, biotechnology, transport and logistics, and renewable energy. The Lodz region is participating in the renewable energy regions network (renren) project.
European Times: Why should investors target Lodz?
Witold Stepien: Lodz has a central location which makes it ideal for trade-oriented companies, and we are also known for innovation. The region offers several fast-growing sectors. We would like not only to bring in investors but also to establish partnerships with other cities and regions throughout europe. We have already signed agreements with regions in France, the russian Federation and Germany. through these agreements, it will be easier for companies in different countries to work together and develop mutual projects. Our goal is to be a vital part of the european community, with its free circulation of people, capital and cargo.