Brussels has directed billions of euros to Warsaw to help its companies grow internationally; many Polish companies are reaching the stage where they can do so. We want to place metro Atlanta and Georgia in front of them.
The investment opportunity in Poland is more than a market less saturated than Germany. There are compelling similarities in the industry strengths of Atlanta and Poland, including bio sciences, digital media and advanced manufacturing.
We are making strides. Last year, hygienic product company TZMO SA quietly set up its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. We are seeing a handful of Polish prospects as the Southeast becomes better known to them.
Certainly, there are challenges. Chicago, with its large Polish population, easily beats Atlanta in name recognition. Poland’s digital sector has been looking more to Silicon Valley. And there is no non-stop flight between Atlanta and Warsaw.
But if we can create an opportunity to introduce metro Atlanta and Georgia, we have a strong sell. I recently traveled to Rzeszów for a presentation to Aviation Valley, an association of 112 aerospace companies. Its members were interested to learn metro Atlanta is located between the Airbus plant in Mobile, Ala., and the Boeing plant near Charleston, S.C.
I also gave an investment seminar in Warsaw, where I met with some 50 companies interested in the Southeast. The Metro Atlanta Chamber was the only U.S. organization present.
With state and local partners, we plan to continue this push and encourage Polish companies to turn their attention to the Southeast, with Atlanta and Georgia at the forefront.
John Woodward is senior director of foreign investment for the Metro Chamber.