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Home > Life Stories > The Skilled Entrepreneur - Poland - 1

The Skilled Entrepreneur - Poland - 1

Mrs I was born in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in Moldova (now the Republic of Moldova). She came to Poland immediately after finishing secondary school to undertake medical studies in order to become a dentist. She started her studies in Lodz in 2002 and graduated in 2008. She was studying in Polish as her command of the language from the very beginning was good (her parents have Polish roots and she learned the language at home). During her studies she improved her knowledge of Polish and now she speaks it very well; indeed, it is hard to tell that she was not born in Poland.

At the moment she is a temporary Polish resident. This permit is valid till the end of her current work contract (2012), mainly thanks to the fact that she is a Moldavian citizen of Polish origin. The Polish government has a special policy for immigrants that have Polish origins, that is demonstrated by financial (grants for studies) and legal assistance, and help in obtaining a long-term residence permit to stay in the country.

She decided to come and study in Poland, because she claims it would be impossible for her to be accepted for studies in the country of her origin. Mrs I doesn’t know what the situation is now, however when she left Moldova, only persons who had some connections with academic representatives or were children of doctors and dentists were accepted for medicine and dental studies, compared to that the recruitment process in Poland was far more fair and transparent.

The company, which Mrs I owns, specializes in dental services for individuals. She decided to set up her own business because it is more profitable to provide dental services in this way compared to being employed as a dentist by an external company. One of the barriers to entering the dental services market is the initial costs of establishing such businesses. However Mrs I is renting both the office and facilities from a company that specializes in dental equipment outsourcing. Mrs I is planning to go completely on her own (purchasing the necessary equipment) but this requires significant capital investment and requires good business and management skills. At the present Mrs I is concentrating on improving her dental skills and management capabilities and thus becoming fully independent has to wait.

Mrs I chose Lodz as the city where she started her business, although in her opinion and according to the data available to her it is the city where there is one of the greatest number of dentists per 10,000 residents in Poland. Despite large competition for her business, all her personal affairs encourage her to stay in Lodz.

Her company is developing slowly but continuously. Mrs I describes dental services as a specific type of business, depending on gaining the trust of customers (patients) much more than other types of business, and business growth is dependent on customers’ willingness to recommend her services to others. Those elements are much more important than e.g. the price of the service. In the future (3 to 5 years) she is considering expanding her business and opening a dental office in a location where these services are not available yet (e.g. in the rural areas, distant from large cities), as she sees that there is a market niche there.

While establishing and running the company Mrs I didn’t encounter any particular problems, however she points out that when dealing with public offices it all depends on who you encounter, as she has some very positive as well as very negative experiences in dealing with civil servants.

With regard to dental services, Mrs I assess Poland as a relatively unattractive market compared to the rest of Europe (and Scandinavian countries in particular). In her opinion this situation is mainly due to the fact that many dental services in Poland (even those offered by private dental offices) are subsidized by the public health service and their prices are too low, that makes them less profitable compared to the amount of work needed to be done. In comparison in other countries, where dental services are mainly financed by individual patients from their own funds, prices are higher and the work done by the dentist is valued more. Nevertheless Mrs I is not planning to move her business abroad. 

Education and Culture Lifelong Learning Programme
© 2011 ELIE Project
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.