Hajnówka entrepreneurs will associate. The founding committee was formed
Whether it will be an association or another form is not yet certain. There are many advantages to establishing an association. We should have legal personality and be able to be a party,” said Mieczysława Bogdanowicz, chairman of PSS Społem in Hajnówka.
The idea of business association is not new, but yesterday (11/10/2023), during another business breakfast, it took real shape. The meeting was devoted precisely to the association of business representatives and the benefits it can bring. A representative of entrepreneurs from Sokółka talked about how it works in practice.
We were established in 2005. At a meeting similar to yours, we decided that an organization would be formed to defend the interests of employers. We represent entrepreneurs in the employment council, among other things. The beginnings of our activity were rough. At the moment, however, our cooperation with budget companies and local governments is going so well that there are no more quarrels, and there are at most disagreements.
At the moment the union has 25 entrepreneurs (previously there were 45 members). The COVID-19 pandemic and the situation related to the war in Ukraine are responsible for this result – many companies have not survived the difficulties associated with the closure of the border with Belarus, for example. A representative of the Union of Employers and Entrepreneurs of the Sokółka Region told what the organization does on a daily basis. It is:
- Providing opinions on draft resolutions on local taxes.
- Determining, together with the city council, ways in which the city can grant tax relief. For example, the association has negotiated a tax exemption for 2-5 years for businesses that renovate buildings along the main street. This is an incentive for companies willing to contribute to improving the appearance of the city.
- Active participation in the creation of a local development plan. Thanks to the union’s activity, solutions unfavorable to businesses have been withdrawn several times. The union also participates in the work on updating the plan
- Preparing its own draft resolutions and submitting them for consideration by the city council
- Organizing training sessions for employers, e.g. with representatives of controlling or subsidizing institutions.
- Participating in the creation of the Multiannual Investment Plan and lobbying for the implementation of projects that have been included therein.
- Activities for the local community, including charity work.
A representative of employers from Sokółka also spoke about activities that have not been completed. For example, there is still no cluster formed to buy electricity. Such an organization would have a chance to negotiate much better prices. The reintegration of entrepreneurs is also an ongoing challenge, especially in view of the difficulties across the eastern border. The closure of the border with Belarus has negatively affected many companies, and has even driven some into bankruptcy.
Hajnówka entrepreneurs listened attentively to the guest’s speech. They acknowledged that when creating their own organization, it is worth taking advantage of other people’s experience and proven patterns. The participants wanted to know, for example, how the association exerts influence on the city hall, and whether it has councilors who favor them.
We have some friendly city councilmen, we sign up for discussions during city council sessions. We are looking for paths to communicate with each other.
What interested the Hajnówka entrepreneurs was also the legal form. Originally there was an idea that the association of entrepreneurs should take the form of a council. This, however, does not suit everyone, as the council is formed at some body, such as the city council, which, in the opinion of some entrepreneurs, may limit independence.
It is up to entrepreneurs to decide whether they want to associate and in what form. Nothing is imposed from above.
During the meeting, the entrepreneurs decided to establish a founding committee. Before they take steps to formalize the organization, they still want to consult on financial and legal issues.