Bielsko-Biała is a Polish city with powiat (district) status 50 located on the Silesian Foothills, in direct neighbourhood of the Beskid Mountains, which are the northern part of the Carpathian mountain range. It was established in 1951 as a result of merge process of the two neighbouring cities: Bielsko (with its origins back in the Middle Ages) and Biała (established in XVI century). Overall population of the city is 180,000, while the population of the Bielsko-Biała sub-region was over 665,000. It belongs to Silesian region (Silesian Voivodeship), inhabited by approximately 4.6 million people and whose administrative centre is Katowice.
Bielsko-Biała is historically an important regional and national economic centre. Once upon a time, it was called “the city of 100 industries” and "Manchester of Silesia". The proximity of the lands of Silesia and Lesser Poland (with Krakow as administrative centre), as well as the close distance to the borders with Czech Republic and Slovakia makes the city a significant transboundary development centre.
Economic activity is enrooted into the Silesian industrial background and currently undergoes a transition to a knowledge-based economy. The automotive sector remains as the most
significant piece of the local industrial fabric after the collapse of the textile sector. In this context, Bielsko-Biała distinguishes from the other cities in the region by a dynamic tourism development related to winter sports. The city is performing above the regional and national average in a number of indicators related to entrepreneurship and job creation. Registered unemployment rate was 4.7% in September 2015, while in the Silesian Voivodeship it was 8.2% and 9.7% in Poland.
Bielsko-Biala has a good range of key assets and facilities working on business promotion and economic development. Perhaps, the most significant one is the city´s designation as sub-zone of Katowice Special Economic Zone (Katowicka Specjalna Strefa Ekonomiczna - KSSE), hosting firms which employs about 4,700 of people in total. In the neighbourhood of the KSSE, there are the Industrial and Technology Park (Park Przemysłowo-Technologiczny) and the Beskidian Technology
Incubator operating. The purpose of those ventures is to create the conditions for startup and SMEs development. The University of Bielsko-Biała (Akademia Techniczno-Humanistyczna) is another important city´ s asset.
The City Hall of Bielsko-Biała plays a very relevant role in boosting the local business climate through its Strategy & Economic Development Department.
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