All hands on deck

The pandemic has given many companies a crash course in survival. If they wanted to stay alive, they had to think outside the box, look for new solutions and adapt quickly to the constantly changing situation. Those who were urgently looking for new options could use European Union funds to subsidize courses and training available in the Database of Development Services. Green Pack company, which specializes in the production and distribution of environmentally friendly disposable packaging, was one of the companies who took this chance.

The photograph shows Maciej Szecówka. The man with short hair is wearing a light sweater and glasses. He is smiling.

Maciej Szecówka,
Project Manager in Regional Development Agency in Częstochowa S.A.

You are either moving forward or falling behind. This is an old truth that every entrepreneur knows. Today, a company’s potential is largely determined by its employees. Investing in staff development has become as important as developing machine parks or research labs. Unfortunately, not every company can afford expensive training. In most cases limited in-house financial capacity or difficulty in obtaining funding are the main causes. Therefore, we have introduced the Subjective Financing System for Development Services, which allowed us to implement “Development Services Centre in the Silesian Voivodeship. Support for SMEs and their employees” project. Our task was to distribute funds in the form of grants intended for training and consulting services available in the Database of Development Services.

We tried to match the courses to specific companies in a way to ensure they were of greatest possible value. Vocational training in hairdressing and beauty services, for the broadly defined beauty industry and soft skills, such as team building and customer service, were particularly popular. In total, we supported nearly 3,700 companies that trained over 12,000 employees.

The success was achieved thanks to the partnership of four entities: Regional Development Agency in Częstochowa S.A. (project leader) and Local Development Agency S.A. in Sosnowiec, Association Bielskie Centrum Przedsiębiorczości and Databout Consulting sp. z o.o. in Warsaw. Each brought different resources, experiences, and problem-solving methods to make the project run smoothly.

Tadeusz Szymanek,
President of Green Pack Szymanek Opakowania company

For three decades, I have run a company specializing in the production and distribution of eco-friendly packaging and disposables. Employees have always been my company’s greatest asset. We have achieved success by working together, being open to change and constantly improving our knowledge.

The pandemic has strongly affected our industry. Customers have become more demanding, frugal, and harder to reach. Previously, our salespeople met with interested parties in person. They were great at it and did very well. Due to sanitation restrictions, most of us had to switch to remote work. Face-to-face meetings have become almost impossible. The employees had to completely change the work system they had known for years. At first, the adaptation was hard for everyone. We urgently needed guidance and knowledge on how to operate on a completely new market.

The training on remote sales techniques proved to be the right choice. Our salesmen could learn a bunch o f useful information, including tips on how to approach a customer, present the offer, close the deal and many other useful stuff. We have successfully transferred a large part of our sales to the online system. While the global outbreak has stabilized somewhat and some of our work could get back on track, we have found that remote sales gives us more opportunity for growth, so we continue to focus on it. Of course, we don’t stop there. We want to develop further. This is our proven path to success. And that’s what I wanted to thank for to everyone involved.

The photograph shows Tadeusz Szymanek. The man has gray hair and a mustache He is wearing a white shirt and glasses and he is standing in a workshop.

Project

Development Services Center in the Silesia Voivodeship Support for SMEs and their employees
Beneficiary: Regional Development Agency in Częstochowa S.A.
Value of the project: ca. PLN 65.7 million
ROP WSL co-financing: ca. PLN 54 million
Implementation period: April 2017 – August 2021