50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
According to Doing Business Index (which ranks countries on their ease of conducting business), published by the World Bank in 2009, Poland is on the 72nd place among 184 studied countries. Poland's main problems include excessive bureaucracy, complicated regulations, and multiple licences and permissions required in various sectors of the economy. According to the partial criterion 'starting a business', our country is on the very distant 117th place . This, undoubtedly, is a significant problem for Polish entrepreneurs and, at the same time, a major challenge for legislators who should quickly implement legislative solutions supporting new business development. The main barriers to business development in Poland are legal and administrative requirements which have to be met by businesses in the country. According to the conclusions of numerous studies conducted among entrepreneurs in Poland, the strongest disadvantages are inflexible labour law regulations as well as arduous administrative procedures. Accomplishment of formalities connected with the settlement of various regulatory liabilities (duration of procedures, number of required documents, availability of various document forms from one place, etc.) constitutes the main difficulty. This particularly applies to smaller companies which are used to traditional payment methods and fulfilment by themselves of all procedures required by the authorities. Despite the procedural obstacles limiting business activity in Poland, there is an increasing number of initiatives undertaken by local authorities with the aim to improve the climate for business development within their territories. Local authorities implement simple solutions helping to overcome administrative barriers. A measure commonly adopted by the authorities described in this paper is the implementation of a certified quality management system compliant with the ISO 9001:2000 standard. In this paper, the authors present initiatives implemented in selected municipal offices in Poland with the aim to facilitate business activity starting and conducting by entrepreneurs. The initiatives have been diagnosed in a questionnaire-based survey carried out by one of the authors among selected Polish municipal offices having implemented the quality management system.