The Warsaw Stock Exchange (GPW) has been at the heart of the Polish economy for thirty years, and in the words of Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, is considered an icon of the free market. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, GPW has been an example to countries around the world that are also striving to achieve personal and economic freedom.
GPW now lists companies that make up around 40 percent of Poland’s GDP. GPW Tech is the exchange’s technology subsidiary with clients worldwide, giving opportunities to Poland’s growing technology sector.
Przemysław Marszał, CEO at 11 bit studios explains how his company, which makes the games This War of Mine and Frostpunk, has seen the benefit of this global vision:
“The Warsaw Stock Exchange has given us much wider exposure to financial markets from around the world. Due to a lot of successes we've made with our games, came the recognition from GPW which listed us in some of the indexes, gaining us further recognition.”
Marek Dietl, CEO at Warsaw Stock Exchange, says that they are well ahead of other exchanges when it comes to the games market: "We are a wealth leader in terms of number of listed game developers. Currently we have over 70 companies listed compared to less than 60 in Tokyo and less than 50 in Seoul. We are clear number one in this respect.”
Why do business founders choose to go public with their companies? Przemysław Marszał says it was a straightforward decision:
“We were looking for funding, we are a small company and we wanted to retain our ownership. GPW gave us this opportunity, they really appreciated our ambitious plan and vision for a company and allowed us to get into this field of capital from around the world.”
Izabela Olszewska, Management Board Member at Warsaw Stock Exchange says that the global exposure of the exchange means ensuring that the ethical side of business is considered as well:
“On GPW we have a very diversified and wide pool of investors. We have global investors, also local mutual and pension funds. We need to include ESG factors into our strategy. We have developed tactical guidelines covering such areas like importance of ESG reporting, a list of potential indicators, and also some main characteristics of ESG reporting like materiality, objectivity and data which should be comparable.”
The proof of the success of GPW is that companies listed on the exchange perform better than average, with businesses growing faster than the super hyper growth of the Polish economy. The reason? Izabela Olszewska says it is the global outlook:
“Looking at the breakdown of the investor structure, 55 percent of the trading volume is generated by the global investors, and 24 percent by retail investors. The rest belongs to the local institutional investors.”
For Przemysław Marszał, growth feeds growth:
“Each time we have a successful project we receive a high valuation of the company. This is very beneficial, but when I receive this kind of prize, my ambition goes even higher. And also this ambition goes higher for the rest of the team.”
This success story points the way to Poland becoming the regional hub for high tech start ups, pushing the Polish economy to greater success in the coming decades.