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Page Title

KrzysztofMargol

Country, Date of election

Poland 1999

Field

Economic development

Krzysztof Margol jest przekonany, że odpowiedź na masowe bezrobocie, jeden z najbardziej uporczywych problemów społecznych w Polsce, polega na połączeniu szkoleń w zakresie przedsiębiorczości dla bezrobotnych i finansowaniu nowych przedsięwzięć z sektora publicznego i prywatnego. Krzysztof uważa, że kredyty bez szkoleń i szkolenia bez kredytów są warte niewiele w dłuższej perspektywie.

Problem

During Poland’s transition from communism to democracy after 1989, the previously nationalized farms were either sold out or reduced to bankruptcy, leaving sixty thousand agricultural workers unemployed. These farms cover thirty percent of all Polish land devoted to agriculture. While the overall Polish unemployment rate was 13.8 percent in 1996 (compared to 5.4 percent in the U.S., 7 percent in Austria, and 6.6 percent in Holland), the unemployment rate is even higher in Poland’s rural, post-collective areas. The unemployed population has no access to job retraining programs, and finds itself without the necessary skills to compete for jobs. The concentration of unemployed reinforces a general sense of hopelessness in these rural regions; lethargy, frustration, and feelings of helplessness are common elements in the social picture of small Polish towns. Historically, the residents of these areas have been managed by a central authority or „someone else,” rather than defining and solving their own problems. The difficulties of finding a niche in the competitive new economy can result in turning others into scapegoats, especially in border areas where people of different origins live together.

Idea

Krzysztof Margol is convinced that the answer to massive unemployment, one of Poland’s most persistent social problems, lies in a combination of entrepreneurship training for the unemployed and funding for new ventures from the public and private sectors. Krzysztof believes that loans without training and training without loans are worth very little in the long run. Therefore, to help the rural unemployed start their own businesses, Krzysztof has initiated a new approach to community development by offering extensive training programs on how to manage a venture and obtain loans. He offers a variety of programs for people with different levels of need, and offers follow-up counseling services. Krzysztof also generates local funds which provides financial support in the form of low-interest loans for new ventures. He believes that the only way to generate sustained private-sector interest in social reform is through micro-credit funds that involve the cooperation of local governments, banks, and businesses focused on alleviating unemployment. „What really attracts investments? People usually think of industry or natural resources. I think that it is the social awareness, involvement and cooperation of various sectors. This really brings growth and promotes the community.” In weaving together these combinations, – training and funding, public and private – Krzysztof not only empowers jobless agricultural workers to become active in the new economy, but he also helps reverse the destructive self-conceptions that characterize some of Poland’s rural areas.

Motivation

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