According to the deputy mayor, up to 100 small and medium-sized enterprises in Debrecen could become suppliers for big companies.
SMEs in Debrecen could benefit from the economic success of big companies moving to the city. The city and EDC Debrecen (Debrecen Urban and Economic Development Center) are working in several ways to help them become more competitive. Among other things, the country’s first SME park in a large industrial environment is being built here, but the SME sector is also being supported through various organisational development and education programmes. The range is now being extended with a special suppliers’ forum, where large industrial players and local SMEs can meet face-to-face.
Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Lajos Barcsa spoke on local TV about the situation of SMEs. He recalled that in previous years, the municipality has already provided significant support to small and medium-sized enterprises, having launched the creation of an SME park in the Southern Economic Zone and educational programmes for them.
“Many people have approached us, saying that they would like to take advantage of the opportunities as a supplier of large companies coming to Debrecen,” the deputy mayor said.
There are currently around 900 small and medium-sized enterprises in the city. The deputy mayor added: he was not aware of a supplier forum similar to the one in Debrecen in the municipal sector. The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) has a department dealing with suppliers, as the Hungarian government aims to encourage international companies to work with as many domestic suppliers as possible. Lajos Barcsa believes that there is much they can do locally to make this happen.
There are several benefits to be gained from this: one of them is the issue of jobs, as local SMEs account for 44% of employment – some 26,000 people. “So it matters how the future of these businesses develops, as a kind of economic community is being built here,” the deputy mayor said.
Lajos Barcsa cited BMW as an example, as the company’s well-known environmental awareness is also reflected in the fact that it is considered an advantage to be local when bidding as a supplier. In the spirit of sustainability, striving for a product to make short journeys where possible is a good idea.
Some companies in Debrecen have already signed contracts with BMW.
The deputy mayor added that such contracts need a good reference but that they can usually do this.
“We have a pre-screener. We want to see if the company is really suitable to become a supplier,” Lajos Barcsa pointed out. According to our data, out of the 900 SMEs, about 100 are suitable to become suppliers of a large company. The deputy mayor stressed that they are the main recipients of the suppliers’ forum, but others are encouraged to contact EDC staff for expert advice.
The forum took place on the 16 th of November at the Kölcsey Centre. There were round-table discussions and 10-15 minute block discussions with representatives of large companies.
Lajos Barcsa also spoke about the need to encourage SMEs to digitalise and automate, as they can save costs and “the available workforce will not be more”. There was and will be government support for this.
The deputy mayor stressed that Debrecen is one of the best vocational training centres in the country, able to react quickly to the challenges of the labour market.
The transfer of the BMW Training Centre is a good example of this, as the needs of the automotive multinationals had to be taken into account in the training.
Lajos Barcsa pointed out, adding that according to the average wage data published by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) year after year, the wage gap between wages in Budapest and Debrecen is getting smaller.
The deputy mayor also reported that the construction of the SME Park in Debrecen has started, the utilities are currently being built and the first entrepreneurs have started their own investments.
Lajos Barcsa recalled that in 2015, there were about 7,500 students in vocational training in Debrecen, but today the number is more than 12,000. Everyone who comes out of the DSZC finds a job.
Lajos Barcsa added: there may also be a temporary need for guest workers, as there are construction projects on a scale that the domestic construction industry may not be able to handle.