Our Story

Founded in 1990, JDJ Bachalski has long been associated with language education, both in Poland and abroad. The company comprised over 30 language schools and offices all over the country (and one in the Czech Republic). As an educational agency, it has sent abroad over 120 thousand Polish students for language courses all over the world. Throughout 26 years, the company has also organized various business training courses within the country.

Six years following its establishment, the company founder – Dariusz Jacek Bachalski – launched another enterprise named Zielony Horyzont (Eng. Green Horizon), along with its subsidiary Trawan, both operating in the garden industry. The firms currently specialize in the production of turf lawns. Moreover, formerly their offer also included the provision of complete sets of irrigation systems and garden lighting.

Real estate, specifically the construction of apartment compounds and houses, is the third of the entrepreneurial activities. Jacek Bachalski (prefers to use his second name) started it almost simultaneously in Poznan and in Gorzów Wielkopolski, followed by the subsequent expansion to several other Polish cities.

A newspaper titled tylko gorzów (first issue published in 2002), and an online news portal gorzow24.pl, are expressions of the entrepreneur’s interest in the local city affairs and its council. On the other hand, a monthly magazine Anglorama (2003-2009) briefly filled the market gap of English-language, nation-wide press publications. However, Bachalski’s latest business venture is in healthcare. Firstly, the construction and development of the Gorzow Medical Centre Medi-Raj, and now telemedicine and elderly care.

There have also been activities in other areas – Jacek Bachalski founded an architectural firm, as well as a company that attracts foreign investors to Poland. The latter was founded in 1994 in London. Moreover, Bachalski owns a company in the USA, which links to his business activities in Poland. The US-based company is concerned mainly with a specific segment of his entrepreneurial activities, such as financial settlements of overseas business operations. Jacek also runs them through one of his UK-based companies. Besides, Jacek Bachalski is well known for his civic and social activism. He has been running a charitable organization in the educational sector – Bachalski’s Educational Foundation (Fundacja Edukacji Bez Granic Bachalskiego), which has provided free English lessons to 10 000 unemployed people for free.

Jacek Bachalski has always supported local sport – his favorites are football (soccer) and volleyball. As a grass turf producer, he has often helped municipal governments, sports clubs and schools fund natural football pitches equipped with automatic irrigation systems. Among his accomplishments, Jacek mentions his past extracurricular involvement in student activities at the Poznan University of Economics, where he was the President of AIESEC. This international non-governmental, not-for-profit organization provides young people with leadership development and volunteering experience.

A born entrepreneur, Jacek Bachalski has dreamt of owning a company from an early age. He has always associated business with freedom. “Business is a free-choice in its most crystal-pure form; you create your own world,” he says with conviction, even after more than a quarter of a century of business activity in various industries: education, real estate, media, and recently, medicine and telemedicine.

Neither schools nor upbringing provided him with an entrepreneurial mindset. He was not encouraged by anyone to start his own company. What he learned from his family, though, was that legal professions are the way to ensure financial security. Both his parents were lawyers. Therefore, his desire for an unfettered business activity must have been something inherent, something that he couldn’t resist. The 70’s in Poland were crucial times for the formation of Jacek’s worldviews and aspirations. Due to the economic and political system during that time in Poland, the only permitted forms of business activity were so-called “units of the socialized economy” – a term used in the times of the Polish People’s Republic, in which the dominant form of ownership was state ownership or cooperative property.

Jacek earned his first money as a child. He regularly sold empty glass bottles and waste paper. His first self-earned purchase? A soccer ball. A flair for business emerged during first youth travels abroad – to Hungary, the former Yugoslavia, and Turkey. It was a great way to earn substantial pocket money and gain a return on transportation costs. Later, during his university studies, Jacek dealt in dictionaries and foreign currency. As he recalls – “Those satisfactory little things were the basis of understanding that owning a company can give one load of happiness”.

However, material wealth has never been Jacek’s goal. An exciting life, serving society by running your enterprise on an international level, is what drives him to action. In his opinion, all this can provide one with an unrestrained ability to carry out business ideas and learn about the world. His parents have been somewhat neutral towards his interests, although they perhaps liked the fact that their 14-year-old son was relieving them of trade work. One day, young Jacek managed to sell out the entire assortment they brought in from Poland, including a radio worth 100 dollars, which, at that time, was worth five times his parents’ wages.

Learning English was an essential prerequisite to further his entrepreneurial development. Here again, Jacek’s business instinct emerged. To pay for English tutoring classes, he raised funds by purchasing silver chains from sailors. The trade allowed him to learn the language. “Had I failed the entrance exams, JDJ Bachalski would have never existed,” he draws attention to the logical sequence of events.

Jacek firmly points out that the real value of entrepreneurship is a process, and not the money. He derives great pleasure from business ventures themselves, but he knows that profit is the key to satisfaction. “There is no progress without money,” he says.

UK for the first time

There is no doubt that an essential aspect of Jacek’s life journey was his first trip to Great Britain. It was 1984, Jacek was 20 years old and in his junior year at university. He traveled to a small village near Birmingham. This was when the big, wide world revealed itself to Jacek’s eyes.

Together with a group of other volunteers, Jacek built a playground for disabled children. Years later, he admitted that this was one of the most remarkable experiences in his life – he learned about the relations prevailing in an open British society, previously unknown to him.

It was something unimaginable at that time in Poland. Twenty-five young students from all over the world got together to build a playground for disabled British kids. The group consisted of Europeans, Americans, Asians, and Africans. It was a holiday volunteering job – you worked three weeks for free but had meals and accommodation provided.

Nonetheless, Jacek’s fundamental purpose in traveling to England was to learn the language. It wasn’t by accident that he met Eva Adams, a teacher from one of the British language schools, introduced to him by another Polish immigrant. Eva helped Jacek receive a scholarship. They are very close friends, even today. “A great character, a Swede, a wife of a Cambridge professor, the inventor of contraceptive pills in the 60’s”, recalls Jacek. Thanks to her, he and his girlfriend spent their time at a language school throughout the academic year of 1986 – 1987.

This was a breakthrough moment in Jacek’s life. Having observed a modern society taught him a lot in light of the events in Poland of the 70’s and 80’s, when the government oppressed the Solidarity movement and all freedom movements. After a few months he mastered the language well enough to begin studies at the prestigious Cambridge University. He got the offer, but had no money to fund his education there at that time.
Jacek eventually decided to emigrate to the US. At the end of his stay in England, he filed VISA documents at the American Embassy in London. Unfortunately, he was told that as a Pole, he could only apply for an American visa in Warsaw. He believed that the States was a country created for and by immigrants. “Perfect”, he thought. This is the place for me!” Jacek admits that as an immigrant, he did not feel as welcome in the UK as he thought he would in the US or Canada.

Nevertheless, the more Jacek learned about British culture and its people, the more he liked them. “They weren’t surprised by anything, nothing perplexed them”, he notes. However, they still seemed to me like people from another planet. It was in the UK that Jacek found out about the problems of South Africa and Nelson Mandela – “Nobody talked about those things in Poland then. Besides, no one was actually interested as Polish people had their own serious problems at that time…”, he recalls.

It was then that Jacek realised Poles lived in their own country as in a closed cage. Although he came back home disappointed after not being granted a visa to the US, he learnt English and became a completely new man. He realised that the whole English speaking world was at his disposal, which comprised a large part of the globe. Then, suddenly, during his university studies in Poznan, the Polish Round Table Agreement happened. Poland opened up to the world.

Opens the company and earns a fortune right away.

Jacek Bachalski made his first big money in 1990, right after college. He founded JDJ, a company initially operating in Poznan. He came up with the idea of distributing Company Directories – thick volumes containing addresses and contact information to companies all over Western Europe. Data was divided into countries and industries. Once the Polish economy opened up to the world in 1989, this type of information was precious.

But where did he get such a highly demanded product? A friend of his that often traveled abroad had told Jacek that there was a publishing house in Europe called Kompas, which had all the addresses of Western European firms, mainly wholesalers, but also manufacturers. At that time, Poles massively wanted to buy goods from Europe to sell on the domestic markets. Since Poznan had already had direct telephone call connections, Jacek started his search for the company and found its Belgian branch in Brussels. He made a deal with the manager and traveled to Brussels every month until he emptied the entire warehouse. Then he sourced the product from Germany and Austria.

Driving the old good Polish Polonez, Jacek imported large amounts of Company Directories to Poland, where he had thousands of clients. Why was the product so popular? Those books were the only source of information about places to import various goods from – from televisions to whipped cream to coffee. Jacek recalls that he couldn’t manage to count all the money he made. He had the cash mailed to him by post. A mail carrier would bring the money in a sack. Many firms had their doors open to economic success thanks to those Company Directories.

The profit made on one copy? From 100 to 400% mark-up. His first purchase was bought for everything he had – USD 1900 -, and the last transaction with the publisher totaled USD 23,000. In one year, Jacek made over $100,000 US dollars (which was a very significant amount in the early post-communist era in Poland). The business lasted about 1.5 years. It ended after prime minister Bielecki introduced a tariff on imported goods. From that point onwards, the Polish market structure started shaping up in favor of large importers who did not need Company Directories. The result of this business was that Jacek Bachalski bought a house for his family, and had enough money to start a new business. Having understood that his success came from learning English, Jacek wanted to share this realization with his fellow countrymen. Consequently, the project of educational agency and a network of language schools emerged.

Educating the Poles

The idea for the educational business came out of necessity. Poles were already recognizing the value of learning foreign languages, but access to this type of education was still limited. There were some language lectures and classes at schools and universities, but foreign language courses were a complete novelty. The annual increase of customers can express the enormous popularity of JDJ’s offer:  1990; – 123 learners; 1991 – 360 learners; 1992 – 700 learners, and in subsequent years – 1200, 2000, 3700, 4900, 5300, 7000.

A little later, the company started offering new service products, which are primary school and high school programs in various schools all over Europe and the USA. Furthermore, the company introduced a so-called “Work and Travel” program in the States. JDJ’s popularity peaked in the year 2000 when it offered the service of language courses to over 7000 students within one season. The company’s turnover reached PLN 50m (USD 13m).

At the same time, a network of language schools was developing within the country, amounting to 30 schools with headquarters in all the largest Polish cities. However, after a few years, the demand was exhausted. The last of JDJ Bachalski language schools ended its activity in 2011, in Poznań.

The company operates successfully as an educational agency up to this day. In May of 2020, JDJ’s new venture came into being. It is a family-owned enterprise named JDJ International Online Schools, run by Jacek and his son – Wojciech Bachalski.