Poland is a good place for starting and developing a new business, and it is one of the most dynamically developing countries in Europe, offering wide access to European Union markets. The country craves innovation and sees it as the foundation for its further development strategy. Starting a business in Poland is not only a good idea, it’s also easy. Programmes like the Poland Prize are one way of turning your ideas into a thriving business.
The Poland Prize is part of the “Start in Poland” programme, which provides a startup friendly environment in Poland – from incubation phase, through development, to international expansion. The Poland Prize offers similar opportunities to the best foreign startups. The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development has selected 6 operators under the programme, whose task is to entice the most promising foreign startups to bring their business to Poland. The programme combines the concepts of incubation and acceleration, placing particular emphasis on preparing a foreign startup to operate in Poland.
The eligible startups can expect the following benefits from the programme:
- Soft landing – a simplified visa route and a guardian to help with administrative matters
- Grants ranging up to PLN 200,000
- Up to PLN 50,000 for legal, accounting and consulting services
- Specialized technology consulting
- Mentoring and networking
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development earmarked approximately PLN 30 million for the implementation of the programme, which, apart from raising the economy’s innovation level, is to be a significant source of valuable investments for Polish private investors – VC funds and business angels.
Until mid-2019, the accelerators operating under the Poland Prize will be searching for the best startups in order to encourage them to develop their ideas and products in Poland. Operators’ activities will cover various foreign markets, e.g. countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but also startup hubs such as London, Stockholm and Berlin.
Where to start?
Recruitment in the programme will be handled by six operators experienced in supporting the development of early stage tech companies. Each of them operates within a defined geographical area and handles specific industries. Visit the Poland Prize programme website. Check which accelerator is the best fit for your ideas, read about it and fill in the application form available on its website.
How does it work?
Each participant in the programme is guaranteed the so-called soft landing, i.e. a bridge support for startup teams until they become eligible for a grant from an operator. The so-called dedicated visa route will make it easier for innovative startup creators to settle in Poland. It utilises the invitation procedure which will make the process of obtaining a visa much simpler and faster. In addition, a specially selected person (concierge) will provide everyday (linguistic and substantive) support to the foreigner – both in matters related to staying in a new country and those related to establishing a business, dealings with offices, banks etc. The concierge will help with company registration as well as applying for a temporary residence permit.
Activities carried out during the acceleration process will include mentoring services, accounting and legal advice, specialized technology consulting and networking – activities aimed at integrating the newly established company into the Polish startup ecosystem, attracting investors, external financing, business partners and potential customers.
Poland is a large market with the potential for the development of startups. It has the sixth largest population and boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union (5.1% growth according to the data for the 2nd quarter of 2018). The country’s location in the very centre of Europe and a well-developed transport and ICT infrastructure guarantee fast and efficient access to any European market. Poland also exhibits a huge intellectual potential and offers a wealth of research and development services – 37 modern technology parks. HEIs educating highly qualified professionals are conducive to innovation. The largest business organisations in the world have already made note of this trend, with over 40 global corporations bringing their R&D centres to Poland in the last few years.
Considering that innovation is a priority in the Polish development strategy, which is borne out by multi-billion startup support programmes, there is no doubt that, in such an environment, developing ideas and translating them into real businesses will be a worthwhile endeavour.
The Poland Prize is a programme implemented as part of the government “Start in Poland” programme that supports startup development. The programme has been developed under the creative process carried out in the formula of the PARP inno_LAB project and is financed from funds of the Smart Growth Operational Programme, Submeasure 2.4.1 Centre for analysis and pilot studies of new instruments – inno_LAB. Further information on the programme is available here.