Acceleration program focused on increasing the number of innovative enterprises by building and promoting entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Eastern Poland.
Startup Platform Connect, which is a part of "Start-up Platforms for New Ideas" operating within the framework of European Funds for Eastern Poland 2014-2020 was established to select innovative ideas and submit them for the expert analysis in terms of market potential and converting business ideas into products. Actions aimed at searching for the right business model for the future startup encompassed preliminary recognition of the market for the concept on the basis of which the product was created. Owing to the unique and authorial training program, the best ideas had the chance to build a profitably successful startup. Startup Platform Connect was opened to the originators under the age of 35 who wish to develop their business in one of five voivodeships of the Eastern Poland microregion. Each project had individual business incubation program which lasted maximum 7 months (attendant, preparation camp, basic and professional services). Platform provided the participants a place for work, accounting, legal and tax services and equipped them with skills concerning the development of autopresentation and public speeches. It also provided mentors who helped participants in areas of team-buliding and development strategy. Some of participants were supported by VC funds. After the completion of the business incubation program, recommended companies had a chance to obtain a non-refundable grant (800 000 PLN) for entering into the market.
Total value of the project was 7.2 million PLN and the cost of incubation for one startup was 58 000 PLN. The created ecosystem needed strong human resources such as: marketing experts, project management experts, mentors and assistants for startups, Venture Capitalists and Business Angels.
Evidence of success
A key results are: 752 evaluated business ideas and issued expert recommendations, 80 Acceleration Programs carried out, 80 verified business models, 80 issued opinions about innovation, 80 developed business plans, 74 issued recommendations, 33 obtained grants for the development of a product in The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, 1 built ecosystem of entrepreneurship building, consent for the continuation of the Startup Platforms by the European Commission.
problem: too general questions in application form/ solution: 3-day Kick off Session workshop aimed at initial verification of a business potential
problem: inadequately attuned program of workshops for a given group/solution: training topics were tailored to the individual needs of each group
Potential for learning or transfer
The GP’s potential for learning or transfer lies in the scope of the acceleration program. Each project had individual business incubation programme which lasted maximum 7 months. It was very individual from the beginning. Each project had attendant as a member of the startup team who was responsible for the acceleration process. Platform offered wide range of services form basic (legal, accounting and tax services) to professional which could be adapted to the needs of a given project. It was also important to involve various types of entities in the support of incubated startups – mentors, managers, Venture Capitals, Business Angels. And what was the most important the analysis of the need and legitimacy was carried out at every stage of implementation of the individual support. The pilot operational program of The Startup Platform had been positively evaluated and our GP is a part of it. Therefore, the European Commission granted continuation of the program.
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