Acceleration program supporting startups operating in the field of, among others IoT, AI and cyber security in cooperation with big business representatives.
Startup Spark 2.0 is an acceleration program of Lodz Special Economic Zone, in cooperation with international corporations, i.e. Ericsson, PwC, Procter&Gamble, Bosch, Siemens, Airbus and local Polish companies: Bluerank, Indigo Nails, Paradyż Ceramics, Pietrucha Group and WDX.
As part of the acceleration, the startup is merged with the Technology Recipient and Operations Mentor (startup supervisor). The team works together for a maximum of 6 months to develop a product or service and then commercialize it.
Startup joining Spark 2.0 program receives financial supports (grant of maximum around 36 000 euro), mentoring, technological, legal support and access to potential client with the possibility of testing its product on real business data and infrastructure.
The goal of Spark 2.0 is to combine the potential of startups with the resources, infrastructure and experience of a mature business, while educating medium and large companies to open up to innovation and cooperation with startups.
Total cost of project implementation: 14 811 412.44 PLN (3 366 230 EUR)
Co-financing 13 836 560.00 PLN (3 144 672 EUR) under the European Regional Development Fund, Operational Programme Intelligent Development 2014-2020, Measure 2.5 Acceleration programmes
Evidence of success
Over 700 startups applied to the program. Eventually, 73 startups for the amount of over 11 million PLN (over 2.4 million Euro) were supported. The maximum value of support for one start-up is 160 000 PLN ( around 37 000 EUR).
For the results of the program, Lodz Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has been receiving special titles in fDi Global Free Zone of the Year 2019 and 2020 ranking (fDi Magazine, Financial Times Group), i.e. Innovation Award, Startup Support, SEZ 4.0, Industry 4.0.
Potential for learning or transfer
The biggest advantage of the Startup Spark 2.0 program is a close cooperation between innovative startups, technology recipients and Lodz Special Economic, a business institution, in the middle. Thanks to this model, projects implemented within the program are tailored to specific market needs and are quickly commercialized. The success of the program made Lodz Special Economic Zone decide to implement a similar project, dedicated to solutions using the 5G network and addressed to startups exclusively from the Łódzkie Voivodeship (project title: S5 – 5G Technology Accelerator).
The Startup Spark 2.0 program effectively utilizes the potential inherent in young technology companies and opens the way for them to stable operations in business environment.
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