S5 is the first acceleration program in Poland focusing on 5G technology and combining startups from the region of Lodz with big business representatives
The S5 Accelerator has been established in 2019 within Lodz Special Economic Zone.
Startups qualified to participate in the S5 program receive expert support and financial grant (de minimis public aid) for the development and testing of products or services in 5G technology. The goal of the Program is to develop, test and implement first industrial 5G use-cases on commercial basis in large companies.
The programme is addressed to micro, small or medium companies in the early development stage (up to 22 months from the date of registration), operating in the Lodzkie Voivodeship.
The support can be applied for start-ups offering solutions in the following areas:
- Smart factory,
- VR/AR solutions,
- Automotive and logistics,
- Smart city,
- Media and entertainment,
- Smart home/smart office.
The program consists of two phases: incubation and acceleration. During the incubation phase 40 startups are supported in the form of a grant of up to 50 000 PLN (circa 12 000 EUR) for project development and 5G technology knowledge transfer. In the second phase, at least 20 start-ups selected from 40 startups participating in the incubation phase will get a grant up to 550 000 PLN (125 000 EUR) for project development and in-depth 5G technology knowledge transfer.
All applicants must have a project which falls within at least one Lodzkie Voivodeship Regional Smart Specialization.
Total project cost: PLN 13 983 831,00 (EUR 3 180 000)
Co-financing of PLN 13 142 116,60 (EUR 3 000 000) 2014-2020 Regional Operational Program of the Lodzkie Voivodeship action II.1. Business environment, Sub-measure II.1.2: Professionalization of business services
Evidence of success
The project has attracted a lot of interest from startups. More than 100 applicants enter the recruitment process. Among others, solutions from the area of autonomous vehicles and virtual reality have been qualified for the programme.
For the results of the program, Lodz SEZ has been receiving special titles in fDi Global Free Zone of the Year 2019 and 2020 ranking (fDi Magazine, Financial Times Group),
Potential for learning or transfer
Lack of funds is one of the most important barriers that prevent startups from developing their ideas. The project gives young companies a chance not only to gain considerable financial resources but also to quickly commercialize their ideas. The accelerator is managed by an institution with extensive experience in building links between production companies and startups. Thanks to this, new, innovative solutions developed by the beneficiaries of the program will be tailored to the specific requirements of the target recipients of the technology. The program is an extension of the Startup Spark 2.0 project (also managed by Lodz Special Economic Zone), but in contrast to it is dedicated only to startups operating in the łódzkie region.
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