Starting platform for new ideas "Hub of Talents" is an incubation program that helps to prepare a market-verified business model and a minimum viable product.
The main reason why the platform was created was a small number of innovative enterprises in Eastern Poland. The start platform was a project implemented in partnership. The Project Leader was Bialystok Science and Technology Park. The funds for the platform came from the Eastern Poland Program. How did the incubation process work? 70 startup enterprises participated in the incubation process (max. 10 months), which were incubated in 6 centers (parks) and received basic and specialized services for the development of their innovative ideas. After incubation, each of them had a market-verified business model (business model assumptions have been verified by the market) and Minimum Viable Product (product with enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for its future development) of their product or service.
Examples of basic services: providing office space, workshops (public speaking, team building, lean canvas), promotion tools, mentoring, legal-tax consultancy, protection of industrial property, basic marketing support in the development of corporate identification elements, participation in international startup events, a Startup tutor. The scope of specialist services was adapted to startups’ needs in terms of the idea developed and the preparation of the business model. All services are free.
Main stakeholders: experienced entrepreneurs, universities, business environment institutions, external experts. Beneficiaries: innovators <35 years old.
Ca. 30 people watched over the organization and course of incubation from 6 incubation centers, and some specialist services serving the development of products were provided by external entities (e.g. prototype construction, specialized analyzes). Co-financing: PLN 5,909,310.68 (EUR 1,374,258).
Evidence of success
70 entities completed incubation, 68 of them received positive recommendations for application for next funding. All of them developed – some applied for financing – PLN 800k (ca. EUR 186k) for the development of product (on which they worked during the incubation period; 36 obtained funding), other decided to operate without EU funds, basing on own or other resources. There are no statistics available on their growth sales, etc.
Potential for learning or transfer
This good practice can be interesting for other European regions where there are few innovative enterprises. The entities interested in implementing this good practice must find experienced mentors who will guide and support a start-up in its individual path, adjusted to its branch and needs. Thanks to this tailored support Bialystok Science and Technology Park successfully helped 68 young companies. Encouraged by the positive results of this acceleration program, the Park decided to apply for funds to implement another edition of the project within the call announced by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development in March 2018.
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