Deadline: varies depending on the selected programme | Apply here
Eligibility: The most promising foreign start-ups are invited to apply
Poland Prize 2019
Looking for a perfect place to start and grow a new business?
Poland is one of the most dynamically developing countries in Europe, offering a wide access to the 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, but it’s also easy. Start-up initiatives like the Poland Prize offer an opportunity to turn your idea into a thriving business.
“Start in Poland”
The Poland Prize is part of the “Start in Poland” programme, which provides a start-up friendly environment in Poland: from the incubation phase, through development, to international expansion.
The Poland Prize offers the same opportunities to the best foreign start-ups. The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development has selected 6 operators under the programme, whose task is to encourage the most promising foreign start-ups to bring their businesses to Poland.
The programme combines the concepts of incubation and acceleration to help foreign start-ups to start operations to Poland.
6 reasons to apply
Eligible start-ups 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- (~ EUR 45,000-)
- Up to PLN 50,000- (~EUR 10,000) 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 scouting for the best start-ups and encouraging 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 start-up hubs such as London, Stockholm and Berlin.
How does it work?
Each participant in the programme is guaranteed the so-called “soft landing”: a lasting support for start-up teams until they become eligible for a grant from an operator.
The dedicated visa route will make it easier for innovative start-up creators to settle in Poland. International founders will receive a visa invitation 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 foreign founders – both in matters related to staying in a new country and those related to establishing a business, dealings with office space providers, 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. The aim is to integrate the newly established companies into the Polish start-up ecosystem as well as to attract investors, external financing, business partners and potential customers.
How to apply
Poland Prize is conducted by 6 experienced operators specialized in various sectors. Recruiting takes place through forms available on their websites:
- Specialization (preferred sectors): transportation and logistics, construction and real estate, data science
- Target countries: United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Spain, Ukraine
- Recruitment cycles: September-December 2018; April-June 2019
Poland Prize powered by Space3ac matches new technology startups with the demand of large companies looking for innovations in the field of downstream technology of the space technology sector (inter alia, application of satellite data), applicable to business operations.
- Specialization (preferred sectors): IoT, connected hardware
- Target countries: Spain, Germany, France, Israel, USA, Canada
- Recruitment cycles: November 2018 – February 2019; September-November 2019
Poland Prize powered by Brinc acceleration is a place where hardware startups will create products from scratch until they are ready for mass production. The programme is designed to help startup reach mass production, assist with export-oriented sales and facilitating contacts with contractors and global brands.
- Specialization (preferred sectors): FinTech, MarTech
- Target countries: Croatia, Hungary, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece
- Recruitment cycles: September-December 2018; April-July 2019
Poland Prize powered by Huge Thing is a well-established innovation partner whose history includes implementing acceleration programmes for Alior Bank and Aviva.
The unique feature of the programme is the pre-accelerator program during which startups have a chance to learn acceleration process and gain knowledge about the specifics of Polish business environment, as well as a trip around Poland to show foreign teams the most important startup hubs in the country.
- Specialization (preferred sectors): energy, ICT
- Target countries: Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Armenia
- Recruitment cycles: December 2018–January 2019; April-May 2019
Poland Prize powered by Startup Hub Poland is a programme focused on selecting the best startups in the energy and ICT sectors and helping them get established in Poland.
Its participants will make use of tailored training courses, workshops, support on the part of experienced mentors and partners, establish relations with the VC and industry representatives and obtain tools necessary for the efficient business development.
- Specialization (preferred sectors): 4.0 industry, new materials, chemistry, biotechnology, energy, electromobility, space technologies
- Target countries: Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Israel, Kazakhstan
- Recruitment cycle: April-May 2019
Poland Prize powered by Ad Ventures is a programme focused on cooperation with corporations such as Azoty Group, Olimp Laboratories, Orange, PZU, Polwax, Boryszew or PKP Cargo. This is also an opportunity for chosen start-ups to make use of modern laboratories and production lines and to integrate with the largest startup ecosystem in Poland.
- Specialization (preferred sectors): Fintech, Insurtech, TelecomTech, ICT, Space technologies
- Target countries: Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway
- Recruitment cycles: November 2018 – February 2019; February-June 2019
Poland Prize powered by Starter is meant for experienced entrepreneurs. The programme offers competence of engineers and technological support. Acceleration will be conducted mainly in the field of ICT technologies to be used in a wide range of business areas.
Poland is the second largest Central European market after Germany with the potential for the development of start-ups. It has the sixth largest population and boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union (5.1% growth in Q2 2018, according to Statistics Poland).
The country’s location in the very centre of Europe and a well-developed transport and ICT infrastructure guarantee fast and efficient access to the European market.
Poland also exhibits a huge intellectual potential and with 37 modern technology parks it offers a wealth of research and development services. Higher Education Institutions, or HEIs that are grooming 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 Poland’s development strategy, which is borne out by multi-billion start-up support programmes, there is no doubt that, in such an environment, developing ideas and translating them into real businesses will be a worthwhile endeavour.
Interested in applying for the Poland Prize 2019? Register your participation by following the application link and taking the suggested steps.