European Union and governmental programs often play the key educational and infrastructural role in the development of startup ecosystems. Since March 1 in Poland starts the “StartUp Platforms” program, supported by Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) and union funds. The program is aimed to educate young entrepreneurs on different aspects of enterprise building, and is aimed specifically to Eastern Poland region. The program is going to be divided into three platforms: “Hub of Talents” coordinated by Białystok Science and Technology Park, “TechnoPark Business Hub” by Kielce Technology Park, and “Connect” by Lublin Science and Technology Park.
The goal is equip pre- or early-MVP projects teams with skills related to the development of scalable business models, presentations and public speeches. Under the programme will be provided mentors who’ll advise on how to build a team, prepare a development strategy and achieve the planned objectives. The programme’s aim is also to build local ecosystems of support for start-up entrepreneurship. Start-up Platforms offer additional forms of support ensured by local government authorities, universities and investors. Participants will be able to benefit from reductions and discounts guaranteed by municipal local governments or from contact networks of companies and funds being partners of individual Platforms.
The programme is welcoming founders under the age of 35. For each selected project, an individual business incubation programme lasting for a maximum of 10 months will be developed, whose goal will be to finally prepare a profitable and scalable business model that has been validated by the market. The ideas will be accepted by three accelerators implementing acceleration programmes in the following towns: Kielce, Rzeszów, Stalowa Wola, Lublin, Zamość, Świdnik, Tarnobrzeg, Białystok, Olsztyn, Elbląg, Ełk, Suwałki and Łomża. You’re welcome to apply on the official website. The program is expected to end in April 2017 and prepare up to 100 projects for intense and successful startup journey.
Being a great initiative indeed, it’s worth to note the length of the program. As opposed to intensive bootcamps lasting weeks not months in USA or Western Europe, current union-funded programs in Poland in particular fail to reflect the needs of startup founders for rapid development and scalability. The result inevitably is not full dedication towards the project (full-time job elsewhere mostly) during 10 months of the program, which endangers the product development and team morale.