21.02.2019 Poland Prize: PGNiG and Startup Hub Poland have started acceleration of international startups

Polish Oil and Gas Company and the Startup Hub Poland Foundation have invited international startups that offer innovative solutions for the energy industry. Eight startups participated in the inauguration of the Poland Prize program at PGNiG.

This is the first group of 24 teams, which will participate in Poland Prize governmental program. It facilitates starting their operations in Poland. Over the next five months, they will develop their innovative projects here. Foreign startups offer solutions for the energy sector with the use of modern ICT technologies.

“Today Poland needs ambitious startups more than ever. The greater the number of fast growing, innovative, young companies, the greater will be the level of innovativeness of our economy. That is why we consistently build in Poland an ecosystem that fosters the development of startups,” said Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Thanks to two regulations relating to innovation, we have increased the popularity of R&D relief. We have created the Start in Poland program dedicated to innovative companies, the largest project of this type in Central and Eastern Europe. An important element of it is the Poland Prize pilot program, thanks to which we want to attract foreign talents to Poland,” she added.

The Startup Hub Poland Foundation is responsible for the recruitment of startups and coordination of the acceleration program, which has a grant worth almost PLN 5 million from the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. PGNiG is a strategic partner of the project.

“Welcome to the group of startups which PGNiG cooperates with so far. We are looking forward to learn about your innovative ideas for oil&gas sector and to learn your new fresh approach to technological challenges faced by the companies from the PGNiG Group,” said Piotr Woźniak, President of the PGNiG Management Board, addressing participants of the meeting. “We give you the space to work and the knowledge of our experts. Cooperation with them will allow you to adapt your innovative ideas to our needs. We hope that you will decide to stay in Poland for longer than just for the duration of the program, and we will be able to test and implement the solutions we have worked out together,” he added.

During the meeting at the InnVento startup center, presentations of startups from Great Britain, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus and Hungary took place. They presented their ideas for using modern IT solutions in the power industry, including the internet of things and artificial intelligence.

“Several of the solutions presented by foreign startups were particularly interesting to us. One of them has developed a data collection system using a combination of satellite images and artificial intelligence that can be used in exploration of hydrocarbons and monitoring of gas pipeline networks. Another came to Poland with cloud-based software that allows to manage energy consumption in buildings,” said Łukasz Kroplewski, Vice- President of the PGNiG Management Board for Development.

“The main assumption of Poland Prize is to make the Polish startup ecosystem become recognizable and strengthen its position on the international arena,” commented Mikołaj Różycki, Deputy President of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. “The current, standard path of development of Polish technological thought predicted that it is necessary to go beyond the borders of the country. Our task is to permanently supplement this trend with cases when Poland becomes the destination for the growth of technological ideas, including the foreign one. Observing the progress of the program, we are able to say that we are heading in the right direction. This confirms the interest of startups from such countries as Canada, USA, Israel or Great Britain,” he added.

“Developed countries are struggling to attract the best startups in various ways, but today it is Poland – thanks to the combined efforts of large industry, such as PGNiG, public partners like PARP and specialized non-governmental organizations, such as Startup Hub – grows into the number one offer in the region,” commented Maciej Sadowski, President of the Startup Hub Poland Foundation.

Three acceleration rounds will be carried out as part of the Startup Hub: Poland Prize project. Each of them will be attended by selected 8 startups, which will be invited to Poland for approximately 5-month acceleration. As part of the program, teams will receive not only financial support, but also the care of qualified mentors, an invitation to participate in workshops with professionals and the opportunity to use the office space to work on their projects.

Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology, took part in the accelaration program kick-off

As part of the governmental Poland Prize program, by the end of 2019, the Startup Hub Poland Foundation wants to build 24 startup teams that will work in Poland on projects in the area of energy and modern information and communication technologies (ICT). PGNiG is a strategic partner of the project intends to find innovative solutions responding to the technological challenges of the companies from the PGNiG Group. The best projects will receive financial support of up to PLN 50,000 euro (non-equity grant) from public funds. At the acceleration stage, startups qualified for Poland Prize will be able to conduct pilot implementations in companies from the PGNiG Group, obtain Venture Capital financing or use the grant offer for research and technological development in Poland.