Israeli and Polish organizations have signed a 10-month innovation plan, supported by the Israeli government and the Polish Ministry of Technology and Entrepreneurship, which will see large corporations share their innovation needs and challenges with startups and individual entrepreneurs from both countries. The goal is to identify solutions to those challenges, forming startups around them, and getting the solutions piloted, implemented and scaled to markets.
The program was initiated by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), which is Poland’s Development Bank and sponsor of the program, CREATORS IDEAtion Lab, and Start-Up Nation Central, with participation of ARP (Poland’s Agency of Industry Development). The groups signed the program contract on Wednesday 24 October 2018 in Warsaw in the presence of the Israeli Ambassador, Anna Azari and the Polish Minister of Technology and Entrepreneurship, Ms. Jadwiga Emilewicz.
After an intensive challenge-creation phase with corporate partners, a selection of the startups and individual entrepreneurs from both countries will take place. Next, they will meet in Tel Aviv for a 6-week bootcamp to understand the challenges raised by corporate partners and go through ideation and acceleration. After the bootcamp in Israel, there will be a 2-month period of weekly consultations between the startups and the corporates’ innovation teams to make sure the potential solutions fit the companies’ needs. Then, Israeli and Polish participants will meet in Warsaw for a 2-week sprint and present their progress during a joint demo day.
Start-Up Nation Central will lead the scouting process for available technologies in Israel and identify the same in Poland, while CREATORS will run the content of the ideation phase, acceleration, sprints and the mentorship program.
Two Polish corporations have already signed a letter of intent to become the first partners –Tauron Group, Poland’s second-largest energy producer, and Asseco Poland SA, the largest IT company in Poland and one of the largest IT solutions company in Europe. Other corporate partners are expected to join, and the program will begin no later than January 2019.
The primary goal of the cooperation is to create a vehicle that both scouts for relevant technologies and creates solutions to the needs and challenges the corporate partners face. Also important is the process of learning best practices to support the development of Poland’s innovation ecosystem. Another goal is to foster bilateral entrepreneurship and even establishing Israeli-Polish startups.
“Poland needs startups, now more than ever. The larger the number of quickly developing young companies, the faster the innovativeness level of our economy increases. We want to cooperate and learn from the best – Israel is the second most innovative economy in the World,” said Jadwiga Emilewicz, Poland’s Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology.
“Innovation is a global game. To be innovative, we need a variety of perspectives and partners who value cooperation,” said Karin Gattegno, Vice-President for Strategic Partnerships at Start-Up Nation Central.
“This is a unique program that can bring our innovation ecosystems closer together and we hope to replicate this model in the future with other partners,” said Daniela Kandel, Strategic Countries Director of Start-Up Nation Central.
“In Israel, the ecosystem of innovators, business, and the public sector is operating very efficiently. Increasing the innovativeness of the Polish economy is one of the goals of the Strategy for Responsible Development, of which the BGK is a key implementer,” said Wojciech Hann, a member of BGK’s management board.
Monika Różalska, CEO of CREATORS, said, “The Polish-Israeli Co-Innovation Program, created especially for the needs of this unique cooperation, is the first systematic model in the world for bringing innovation ecosystems of two countries facing varied challenges and having complementary potential closer together.”
Formerly EMEA Tech Editor at The Wall Street Journal, Amir now heads communications for Start-Up Nation Central, an NGO connecting the world to Israeli innovation. email@example.com