Lodz Special Economic Zone also supports small companies from the region.

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Piotr Brzózka

Lodz Special Economic Zone also supports small companies from the region.

Piotr Brzózka

Lodz Special Economic Zone has backed small and innovative companies. More than 200 entrepreneurs applied for the Startup Spark programme.

The first lucky individuals have already been invited to the Zone-operated accelerator, where they could receive financial support from large and well-known partners. The formal requirements were met by nearly 170 of more than 200 projects submitted in the recruitment process. More than 70 qualified for the second stage. 35 advanced to the next round. Eventually, 8 projects were chosen for acceleration during the first stage. They are ConvLink, ToT, Talebook, VersaBox, TapToSpeak, TakeTask, LukinLabs and Terra Hexen.

The second stage of the recruitment process is under way and 17 companies will get their chance.

Millions of subsidies

The Startup Spark programme has received support amounting to more than PLN 5.5 million as part of the ScaleUp action of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.

„The objective of the project is compatible with the strategy of operations until 2025 as adopted by Lodz Special Economic Zone. This involves supporting small and medium-sized businesses, start-ups and creating new contact networks which will significantly expand the range of services offered by the Zone”, underlines Marek Michalik, the CEO of Lodz Special Economic Zone.

Thanks to the programme, the first accelerator of its kind was created in Lodz and provides actual support for start-ups from the entire country. The projects selected during the recruitment process will receive financial support. Each of them will have the opportunity to get the equivalent of PLN 200,000, including PLN 40,000 in the form of services. However, Startup Spark is not only about the money. It also involves the support of experienced mentors, access to production teams (acceleration method(s) in the Venture Building model) and the possibility of cooperating, testing, implementing and commercialising start-ups among project partners. The innovative projects, which are qualified for the Zone-operated accelerator, are supported in business terms by large and well-known companies such as Procter & Gamble, Wielton, Grupa PGE S.A., Albea Polska and Radio Łódź.

Specialists need to help the young

The conclusions presented in a report compiled by CB Insights confirm how important the support of young entrepreneurs by experienced partners is i.e. the 20 most-frequent causes of start-up failures include: they do not solve real problems, they choose the wrong technology, they have poor HR and investors, they make products characterised by poor market potential and operate in an environment where competition is fierce. This is confirmed by research studies conducted by Lodz Special Economic Zone. 70% of Lodz-based start-ups indicated that they mainly need the support of specialists in the implementation and development of their projects. The barriers observed directly affect the problems regarding the cooperation between a start-up and a large company.

„Startup Spark was created in close cooperation with start-ups. They informed us of their needs and of the development obstacles they encounter. If they complain about the lack of access to specialists, then we want to give them what they want” says Agnieszka Sygitowicz, Vice-president of Lodz Special Economic Zone.

Piotr Brzózka

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