The first day of impact’17, the largest event in Central and Eastern Europe devoted to innovations and economy 4.0, drew to a close. Over 300 speakers from 30 countries, including serial entrepreneurs, most notable Polish politicians, scientists, and corporate representatives have shared their insightful perspectives on the future of industry and economy.

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development, made sure to bring attention to the social revolution that industry 4.0 is about to cause. “Economy and society are two sides of one coin,” he said. “The sooner we realize that society will be transformed by the industrial revolution, the better. We need to create a framework for this change and stay aware that the development of technology and robotics will cause many jobs to disappear from the labor market.”

The topics of many keynotes revolved around innovation being the prerequisite for success. Carlos Moedas from the European Commission criticized the fact that less and less disruptive ideas are born in Europe. “In Europe, media is the only fully digital industry; all other markets are stuck in the old system. We need to shift our thinking from copying old ideas to creating big, unconventional ones,” he stated.

After the opening speeches, discussions on economy 4.0 were held simultaneously on three separate stages. Participants could concentrate on the topics of science to business, fintech & e-commerce, energy & resources, mobility, and entrepreneurship.

All startup founders and entrepreneurs were encouraged to think big. Bertrand Piccard, the creator of Solar Impulse project, gave a speech on finding new solutions in the most unexpected places. “When I was looking for a constructor for a solar-powered plane, the aircraft industry claimed it’s impossible. In the end, my plane was built in a shipyard. My advice to you is: never follow people who deem your ideas impossible.” Yobie Benjamin from Token has shared his investor experience with fintech startups. “There’s no way a startup with less than a target turnover of billion dollars is going to be interesting for investors. They simply consider smaller targets a waste of time,” he said.

According to Carlos Menendez from Mastercard, one of the next revolutions that await us will take place in the fintech sector. Together with the Polish government, Mastercard has set a goal to bring the proportion of cashless transactions to 80 percent.

The first day of impact’17 ended with startup4export, a pitching session and a discussion on the future of Polish startups. Beata Szydło, the Prime Minister of Poland, emphasized that startups can count on the support of Polish government. “Your knowledge, creativity, and passion are a key to the development of our country,” she said. “Thanks to you, Poland has a great potential to become an example for the whole world to follow. We estimate that in 2030, 15% of all our export will be high-tech products, as opposed to 8% in 2015.”

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