There is a new player on the Polish startup field: MassChallenge, one of the world’s largest startup accelerators, will cooperate with PKO Bank Polski and Fundacja Przedsiębiorczości Technologicznej to empower entrepreneurs and strengthen the Polish innovation ecosystem. The introduction of MassChallenge will begin with the program Bridge to MassChallenge dedicated to early-stage startups.

The MassChallenge launch in Poland was officially announced during the impact’17 conference. Poland will be the second European country (after Great Britain) to host this acceleration program.

PKO Bank Polski, the leader of the Polish banking sector, is the very first partner of the program. This bank is already active on the startup scene – it is the main partner of MIT Enterprise Forum Poland and cooperates with D-RAFT in the search of unique fintech solutions. At the beginning of 2017, it became the first Polish financial institution that has invested in a fintech startup.

“PKO Bank Polski is implementing the 2020 Strategy, which assumes the Bank’s digital transformation and an increase in the innovativeness of its services. The cooperation with MassChallenge will complement our existing strategies for the development of the startup environment in Poland. Fintech ideas developed within the program can be implemented in our bank to increase the satisfaction of customers,” said Szymon Wałach, Managing Director of Retail Client Division at PKO Bank Polski. “After full implementation of the MassChallenge program, Poland will accommodate the largest startup accelerator in the European Union.”

The first MassChallenge accelerator was launched in 2010 in Boston. Since then, the program is expanding across the globe, entering countries such as Mexico, Israel, or Great Britain. 1200 startups participating in the program have generated over $900m of income and created 65 thousand workplaces. MassChallenge cooperates with global corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, Bosch, and Procter&Gamble.

The pilot edition of MassChallenge will accept 25 startups for the acceleration program. In this first edition, the organizers are looking for early stage startups that have raised less $500k in equity-based funding and have generated less than $1m in revenue in the last 12 months. Applications will open in the early fall.

“Our goal is to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Poland by supporting high-potential early stage startups,” said Mike LaRhette, CEO of MassChallenge. “We look forward to working with entrepreneurs across the CEE region to help them unlock their potential.”