In the recently released World Bank report, Poland was recognized as one of the most startup-friendly ecosystems across the globe, ranking higher than established hubs such as Australia and Great Britain. This gives Poland a great opportunity to become the center of the CEE startup region, attracting ambitious entrepreneurs to join the vibrant community.
World Bank specialists analyzed multiple factors that simplify the process of setting up a startup and developing it, such as the administrative conditions and taxation law. Poland was ranked third, just after China and Malaysia. According to this ranking, cities assessed by the World Bank – Warsaw, Kraków and Poznań – are a better choice to start your own business than Moscow, Sydney, Tunis, or London.
Experts are not surprised with the position of Poland in this ranking. “Back in November 2015, the Forbes magazine included Poland in their list of ten most attractive startup locations,” reminded Jerzy Kalinowski, a Partner at KPMG. “Last year, Hacker Rank has recognized Polish programmers as the third best in the world. We are also in the top ten countries with a high percentage of English speakers. These numbers illustrate our potential in the field of innovation and startups.”
„Polish startup ecosystem is one of the biggest and fastest developing in the region. We are perceived as a dynamically growing technology hub,” confirms Maciej Szota, the deputy director of the Innovation and Business Development Department at PGNiG. He considers this ranking result a chance for Poland to become a leader of the region. “It is our opportunity to attract innovative entrepreneurs from other countries,” he said.
One of the fields, in which Poland is developing rapidly, is the VC market. The Polish Development Fund (Polski Fundusz Rozwoju, PFR) has recently launched the largest VC funds platform that appoints 2.8 billion PLN to the development of Polish startups. This fall, innovative companies will apply for the first time for a financing of up to 3 million PLN. PFR is also encouraging foreign VC funds to start investing in Poland.
While Poland is one of the biggest economies in Europe, it still needs to work hard in order to stay competitive in the race for the title of the regional startup hub. Countries such as Estonia or Hungary have also been experiencing a VC market boom during the last couple of years.
Jerzy Kalinowski is convinced that one of the most important elements of the startup scene is the legal aspect. “Young entrepreneurs should spend most of their time improving their businesses, and not struggling with bureaucracy,” he said. “The most important part of a startup ecosystem are the people: innovative, creative, with an entrepreneurial spirit. The ease of starting and developing their business, along with the opportunities for obtaining financing, are vital for them.”
Experts hope that creating a regional startup hub in Poland will cause a snowball effect. “Thanks to foreign entrepreneurs, we will increase our competencies and technological development level. This, in turn, will encourage foreign investors to come to Poland,” sums up Maciej Szota.