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The Heart has just wrapped up their first competition for companies which put their trust in startups. Set out to award “corporates that create innovation in collaboration with the startup system” (as stated on the competition’s website), the first Open Innovation Awards have turned out to be a very eventful night. PKO Bank Polski emerged as one of the shining stars of the lot as they ended the night with the prize for collaborative innovation.

The award did not come as a shock – after all, PKO Bank Polski was the first financial institution in Poland to directly invest in ZenCard. The fintech startup offers advanced tools and firsthand support in developing customer loyalty programs. In 2017, the company has developed two large projects with nationwide market chains – a promotional campaign for Visa and Makro, as well as a long term project with Super-Pharm.  PKO BP’s investment has enabled ZenCard to join the bank’s Capital Group.

With the start of this year, businesses which conduct their banking with PKO Bank Polski and use eService terminals have access to a ready-to-use and complex tool designed to increase sales efficiency. ZenCard’s offer for business customers includes consultations regarding campaign development, client base communication via SMS, post-sales services in the form of campaign reports, personnel training, marketing materials, as well as GDPR compliance assessment. ZenCard’s services are available for microentreprises, small and medium sized companies, and corporations.

We’re proud that the jury has noticed PKO Bank Polski’s attempts to incorporate the startup community into our ranks. I am convinced that our effort in carrying out the specialized acceleration programs and the direct collaboration with startups of the fintech sector will expedite our digital transformation and the advancement of the Polish financial market. – said Grzegorz Pawlicki, the Director of Innovation & Customer Experience at PKO Bank Polski.

Our partnership has proven to be mutually beneficial and can be taken as a sign of change of the industry’s perception when it comes to incorporating new solutions. – added Jarosław Sygitowicz, the vice-chairmen of ZenCard.

The Heart Open Innovation Awards 2017 is a contest for corporations which cooperate with startups in quest for innovation. The contest aims to promote companies which actively use external sources of innovation, build partnerships, and successfully incorporate the best solution. As for the organization of the event, the idea came from The Heart Warsaw, which is an European center striving to cultivate cooperation between corporations and startups.

For more information about the awards, as well as the rest of the winners, head to to the Open Innnovation Awards’ website.