Although the spring has just begun, MIT Enterprise Forum CEE, an accelerator addressed to technological start-ups from Poland and fourteen countries in Central and Eastern Europe, is already opening recruitment for the autumn edition of the program. Young entrepreneurs interested in participating in the project may submit applications via the mitefcee.org website by 30 June, 2019. About 25 best start-ups selected for participation in the program will undergo a comprehensive three-month acceleration process and receive co-financing for the development of activities in the amount of up to PLN 200,000. They will also have the chance to establish commercial cooperation with leading Polish and international enterprises.

The aim of the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE accelerator is to support the most innovative scientific and technological start-ups from Poland and Central and Eastern Europe by combining their potential with the knowledge and resources of large enterprises, as well as the experience of mentors who have achieved spectacular successes in international business. The program’s partners include market leaders, such as Adamed, PZU or Nationale-Nederlanden. The project is supported by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, which awarded a grant for the implementation of the program in the amount of PLN 15 million.

Start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe want to develop in Poland

The program is organized by Fundacja Przedsiębiorczości Technologicznej, which has successfully completed five editions of the MIT Enterprise Forum Poland program, and is currently preparing for the start of the first acceleration round for start-ups from the CEE region.

– We are now evaluating applications that have been submitted for the recruitment to the first round of the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program. Soon, we will announce start-ups that have qualified for participation in acceleration, and in May, the first workshops and meetings with mentors and representatives of large corporations will start – says Łukasz Owczarek, Head of Acceleration at Fundacja Przedsiębiorczości Technologicznej. – We received several hundred applications, almost half of which from start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Estonia and Bulgaria. We have already talked to their representatives. These are highly motivated teams to start their operations on the Polish market – they see not only a very favourable climate for business development in our country, but also an increasing openness of large enterprises for cooperation with start-ups – adds Owczarek.

Due to the great interest in acceleration, MIT Enterprise Forum CEE has already opened recruitment for the next edition of the program, which will start in November 2019. For three months, young entrepreneurs who qualify for it will refine their business models under the supervision of Polish and international mentors, gain access to unique know-how, technical and technological facilities of program partners, as well as co-financing for business development and pilotage in the amount up to PLN 200,000. The start-ups from CEE countries will be dedicated to a special team supporting them in developing their operations on the Polish market.

– To apply for the program, we invite technological start-ups from Poland and CEE countries, which develop technologies that can be used, among others, in the pharmaceutical industry and Industry 4.0, energy, insurance and financial sectors as well as in the Smart Buildings sector. We are launching recruitment for the autumn edition now to give teams more time to submit their applications. We have also significantly simplified the application formula itself, which makes it much faster and more intuitive – emphasizes Owczarek.

Poland is just the beginning of the path

The MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program is part of the global MIT Enterprise Forum network, which has branches in several US states, as well as in Greece, Spain, Israel, Turkey and Pakistan. Its reach covers Poland and fourteen countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The project is focused not only on development on the Polish market, but also on broadly understood internationalization.

– Our goal is to accelerate the development of companies which want to develop on international markets, primarily in the United States. As part of each acceleration edition, the five best start-ups are given the chance to participate in the weekly bootcamp in Boston. During the trip, they have not only the opportunity to learn about the innovation ecosystem around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a university which our program is affiliated with, but also the opportunity to establish important business relationships with local entrepreneurs and present technologies to investors from the USA. For many of them, this is the first major step in business development on the US market – says Łukasz Owczarek. – We are also establishing more and more relations with leading enterprises in the Far East, which are interested in cooperation with start-ups from Central and Eastern Europe. Participation in the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE program can thus become a chance for young entrepreneurs to expand into those markets –  he adds.

Start-ups that qualify for the project will undergo acceleration in accordance with the 24 steps of disciplined entrepreneurship model developed by William Aulet, professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and will be given the opportunity for global networking, including establishing business relationships with potential partners and investors. The agenda of the program also includes consultations with lawyers, patent attorneys, sales coaches or HR specialists.

The main partners of the program are Adamed – a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, which was founded on the basis of Polish scientific thought and own patents, and MCX – the core of a strong group of specialized companies, including, among others, companies in the field of ICT solutions and renewable energy.

Supporting partners include LINK4, Nationale-Nederlanden, MDI Energia SA, Sollers Consulting, PZU and Vetasi. The substantive partners include the Authorized Training Center of Sandler Training – Twarowski & Posmyk, CRIDO, EUPATENT.PL patent office, Extended Tools, Novismo, TaxLab and Hasik Rheims & Partners. Organizations supporting acceleration include CMS Law and Tax, Foundation for Polish Science, Polish Business and Innovation Centers Association in Poland (PBICA).

The implementation of the program is supported by a grant awarded to Fundacja Przedsiębiorczości Technologicznej by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development under Measure of the 2.5 SGOP Acceleration Programs