The summary of the second day

Which were the best practices presented during our online meeting?

Well, I have already shared with you all of our presentations that were spoken during our online meeting on 8-9 June 2021. As you know, Rzeszow Regional Development Agency was the organizer of this event. On behalf of this organization, I would like to thank to all of you for your attendance and engagement during this meeting.

But, before we finish the subject of our meeting, please, let me share with you some overview of these GP's. This summary was of course presented by our Advisory Partner from Belgium.

From Norway we saw a presentation on Protomore, an innovation lab, but even so a maker space and an incubator/coworking space. This initiative is unique in that it is not industry specific. Furthermore, it aims at innovation and business development methodology. Protomore is based upon 3 pilars: digitalization, sustainability and business models. Their main activity lies with the innovation lab where an idea gets shape in a prototype, and is then tested (this for both start-ups and existing companies). In the maker space VR and augmented reality are used: here it is easier for start-ups and companies to experiment – they can also take courses here.

Protomore offers also a first line service as incubator: offers possibilities for networking, offers courses, funding in some cases, a digital platform… Secondly, they offer services for kick starters: already existing companies that want to follow an accelerating program. And thirdly, they offer services for scale up companies that are looking for new markets.

From Spain we saw a presentation on Pre-incubation and Incubation services. This initiative does not offer spaces nor accelerators. Their services are built around mentoring.

In the Pre-incubation they help entrepreneurs plan what they want to do, they check the feasibility of the idea, and help with the business plan. The Incubation services are for already established companies that want to grow: it is more about creation, consolidation, innovation, modernization and business cooperations.

From Bulgaria we saw a presentation on The Nest. This incubator is built by and for IT communities. They offer space and a community of local digital businesses and free lancers. The aim is to develop further the digital industry in Vratsa through IT courses, events, co- working spaces and all of this together attracting new businesses to Vratsa. The Nest is thus building up an eco-system of small companies that help each other.

From the UK we got an overview of current trends in incubating. During covid and especially since 2020 there is an increase in startups in the UK (as we see also in Slovenia, Bulgaria, Belgium), resulting in the UK economy growing fast now. Post covid the start-ups are looking for incubators, not so much for premises. And there are many types of incubators that all offer the services we saw already offered in the other GPs today: mentoring, co-working spaces, etc. One incubator stands out and that is University Science Park that actually offers government money for incubator services. They organize a competition for start-ups to get access to these incubating facilities. The uniqueness here lies in the fact that the entrepreneurs retain all equity in their business.

From Slovenia we saw the example of the BSC in Kranj (our project partner itself). In 2015 the unemployment amongst young people was very high in Slovenia and a group of young free lancers turned to the municipality asking for a co-working space. Quite some time and a lot of discussions later, they were given this space. Their aim was to start a strong community of companies and start-ups. Soon this community started to grow because it got known amongst people very fast. The company started to participate in EU projects thus being able to finance staff. Now, in 2021, they work on 11 EU and national projects and they are developing a huge building, a huge incubator with some 33 co-working spaces, and a lot of related services to offer.

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