The largest investment in the history of the Polish Investment Zone managed by KTP, the opening of the showroom of Factory of the Future, 20 successful accelerations and 2900 participants of Digital Dragons is the shortest summary of the activities of the Kraków Technology Park in 2020.
Like all institutions around the world, the Krakow Technology Park had to face an unexpected pandemic situation and the resulting consequences. However, thanks to the entrepreneurs with whom we cooperate, good organisation of work and general conditions, this year has turned out to be more gracious than we could have expected. The whole situation was a challenge on the one hand, but on the other hand it was an opportunity to test new activities and implement different solutions from those we have seen so far. The Kraków Technology Park did not stop working, we adapted to the current situation very quickly and introduced new channels of cooperation and contact with customers. And we can definitely say that we have largely succeeded in implementing our plans.
Tax relief for entrepreneurs
The activities of the Kraków Technology Park include a very wide range of services for entrepreneurs. As one of 14 companies, we manage the support programme that is the Polish Investment Zone. The KTP is responsible for issuing support decisions in the area of Małopolskie Voivodeship and Jędrzejów County. According to the new company strategy adopted at the beginning of the year, we intended to support over 20 companies, including 16 SMEs. Already at this moment 17 small and medium-sized companies have decided to take advantage of the tax relief under PSI, and several applications are still pending.
An unprecedented success we have achieved this year is the support for Lafarge, which will carry out an investment worth PLN 450 million. First of all, this is the largest single support decision in the history of the Kraków Technology Park, and it is also one of the largest projects supported under the Polish Investment Zone in the country. In addition, this year's investor service team organised a dozen or so webinars on anti-crisis shields, PSI activities, tax settlement and applicable regulations. We opened the first local KTP information point in Tarnów in order to make it easier for entrepreneurs to deal with matters in that region (our representative is on weekly duty there). Although this year we will not achieve such a result as in the record-breaking 2019, we are pleased with every decision to expand the company or build a new plant. - Investments of private entrepreneurs are and will be absolutely crucial in coming out of this crisis - says Wojciech Przybylski, President of the Board of KTP.
Industry 4.0 awaits these solutions
Unusual conditions did not prevent the implementation of the KTP ScaleUp acceleration programme. It was attended by an exceptionally large number of startups, which for six months worked for large companies, preparing innovative solutions for them: from methods for combating hostile drones violating the airspace, through methods for accelerating orchid breeding, links between virtual reality and tissue production, to improving the recruitment of employees for even the most specialised positions. In any case, the figures say it all: 20 startups have worked for six months with 14 recipients of technology. 383 hours of mentoring provided by 35 mentors were completed. The teams participated in 30 hours of training and 145 hours of workshops and individual consulting. They had the opportunity to present their projects during the Demo Day organised in a hybrid version. For startups, it was an opportunity to face the realities of the TV studio, for viewers to participate in the event regardless of where they live. At the moment we start another round of acceleration.
This year we also started to develop our activities within the digital innovation hubs. In cooperation with our partners, we managed to open the showroom of the Factory of the Future, where you can see all modern technologies in the field of robotisation and cobotisation, safe construction of robotised production lines, as well as broadly understood automation and digitisation of industrial processes. It is a place created for all representatives of production companies who plan to introduce elements of modern production (the so-called Industry 4.0) to their factories and want to see these solutions in practice.
The gaming industry reigns
There is no doubt that the gaming industry is emerging from the current situation with a defensive hand. However, in this reality, it is a little more difficult to organise events which are quite an important part of gamedev's life. This year, the Digital Dragons conference, which we have been organising for the industry for nine years, was held online. It was very quickly necessary to change the formula of this event, the date and the assumptions. The four-day conference attracted nearly 3000 participants. The online version, since March, also includes lectures and workshops of the Digital Dragons Academy, and the Digital Dragons Online Incubator has just completed another training.
Longing for reality
What has failed? What did we have to give up? As we have already mentioned, all events are now organised either in virtual or hybrid space. We do not meet people, there are no networking meetings, we do not go to project meetings - we often work with people we have never seen live. The great value of Digital Dragons conference is the opportunity to meet people from the industry, directly exchange experiences and enjoy being together. This year has not been and probably will not be in the next one. We also observe fatigue with all conferences, webinars and online trainings. Surely this is a great challenge for the organisers of these events - to attract the client's interest in their offer in the multitude of online meetings.
This year, we have also carried out many international projects without change. We are developing cooperation platforms, exchanging experiences and hoping to be able to take our clients on more than just virtual tours of the factories and companies of our foreign partners. We are ahead of us with decisions concerning subsequent editions of permanent events:
- We will continue our existing projects (Digital Dragons, Digital Dragons Academy, Digital Dragons Incubator) in a changed format. In the near future we will continue to operate in the network, but we are still looking for the most attractive form for such meetings,' announces Piotr Gamracy, Deputy Director for the Creative Sector.
And also the challenge of the new KTP offer:
- We would like the activities started this year to support the digitisation of companies to lead us to the world's, or at least European leaders. We hope to become the leader of Industry 4.0 as Digital Innovation Hub next year," comments Krzysztof Krzysztofiak, director of the technology park department.
One of the challenges we have set ourselves as part of our latest strategy is internationalisation - both of our clients and our organisation. We are in the process of applying to several international programmes and are waiting for new projects. We are also waiting for the decisions concerning ESA BIC (European Space Agency), under which Space Incubators are to be established in Poland. If this is successful, Krakow will be one of the places where such an incubator will be built and KPT will manage it.
- We plan to open further information points, in Nowy Sącz and Chrzanów. If the economic situation allows us to do so, we would like to go back to the number of decisions on support within the Polish Investment Zone from 2019, when we spent 50," comments Krystyna Sadowska, director of the investor service department.
We are not afraid of challenges and we believe that the future must be looked at from a broader perspective.
- We are considering the development of infrastructure," announces Krzysztof Krzysztofiak, "We predict that many people will not return to their offices and will value work outside the corporations. There will probably also be more startups. We want to prepare for this.
These are far-reaching plans, and the closest ones are, as summarised by Bartosz Józefowski, Deputy Director for Industry 4.0: not to get sick and work safely.
Author: Barbara Wityńska-Słącz, Head of the Promotion Team at the Kraków Technology Park