10th Investment Forum (2017)
Tarnów, 24-25 April 2017
People – Technologies – Management
Financial Technologies (FinTech), new technologies in the energy industry and healthcare, new management systems in enterprises, as well as practical implementation of innovative solutions in business were all discussed during the 10th Investment Forum in Tarnów which took place between 24 and 25 April. The Forum was held under the theme: “People-Technologies-Management.”
400 participants from a number of European and Asian countries attended the conference – representatives of the business sector, politicians and scientists, startup founders, representatives of the largest consulting companies, IT sector and industrial conglomerates. Dozens of events took place as part of the 10th anniversary of the Forum – thematic blocks, discussion panels, lectures, presentations and reports.
As usual, the Investment Forum also became a place where startups founders were given the opportunity to present their innovative ideas in front of investors and major business representatives from Poland and other countries, gain resources for development of their project and find the investor to carry them out. During the 10th Investment Forum more than 70 startups presentations were held. Startups represented various branches, from FinTech and medical apps, through robotics up to storage systems. The chairman of the Economic Forum Program Council – the organizer of Forum in Tarnów – Zygmunt Berdychowski pointed out that this year’s event is record-breaking. „This year, in our startup competition compete 112 innovative companies, it is one hundred percent more in comparison to last year” – he told.
„The Investment Forum, that has concentrated on debating about innovation issues for two days, confirms the need for discussions about the innovativeness” – argued Roman Ciepiela, President of Tarnów – Forum’s host city.
"I am happy that it is already the 10th Investment Forum here, in Tarnów. I would like to see more and more small and medium-sized companies coming here to and start they journey. I wish them to become big companies in Europe and in the world too, " said during the Forum Paweł Szefernaker, Secretary of State at the Prime Minister’s Office. He pointed out our country’s potential in the area of innovation. "We have more and more startups, highly prized programmers, better and better laboratory facilities at universities, and dedicated development programs," he emphasized.
Adam Czyżewski, Chief Economist at PKN ORLEN, said that in order to gain an advantage in the fuel and energy industry, the company is increasingly investing in technology and has created a platform through which startups can submit their ideas. Creating such platforms can help startups in getting in touch with corporations.”
According to Wojciech Blewa, Director of Innovation and Development of Lotos Group, startups, from the very beginning, bring to the agenda the risk of failure. But the assessments of the state owned companies are based in first place on failures. So it is important that the cooperation of these two entities is well described already from the beginning.
Marek Zagórski, State Secretary at the Ministry of Digitalization, pointed out that FinTech is one of the key elements of responsible development. What needs to be pursued is the amendment of the innovation law and a reasonable regulatory policy, and this will be the biggest challenge.
Tim Patterson, President of Fuel Economy Solutions Ltd., talked about legal plans to protect innovative companies against big corporations in the UK. "The role of the state is not only supporting an innovative market economy but – above all – taking care of citizens who want to be prosperous and healthy as well. This is also an example of innovative thinking on a macro scale," he said.
The Investment Forum also discussed the General Data Protection Act (RODO). Maciej Kawecki, Advisor to the Minister in the Political Cabinet of the Ministry of Digitization, pointed out that the reform of personal data protection is the biggest legislative change that will be put in place this year. The major novelty introduced by RODO is financial penalties - up to 20 million euros for the entities violating the Act.
One of the examples of implementing innovative solutions is the electromobility industry. Paweł Śliwa, PGE’s Vice President for Innovation, pointed out that Poland’s power industry is prepared to charge electric cars. In his view, to stimulate electromobility, a whole system should be created, starting from parking spaces and bus lanes, to traffic in city centres.
During the Investment Forum, a new approach to the issue of energy was discussed. Grzegorz Wiśniewski, President of the Institute for Renewable Energy, said that renewable energy is revolutionary, that it creates new situations, new business models. In turn, Zygmunt Łopalewski, spokesman for Whirpool Corporation Polska, said that we are slowly reaching maximum capacity as far as constructing even more effective equipment is concerned.
Prof. Grzegorz Kołodko from the Leon Kozminski Academy, who used to be deputy prime minister of Poland back in 1990s, pointed out that innovations are based on knowledge. "To create something new, we must have primarily knowledge; creativity is also important, but the basis is to know the subject thoroughly," he mentioned. Stanisław Kowalski, Rector of the College of Economics and Computer Science in Cracow, said for his part that students will not learn innovation if lecturers do not change their approach to teaching.
The first day of the Investment Forum in Tarnow was concluded by The Investor of the Year and Investment of the Year Award Ceremony. The Investor of the Year Award went to Ardigen PLC whereas the Investment of the Year Award was granted to Work Service PLC.
During the second day of the conference the winners of the Startup Award 2017 Competition were announced. The 1st place – PLN 50,000 was received by SiDLY Care, the 2nd place – PLN 30,000 by PelviFly and the 3rd place – PLN 20, 000 by FeetSafety. The prize for Startup Award 2017 Competition was sponsored by PKN Orlen, and the City of Tarnów. ROBOT SHOW Build your Robot, a competition for young inventors, was won the submarine robot Wiatka whose constructors were awarded a prize of PLN 10,000 .