Technologist: What makes Poland different?
Daria Taraj: Poland is the only EU country that didn’t suffer through a recession after the financial crisis of 2008. Over the past decade the country has created more than 1.3 million new jobs for engineers. Almost half a million young people graduate every year, and the talent pipeline is strong: PISA results show that we have the fourth best educational system in Europe.
T. What are the most dynamic business sectors?
D. T. Poland has become a regional hub for industry sectors such as shared services, biotech and ICT. Big international companies like Procter & Gamble, IBM and Infosys have located their operations here. Polish firms like Solaris, Pesa, Assecco, Fakro and INGLOT have become global brands.
T. What about the start-up scene?
D. T. One driver behind Polandʼs recent development is creativity. Cities like Warsaw and Cracow attract more and more attention from international investors who come to Poland to source deals, learn about technology trends and customers’ expectations.
T. What can be improved to attract more investors?
D. T. There is still too wide a gap between academia and business. For a long time, universities were not interested in promoting technology transfer. Also, investment in R&D amounts to only 0.9 % of GDP, while the European Commission recommends 3%. But we’ve started to see a change with government reforms of higher education. For example, Warsaw University has partnered with Google to launch a digital economy lab, which is a new way of integrating research, education and innovation to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
T. What are the success stories?
D. T. There are dozens of them. I can think of Ivona Software, which was acquired by Amazon in 2013. Their Bright Voice software is considered the most lifelike text-to-speech technology in the world. Brainly.com, which recently raised $9 million from Silicon Valley investors, provides mobile solutions to clients in 35 markets. The recent economic history shows that Poland must be doing something right.