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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is where you’ll find answers to all your questions about the Poland Prize II powered by Huge Thing. If there is anything else you would like to know, please email us: hello@hugething.vc

Do we have to stay in Poland during the program?

To a large extent, we run the Acceleration Program online. Hence, presence in Poland is not necessary, however it can be helpful while working on the project developed by you, in particular, for working closely with Technology Recipients during the Acceleration phase. These startups are going to complete the Acceleration phase with validation, e.g. you will verify whether their product or service (or its essential elements) can be implemented by the Recipient of the Technology.

 

We have designed the Acceleration Program in such a way that as many activities as possible take place online, including formalities. We recommend you to have electronic qualified signatures (in line with eIDAS) issued by a trusted certifying entity. Certum, KIR (Szafir), PWPW and others issue such software. According to Polish law, documentation signed using an electronic qualified signature is valid. It makes it easier to confirm the identity of the person participating in business activities. We recommend signing the acceleration agreement and its annexes using qualified electronic signatures.

Technology Recipient - who is that? What should the cooperation look like?

Business partners are crucial stakeholders of the Poland Prize program. They are often corporations, investment funds, entrepreneurs operating on a large scale, both in Poland and abroad. Here you can find a short description of these entities and their areas of interest.
You should establish a relationship with at least one business partner during the Development phase. If you gain their interest, specify with them how you can develop your solution according to their needs, the partner may give you the opportunity to validate it during the Acceleration phase and receive an additional grant.
In case of meeting the needs of the Technology Recipient (OT), as the entity it is able to implement your solution. An investor, on the other hand, is an entity that expresses interest in investing in you, if you meet certain business conditions. If you gain Business partner interest, you will work closely with at least one person dedicated to them. Together with the Huge Thing team, mentors and experts, they will support you to accelerate as much as possible. During the Poland Prize, you set goals (milestones) in consultation with Huge Thing (and during the Acceleration phase also in consultation with the business partner). We assume you will define one milestone during the Development phase and three milestones during the Acceleration phase. During the Acceleration phase, the business partner will verify if you have achieved the milestones. All milestones are also verified by Huge Thing.

How many people can be in the team?

We do not limit the number of people that can form a startup team. However, it must be at least 1 person without Polish citizenship. It is the foreign persons who must have the dominant influence in the company. So, who can open a company? It can be the team of non-Poles only or a mixed team of Poles and non-Poles. As you probably know, acceleration is quite a challenge, hence we encourage to build a team of no more than a few people. You will be able to quickly start developing the project and setting up the company in Poland will be more frictionless.

What does it mean that founders or the company cannot be linked to Poland?

The Poland Prize was created with foreign startups in mind. We want to create top conditions for starting a business in Poland. A person without Polish citizenship is considered a foreigner. Thus, a person who has Polish citizenship as well as the citizenship of another country is not treated as a foreigner for the Poland Prize program purposes. Non-Poles may start a company with Polish citizens in the founding team, but they must have at least half of the shares in the company that signs the acceleration agreement, and at least one foreigner must be in its governing body.

What kind of support can we count on during Development?

During Acceleration you can participate in workshops, 1:1 meetings with experts, mentors and tutors. We want to provide you with knowledge in a number of fields. How does it work? You will usually participate in the same events as other startups, but some types of advisory support will be intended for startups cooperating with Technology Recipients, and others for startups cooperating with Investors. We will also prepare some industry- or area-specific events for your team. We have planned classes i.e.: Pricing, Sales (B2B, B2B), Team Management, Mindfulness, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Human Resources, Marketing, Public Relations, Sales Campaigns as well as technological areas useful for your project. Additionally, you can ask for support in areas such as settling in, starting a business in Poland, employment or translations.

What can we spend the grant on - what amount and at what stage?

When you sign an acceleration agreement, you take part in the first stage of the Acceleration Program: Soft-landing and Development phase. During Soft-landing and Development, we offer you a grant up to PLN 50,000. Part of these funds may be spent on remuneration of team members, “concierge” services (a person supporting a startup in starting a business in Poland), consulting services (such as mentoring and expert services) and other expenses related to its startup (e.g. financing the technological development of your venture, marketing costs). Concierge services are provided only during Soft-landing.
If Soft-landing is completed successfully, Business Partners is willing to work with you, and you stand out from other startups participating in the Acceleration Program – we will invite you to the second stage – the Acceleration phase. During Acceleration, you receive a grant of up to PLN 250,000 to further develop the project. The goal is to validate the solution with the Technology Recipient or reach KPIs agreed on with the Investor. After the Acceleration phase is over, you do not receive any further financing, however you might enter the post-acceleration and receive other forms of support (including networking) to further develop in Poland.

Who is the organizer?

Hi! It’s us – Huge Thing – the operator of the “Poland Prize Program powered by Huge Thing” project. We are one of the oldest Polish accelerators – soon it’s going to be our 10th anniversary. The first edition of the Poland Prize program (2021-2023) constitutes our tenth acceleration batch! We’ve been through a lot with startups: accelerating, facilitating their cooperation with all kinds of corporations – global ICT companies, multi-sector corporations or banks, sharing know-how on developing their idea in Poland and abroad.

 

We lead the Acceleration Program on behalf of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP). PARP is a government agency operating since 2000, which stimulates business development in Poland, focusing, inter alia, on supporting startups and other micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. For this reason, the grant received by a startup is a public aid (also known as de minimis)

What do we need to pay?

Participation in the Acceleration Program is voluntary and free on any stage. You don’t pay any fee during enrollment either. You should have a “financial cushion” – only in some exceptions we are able to transfer the grant before you achieve individual milestones. Using the grant you can pay for the costs of consulting services (mentoring or expert) that you decide might be useful for you. You can use the grant to cover costs earlier described in the budget for both stages: Soft-landing and Development) as well as Acceleration. You may not include VAT in your budget – you can apply for tax return by submitting an appropriate application to the tax office – as well as other expenses not related to the acceleration

When does the Program take place and how long does it last?

We will make the final decision about the participants of the Acceleration Program in the second half of October. The Soft-landing phase will take place in November, and the Development starts in December. We plan for it to finish by the end of January. Then, we will invite top startups for the Acceleration. All three milestones should be reached within 6 months in total.

Is there any to-do list before the program?

Only a Polish capital company, i.e. a limited liability company, simple joint-stock company or joint-stock company, can receive a grant. It means you must establish a Polish capital company to sign an acceleration agreement. A “concierge” can support you in this process as well as experienced law firms. When establishing the company, remember to assign at least 50% of the shares or stocks to people without Polish citizenship and to include at least one person on the company’s management board without Polish citizenship. The company must be able (e.g. in the field of intellectual property) to develop the startup’s venture.

Is the Partner or a startup required to work together at the end of the Program?

We have created the programme with long-term development of your startup in mind – if you successfully complete this Program. To achieve that, at the very early stage of the program a startup, a Partner and Huge Thing defines goals to be achieved during the Acceleration. Even if you fail to achieve these goals, it does not jeopardize your chances of commercial cooperation with the Recipient of the Technology or investment from the Investor. Successful Acceleration, however, makes it much easier and gives you know-how on how the solution fits the market needs – to do so we work with business partners who are determined to support you in focusing on product development. It is worth keeping in mind that during the Acceleration you should develop your project to answer the needs of the Technology Recipient or achieve goals in line with the Investor’s ticket. For a number of reasons both the commercial pilot or the investment may not be possible.
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