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New Cash for R&D
December 1, 2014   
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Poland’s National Center for Research and Development (NCBR) will allocate more than zl.45 million by 2015 to support the most innovative ideas in the Polish R&D sector under its new BRIdge Alfa initiative, together with StartUp Hub Poland, the Xplorer Fund and the Polish Institute for Research and Development.

The NCBR says it has signed its first contracts with partners under the BRIdge Alfa initiative.

The initiative targets private investors with experience in incubating innovative ideas. The aim is to increase the commercial use of solutions developed at state research centers.

Leszek Grabarczyk, deputy director of the NCBR, said, “The Polish economy has to become more innovative... That’s why, together with experienced business partners, we invest in projects that are the most innovative—and therefore the riskiest. We take the necessary risks, but the involvement of funds that possess the relevant know-how guarantees the effective use of funding.”
The contracts that the NCBR signs with its partners make it possible to launch the first investment vehicles, referred to as Alfas. The aim is to create a network of Alfas that will create an “ecosystem” to support the incubation of spin-off companies. Investment vehicles will select ideas with high commercial potential, with a view to bringing these onto the market.

What makes BRIdge Alfa innovative in terms of the Polish market is the fact that, in addition to providing services typical of the pre-incubation phase, the initiative’s budget makes it possible to test an idea and build a prototype without having to set up a company.

The Alfas have a total budget of over zl.45 million, which will make it possible to create around 30 innovative spin-offs and start-ups.

Parallel to the activities of the investment vehicles, the NCBR plans to hold a series of networking events. Such meetings will become platforms for discussion, enabling participants to exchange experience and best practices and to provide the NCBR with the know-how necessary to improve further projects.

StartUp Hub Poland is a not-for-profit foundation established in 2012 to create an international community of experts, inventors and pioneers of innovative business in Poland. The foundation creates conditions for talented engineers and businesspeople from Central and Eastern Europe to transform their ideas into well-organized companies competing for international markets. The main area of interest for SHP is clean-, nano-, agro- and bio-tech as well as new materials, robotics and computer applications used in various industries.

The Polish Institute for Research and Development finances interdisciplinary companies at early stages of development. It was established in 2014 to increase the number of research projects put to commercial use in Poland and to improve the quality of these. The institute aims to create products with high value added for customers using the most promising patents produced at Polish universities. The Polish Institute for Research and Development uses public and private funding at its disposal for targeted investment in innovative ideas and for bringing these to a stage where they will be ready for use on the market. The institute will invest in areas such as new materials, nanotechnology, biotechnology and medical equipment, space and satellite technology, clean energy and renewable energy sources, new agricultural and food production technology, modern information and communication technologies, and mobile solutions.

The Xplorer Fund was established by an international team of people with more than a decade of experience on the market for investment in technological projects at the earliest stages of development. The fund is especially interested in investing in technological projects with high commercial potential.

Each investment will be worth around zl.500,000. The fund is particularly interested in industries such as energy, modern materials, transportation and logistics, healthcare, the food industry and agriculture as well as ICT and the media.
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