Poland Prize acceleration program organized by Polska Agencja Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości aims to encourage foreign startups to launch operations in our territory and incorporate them into the local ecosystem. The second edition of the program was held at the Space3ac accelerator in Gdańsk, where we had the pleasure of running an international workshop in cooperation with Blue Dot Solutions. The whole thing proved to be a very positive experience, the details of which we discuss below.
This year’s Poland Prize featured 10 startups from 8 countries, you can view the full list of participants along with their short descriptions here. Being a part of the event has provided us with interesting insights into how startups at various stages of development actually operate.
All the elements of the workshop were top-notch. The venue, vibe, environment, people and participating startups all oozed professionalism. The following is a coverage of some of the event’s facets which made the biggest impression on us. Read on!
The biggest advantage of our workshops is the fact we’re business practitioners first and foremost, while sharing the knowledge comes second. The solutions we’re able to put forward are proven, efficient, and fit the needs of a particular startup.
Once the workshop is over, every business walks out with a clear-cut plan of action for the upcoming future. Startups learn step by step how to reach set milestones by completing minor goals along the way, while staying within a defined timeframe. Breaking down the work into tasks helps you measure progress and adjust the pace of work.
Participating in the Poland Prize program has helped us better understand the ways in which startups think and allowed to strengthen business ties. Blue Dot Solutions was controlling the course of action on a current basis, and the participants seemed to be rather pleased, saying it was the best workshop they’ve been a part of. This makes us particularly proud, since the words came from individuals with over 15 years of business experience.
Poland Prize participants
Startups attending Poland Prize displayed a diverse level of sales development. Some already had major corporate clients, while other were only at the stage of going after them, although having some big projects in their domestic markets under the belt. Others yet considered Poland to be their first step in foreign expansion.
Some of the startups required analyzing and scaling their sales process, as well as adapting it to the Polish market, others needed to have it developed from scratch.
This diversity proved to affect the workshop in a very positive way, to be honest. During brainstorming, the more experienced startups shared ideas and experiences which facilitated the development of individual, quarterly plans of action.
Areas for improvement
Startups at the earlier stage of development had problems with the broader business model, launching sales, and client segmentation. They were often forgetting about their role in the entire sales chain as well. For instance, if they’re delivering a service to a trading company, it’s this company’s customers who actually drive the startup’s business. The value has to be provided at multiple levels.
The more tenured startups mostly had trouble with speeding up the sales process (including client acquisition) and implementing their solution, but also with expanding the target group. One of the common mistakes was thinking that their only recipients are a narrow, strictly defined group. Sebastian showed the workshop participants how to strategically transfer their solutions to related client segments and thus speed up the sales process.
Importantly, none of the startups used KPIs for assessing the client value, so sometimes long months passed before it was clear that the client isn’t worth all the effort.
The data below concerns all 10 startups participating in Poland Prize 2019.
- SaaS: 6
- Product + IT: 2
- Product: 2
- Advanced: 2
- Intermediate: 5
- None: 3
Problems (frequency per 10 startups):
- Client segmentation: 7
- Missing or faulty sales process: 7
- Value generated for the customer (measured in money): 4
- Control over the sales process and implementation: 3
- Time needed to acquire a customer (length of the sales process): 2
- Expanding the target group: 2
- Market fit (product launch): 2
- Understanding the target market: 2
- Scaling the business (management): 1
Olivia Business Centre is a fantastic spot for doing business. The area has excellent infrastructure, and the organizers, Blue Dot Solutions, were hospitable and caring. Pro tip: the office complex has a great canteen with affordable prices.
Considering the international character, the workshop was conducted entirely in English, which was a personal challenge Sebastian was happy to face.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to be a part of the second edition of the Poland Prize program. We’ll be more than happy to see you again.
Photos courtesy of Blue Dot Solutions and own.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Sulma & Sulma