European Entrepreneurial Region Award (ERP) is an initiative of the Committee of the Regions, supported by the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and other European institutions. Each year, three European regions are awarded an equivalent title.
In June 2019, for the tenth time in the European Parliament, the prestigious "European Entrepreneurial Region. Among the winners were Gdańsk and Pomerania, on behalf of which the award was received by the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, Mieczysław Struk, and the Deputy Mayor of the City of Gdańsk for investment, Alan Aleksandrowicz.
The idea behind the award is to select and reward the regions and cities of the European Union that have created a distinctive and forward-looking strategy for the development of entrepreneurship.
In this way, regions that focus on economic development, create credible plans and conditions for the activities of small and medium-sized enterprises are supported. The size and wealth of the region does not matter. What counts is a good and forward-looking strategy that takes into account different aspects.
„This award is the best proof that we have not wasted the last 30 years since the start of the transition and 15 years of membership of the European Union. Gdańsk, as the largest centre of socio-economic life in the region and its capital city, has a strong impact on the entire area of the voivodeship, influencing the undertaking of activities, including the development of entrepreneurship. Many years ago we set ourselves an ambitious goal - to focus and attract what is most valuable - entrepreneurial people, aware of our heritage, solidarity-based, open, creative, developing and jointly shaping the future, regardless of gender, age, origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Looking through the lens of time, we feel that we have achieved this goal" - said Alan Aleksandrowicz, Deputy Mayor of Gdańsk for investment, after receiving the award.
„We treat the extraordinary award, which is the European Entrepreneurial Region 2020, as an exceptional commitment. A commitment that goes far beyond the purely economic aspect of business support policy. A commitment that will focus on providing fair and inspiring conditions for the development of all without exception the inhabitants of Pomerania, including those who today are commonly referred to as migrants" - Marshal of Pomorskie Voivodeship Mieczysław Struk.
working-age population in the region,
including 283,7 thous. in Gdańsk
business entities in Gdańsk
and 296 630 in Pomerania
70 306 zł
GDP per capita in the Tri-City
and 46 913 PLN in the region
+ 5 071
people in the voivodship,
including +1 968 people in Gdańsk.
institutions of higher education in the region,
including 13 in Gdańsk
students in the region,
including 65,8 th. in Gdańsk
students from abroad in the region,
including 2 907 studying in Gdańsk
university graduates annually in the region,
including over 17 th. graduates of Gdańsk universities
unemployment rate at 2,6% in Gdansk
and 4,9% in the region
5 831 PLN
the level of average gross monthly salary in Gdańsk
and 4 917 PLN in the region
„Gdańsk's vision is a city which brings together the most valuable - people who are proud of heritage, solidary, open, creative, developing and shaping the future together …”
„Gdańsk's vision is a city which brings together the most valuable - people who are proud of heritage, solidary, open, creative, developing and shaping the future together …”
„Past and present in the City of Gdańsk is a sensitivity to solidarity, defense of freedom and human rights, as well as protection of peace …”
3 3rd place in Poland for the Lech Wałęsa airport in Gdańsk!
"The Development Strategy of the City of Gdańsk until 2030 and the Development Strategy of the Pomeranian Voivodeship 2020 were created based on the quadruple helix model, in cooperation with stakeholders from the area of administration, business, science and the non-governmental sector."
Pomeranian Enterpreneurship Council - consultancy and advisory body unique on a national scale, in which important discussions and consultations regarding the economic and social development of the Gdańsk metropolitan area and the entire region are undertaken
The pandemic outbreak has necessitated a reformulation of the priorities for action in the area of entrepreneurship in education. The pandemic has exposed gaps in the national education system in supporting the development of entrepreneurial attitudes and competencies related to coping with crises. Support for the work of teachers during school entrepreneurship, career counselling and weekly class meetings in schools of all levels was launched, which allowed the development of human adaptation skills in a crisis-affected environment. It was necessary to build a network of leaders of change and to implement actions supporting competencies strengthening entrepreneurial attitudes, personal development and helping young people to enter the dynamically changing labour market.
Starter Pack is a set of materials aimed at developing a wide range of competencies that are based on contemporary business models, e.g., Business Model Canvas, Design Thinking; they bring students closer to practical entrepreneurship by responding to real project challenges, support the implementation of career counselling activities: personal analysis of strengths, introspection, the actual use of the competences practised, they teach budget management. The first part of the package, Competencies of the Future, and the second, Economic Education, are tools to work on shaping and strengthening entrepreneurial attitudes and are material for group or individual work in entrepreneurship education. In 2020, the final – third – part of the package was implemented, i.e. Jobs of the Future, which complements the first two parts with specific practical skills and focuses on students entering or preparing to enter the labour market. This enables students to plan their career and educational/professional development strategies, guides the integration of business and education, and allows them to test their abilities and ideas in a safe environment.
2020 is also the year of the finals of the unique nationwide Gdańsk and Pomeranian project – Entrepreneurship Lessons – a practical way of teaching and working on a specific idea that can become a business product. The activities performed as part of the project, and the ceremonial finals in the form of presentations of business ideas by young people in the formula of 5-minute pitching took place online.
NOW – Next Generation Vocational Challenges – a new project launched in 2020 that has supported building relationships between schools and businesses and sharing experiences between the two communities. This was possible due to multifaceted activities bringing together entrepreneurs, representatives of the educational community (teachers, headmasters, career counsellors, pedagogues, class teachers) and young people from secondary schools. The project involved expert think tank meetings, online workshops for teachers, webinars for teachers, workshops for young people on personal branding, workshops for students with HR staff in schools/online including mock interviews for students and mentoring meetings for students.
Teachers are an important link between entrepreneurs and students, so it is important to provide them with the knowledge and experience that entrepreneurs have so that they can pass it on to a wider group of young people. On the other hand, teachers as experts in youth education advised entrepreneurs in the preparation of activities aimed at students, and the involvement of entrepreneurs in workshop meetings with young people provided real support for the teachers in the implementation of practical sessions with business. In addition, the Pomeranian Province, through its co-operation with the Inspiring Examples Foundation, which organises numerous meetings between students and entrepreneurs, has
promoted entrepreneurial attitudes, providing a bridge between schools and companies and showing young people what entrepreneurship and the labour market are about. In the first quarter of 2020, almost 300 students from 10 schools participated in the programme. Students visited 20 companies and took part in 10 educational activities. Unfortunately, the pandemic made it impossible to continue activities in the second part of the year.
In 2020, a series of online meetings were organised, aimed at the teaching community and headteachers – Edu Generator – competencies for the future. The meetings aimed to help people find themselves in a new situation, cope with change, and look forward to the changes to come. Drawing on practical solutions from business and transferring them to the educational environment, the participants had the opportunity to meet business practitioners and use the acquired knowledge during classes with students. The topics of the meetings were the competencies of the future in the labour market and education; complex problem solving – acting in crisis; critical thinking; creativity; team management; communication and co-operation. The project’s main objective was to help teachers develop students’ key competencies to a level that equips them for adult life and provides a basis for further learning and working life. After each meeting, project participants completed a survey in which they evaluated their level of satisfaction with participation in the meetings. Positive survey results indicated the need for further implementation of support to the educational community in the form of training and webinars.
The BeZee international conference rounded off the difficult year for entrepreneurship education. The conference was another element of building an entrepreneurial education ecosystem and raising the competencies of people involved in entrepreneurship education, business and new solutions in entrepreneurship teaching. The conference’s main theme was changes in the school, social and business environment, and recommendations for the future regarding the direction of entrepreneurial attitudes among children and young people. The main topics were:
• new educational challenges;
• technology and education;
• education and business – opportunities and challenges.
Participants benefited from a series of online lectures, workshops for teachers, and a virtual fair space where companies and start-ups creating modern educational solutions presented themselves during the three-day event. A vital element of the conference was the opportunity for the school community to meet with business and with experts who work out of the box, forging new educational paths. The conference allowed the development of business involvement in formal and non-formal education, supporting those working in education in the broadest sense and comprehensively preparing young people to take their first steps in professional life.
In order to enable young people to gain their first work experience facilitating their job search, two internship projects were organised in co-operation with entrepreneurs:
The above activities were complemented by initiatives undertaken by the Talent Development Centre of the Gdańsk Job Centre, which carried out tasks in the field of lifelong learning, learning about working environments, specifics of particular professions and building awareness about professions in demand and trends on the labour market. As a result, young people who participated in the projects dedicated to them developed entrepreneurial attitudes, improved soft skills and teamwork skills in the following activities:
The Talent Development Centre conducted 114 workshops for young people in 2020, with 2015 participants. In addition, 1512 young people received individual counselling to support their educational and vocational choices.
The Provincial Job Centre in Gdańsk coordinating the activities of the Pomeranian Vocational Counselling System (Pomorski System Poradnictwa Zawodowego, PSPZ), which operates on the basis of established partnership, i.e. network of co-operation of vocational counsellors and institutions providing vocational counselling services in the region, aiming at undertaking common activities by combining their knowledge and experience, in 2020 launched:
The pandemic has significantly affected the financial liquidity of companies; entrepreneurs have become more vigilant in looking for savings, most have seen declines in sales, and ongoing costs have not been reduced. During the first wave of the pandemic, it was noticeable that there were an increased number of enquiries about the possibility of shortening the lease of occupied space by entrepreneurs, as well as difficulties in making regular payments. The decline in occupancy continued until August 2020. However, from September 2020, a renewed interest in office spaces has been observed. In such a difficult time, it was very important from a business point of view to have an individual approach to the customer and to be able to negotiate the terms of contracts.
The pandemic outbreak has also influenced the need to review the planned launch of activities aimed at start-ups/entrepreneurs and those planning to set up their own business. The changing reality has changed the needs and expectations of entrepreneurs. This necessitated the suspension of some projects that were not responding to market signals, e.g. the Clipster project. In addition, due to further constraints and epidemiological restrictions introduced, some projects required changes in the format, e.g. post-acceleration activities carried out as part of the Poland Prize or a series of information seminars for SMEs carried out as part of the Pomeranian Export Broker were conducted exclusively online.
The opening of the Reduta Office complex located in the Dolne Miasto district of Gdańsk, which offered over 1,000 sqm of usable space, is scheduled for March 2020. Admittedly, the first months of lockdown and the postponement of the commercialisation date, resulted in a decrease in the occupancy of the space offered so far, but subsequent months indicated an increase in interest in the offer of small office spaces.
The effects of COVID on the global labour market, affected women much more than men: women were more likely to lose their jobs and have their remuneration reduced. For this reason, it was decided to dedicate the entire 2020 edition of the Starter for Mums project, carried out in an online format, to the topic of running own business, which 167 participants attended. The Starter for Mums project is a series of free-of-charge meetings, implemented since 2016, for entrepreneurial mums who want to achieve their professional ambitions by setting up their own business, re-branding or successfully re-entering the labour market. The project strengthens the competencies of young mothers who wish to return to the labour market after maternity leave.
Nowadays, young people have considerable difficulties in acquiring practical knowledge on how to run their own business. During the pandemic, people started to come forward seeking systemic support and knowledge in this area. In order to meet their needs, an intensive pre-acceleration programme, Techseed.me, was implemented in 2020, offering a comprehensive package of all-around support for people thinking of starting their own business. The project aimed to provide them with the tools and knowledge to build strong and profitable businesses. Thirty participants of the project took part in training and group workshops, during which they learned the basics of business knowledge, and within the Startup Bootcamp (a period during which they worked in their teams on a business presentation, canvas model and business development plan) individual meetings with experts were held. The Demo Day was held at the end.
Over 30 Gdansk entrepreneurs were approached in 2020 for help in re-modelling and strengthening their businesses. The main areas requiring support that entrepreneurs indicated were: Internet law, e-commerce and strengthening the image and building credibility of the company online.
Responding to an emerging need, the Startup Inspire project was implemented, dedicated to entrepreneurs and start-ups already operating in the market. Its activities aimed at implementing targeted methods of supporting local entrepreneurs, creating space for the exchange of experience, and establishing business relations with experienced entrepreneurs. The activities included expert sessions, online seminars, free workshops and individual online consultations by those participating in the workshop series. In addition, interviews were conducted with local entrepreneurs. The project also included creating interactive educational materials in the form of infographics containing the most important information for entrepreneurs in key areas such as: Internet law, e-commerce and, strengthening the image and building the credibility of the company online. The project involved 131 entrepreneurs.
Within the framework of intersectoral co-operation for the development of social entrepreneurship, co-operation was undertaken between the Social Economy Support Centre (OWES) – Dobra Robota, the City of Gdańsk and the Gdańsk Entrepreneurship Foundation. The co-operation aimed to increase the effectiveness of OWES support services, thanks to the pro-entrepreneurial potential of the Starter Incubator. An action plan was created considering the diagnostic phase – analysis of the complementarity of services and the needs of both sectors – social and business. The plan will be implemented in 2021, and the activities are to lead to the construction of a model of social economy support in Gdańsk, as well as to the creation of a range of activities where the social economy can be supported, such as a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) platform. In 2020, 33 social enterprises were registered in Gdańsk (including 6 new ones) within the support of OWES Dobra Robota. Three NGOs that decided to economise also entered into co-operation with OWES. Within OWES, the entities obtained, among others, formal and legal support (creation of articles of association, registration), elaborated business plan assumptions, as well as worked on creating their own brand and building diverse customer segments.
INNACZEJ Social Innovation Fund was launched, providing comprehensive support to Gdańsk residents and organisations seeking solutions to social challenges. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund was transferred to the digital space. In partnership with the UP Foundation – Development Initiation Foundation, a social innovation design marathon was held with the quality of social relationships as the main theme. The first stage was the recruitment of project teams, and 28 teams submitted their applications. As a result, 10 teams qualified for the 24h marathon, resulting in 3 teams receiving financial support.
During the 6-day-long, largest technology conference in Central and Eastern Europe – InfoShare, organised in 2020 online format, was attended by nearly 200 leading speakers from Poland and abroad, investors from Silicon Valley, leading European VC funds, as well as over 250 technology start-ups and the largest global corporations. As every year, a fixed element of the conference was the Infoshare Start-up Contest. This edition received 677 applications from 50 countries, including over 200 projects from Poland. The finalists competed for 30 thousand euro in prizes funded by the Mayor of Gdańsk. In addition, a virtual stand was organised for webinars, where during one of the panels, extensive information about the EER2020 Award for Gdańsk and Pomerania and the activities organised under its auspices was presented.
Granting funds to start a business – non-repayable subsidies for own business in 2020 was one of the most preferred options for financial support of the unemployed. The Gdańsk Job Centre offered the initiative to 344 entrepreneurial people, who had the opportunity to allocate PLN 20,000 for the expenses necessary to start a business.
Support for employers in creating new jobs - employers planning to employ new staff could apply for PLN 20,000 to refund the costs of equipping or retrofitting a workplace for an unemployed person. Fifty-one unemployed persons were assigned to the created jobs.
Support for employers in terms of subsidising employment – a partial refund of costs incurred for remunerations, awards and social insurance contributions for the employed unemployed-is one form of creating new jobs. In 2020, subsidised employment was provided through the organisation of intervention works for 47 unemployed people and public works for 9 people.
Support for foreign investors through Invest in Pomerania, a nationally unique initiative to support foreign investors in implementing investment projects in Pomerania, including in Gdańsk. In 2020, investors declared to create 1443 new jobs (a total of 17,176 jobs within Invest in Pomerania). One hundred twelve new investment projects were processed. Traditionally, companies from the UK, USA, Scandinavia and China have cooperated, and Belarusian companies showed great interest.
Further works were undertaken on Live more. Pomerania project, which aims to promote an initiative that shows the Pomerania Province and the city of Gdańsk as caring for the future labour market and the supply of talent from other regions and abroad https://livemorepomerania.com/. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, physical participation of Invest in Pomerania representatives in conferences, fairs, seminars was severely limited, while online activity was maintained (49 online events).
In 2020, in the field of professionalisation of enterprises, the competition for the operator of the Pomeranian system of providing specialised consulting services for SMEs –SPEKTRUM – was settled. The project consists of co-financing grants for advisory services for SMEs and creating a database of Business Environment Institutions and other activities supporting the system of advisory services. One element of the system is grants for advisory services to offset the impact of a pandemic. Five hundred ninety-two pre-surveys and 155 pre-audits (in-depth studies of counselling needs) were carried out. As a result, 2014 consulting firms (including one from outside the European Union) were accredited to the IOB database, 132 projects were selected for funding, and 92 grant agreements for specialised consulting services were signed.
For years, the Pomeranian Province has consistently created a system of repayable support for SMEs, and financing is provided in the form of loans (e.g., loans for employment, micro-loans), guarantees and capital entries.
Despite unfavourable conditions resulting from the prevailing pandemic, a number of events aimed at the development of innovative undertakings in the areas of Smart Specialisation of Pomerania were organised in 2020, including workshops and panels (including debates) during industry events (e.g. co-organisation of the international infoShare conference, Interizon Day, Biotech Daily), meetings dedicated to the development of ISP 4 – AL Forum, ISP 2 – Women in Tech Summit, and as part of space and satellite education a meeting with the Polish Space Agency (POLSA) was organised. A series of three international seminars organised by JRC Sevilla entitled Assessment of Smart Specialisation Strategies implementation and impact on optimising the Smart Specialisation of Pomerania management were also attended. Together with Copernicus Podmiot Leczniczy Sp. z o.o. and the Interizon Foundation, the inDemand project (co-operation of healthcare entities and IT companies to create digital health solutions dedicated to their needs) was continued. As part of the information and promotional activities concerning the Smart Specialisation of Pomerania, among other things, a folder entitled Sea of new technologies Pomerania 2020 was prepared, which is a start-up guide for the Pomeranian business ecosystem and a compendium of knowledge about the business environment for every innovator.
In the framework of the Smart Progress project, which aims to develop areas of Smart Specialisation of Pomerania, the following actions were undertaken:
Gdansk and Pomerania are actively involved in activities to internationalise Pomeranian entrepreneurs:
An important element of activities related to attracting, retaining and developing talents is building an efficient ecosystem that enables the creation and development of Pomeranian enterprises. This consists of both pro-investment projects and support for the internationalisation of companies and providing comprehensive support for future personnel for the economy. Aiming at the continuous development of Gdańsk and Pomerania, the Study in Pomerania project, a voluntary agreement between local government and academic institutions, was established in 2017. Its aim is to support activities aimed at internationalising Pomeranian universities and improving their competitiveness in the international arena.
The parties to the agreement and supporting partners are:
Key activities under the agreement include:
The world is undergoing a new kind of socio-economic crisis, including a health cris is linked to the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus. Its consequences for the global and regional economy are considerable. The crisis is likely to trigger a number of structural changes that will affect the operating conditions of many industries. Changes in leisure or tourism patterns and a reduction in consumption, among other things, are to be expected. Remote working and remote customer service channels (e-commerce) have increased in importance. The economic crisis related to the coronavirus pandemic has also triggered the need for companies to change their business models, which are moving towards the re-modelling of supply chains – both regional and global, diversification of operations, digitalisation or changes in the work system. Therefore, the City of Gdańsk and Pomerania have made a number of efforts to support local business and entrepreneurs in the fight against COVID-19.
The Gdańsk Support Package for Entrepreneurs is a comprehensive system of aid tools that the City of Gdańsk has prepared with a view to helping those in need who have been affected by the effects of the epidemic. The relevant departments and units of the City Council are responsible for the implementation of the individual elements of the package. As part of the package, the following has been proposed, among others:
Free online advice for entrepreneurs – launched by Gdańsk and Gdańsk Entrepreneurship Foundation – including free individual online advice sessions for entrepreneurs facing the consequences of the pandemic – https://biznes.inkubatorstarter.pl/
Information service for entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurial Gdańsk https://przedsiebiorczygdansk.pl/ is a portal run by the Gdańsk City Council, which currently includes mainly the most important announcements for entrepreneurs, e.g. about the possibility to support companies struggling with the effects of the epidemic and events organised online.
Gdańsk – City of Entrepreneurs, a competition in which the City of Gdańsk recognises its residents in various categories of entrepreneurship, both among companies and young, creative students, their teachers, as well as seniors. Due to the prevailing pandemic and difficult circumstances, for 2000, all those who have taken entrepreneurial initiatives to fight the pandemic will be rewarded in all categories.
Crisis management centre of Pomeranian entrepreneurs, established by 12 employer organisations from the Pomeranian Province, working together with trade unions from the Pomeranian Province. The crisis management centre takes urgent action to support and protect businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus. As part of the activities, video conferences are organised, common positions and appeals are elaborated, e.g. to the government, and actions are taken for the benefit of the whole SME environment. The crisis management centre includes, among others: Pomeranian Employers, Pomeranian Chamber of Handicrafts For Small and Medium Enterprises, Pomeranian Regional Chamber of Commerce, Gdańsk Lodge of Business Centre Club, representatives of Gdańsk.
Crisis Information Centre, organised by the Pomeranian Regional Chamber of Commerce, which includes meetings and online broadcasts among experts on the problems of entrepreneurs from various sectors in connection with the current situation, e.g: “How to run a hotel during a pandemic”, “Litigation during a pandemic”.
Pomerania Development Agency – in response to the needs of Pomeranian companies affected by the difficult situation related to the pandemic, Local European Funds Information Points in Gdańsk and Słupsk, run by the Agency, extended the scope of assistance offered and also inform about possible national support for entrepreneurs. Consultants help to find and match funding, inform about the offer of European and national aid instruments, and about changes in legislation.
#BIZNESPOMAGA https://www.pracodawcy-pomorza.pl/– COVID-19 assistance website for entrepreneurs, prepared by the local employers’ organisation – Pomeranian Employers. The website is a support tool, bringing together the most important current information and specialised studies aimed at entrepreneurs in crisis.
Liquidity loan, financed from the funds of the Pomeranian Province’s Local Government (PLN 30 million) – for support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, which conduct their business activity in the Pomeranian Province and have their registered office or permanent place of business within its area. The loan may be used to finance expenses necessary to maintain the borrower’s business activities, ensure liquidity due to the deteriorating situation of the borrower caused by the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.
Launch of a dedicated website for Pomeranian companies affected by COVID www.pomocdlafirm.pomorskie.eu, a comprehensive information platform containing knowledge about the currently offered support local and governmental level. The website provides information on support for companies offered by the Provincial Job Centre in the form of subsidies to employee remuneration in the period of economic downtime or reduced working hours in the situation of a decline in financial turnover. The website is also a place where information can be obtained on how to make use of the support offered by the Pomeranian Loan Fund and the Pomeranian Regional Credit Guarantee Fund. In response to the needs reported by Pomeranian businesses, a special Notice board has also been launched on Facebook: Pomoc dla firm !Pomorskie https://www.facebook.com/groups/1116442035388176/. The notice board is dedicated to entrepreneurs offering specific products, e.g. with a short shelf life, and those looking for specific products or co-operation in launching a specific production.
Intelligent Pomerania website
In the face of a pandemic, there are many developmental impulses, particularly in the development of new technologies that can assist the health sector. These include telemedicine, automation and artificial intelligence. ICT companies have been the least affected by COVID due to the heavy reliance on remote operations. The further development of the region must gather the potential of these companies, among other things, by creating efficient communication channels that will allow pilot implementations in the most needed areas reported by hospitals, for example. Creating a common virtual platform for the four Smart Specialisations of Pomerania will enable rapid response to needs arising in the current situation. It will be a place to connect companies and quickly exchange information on stakeholder needs. The website is also intended to have an informative function, e.g. information about Smart Specialisations of Pomerania, a shared calendar of events, factual information, and to be a platform. The website is to be managed by the Pomeranian Regional Chamber of Commerce (Smart Specialisations of Pomerania Leader in Energy and Health) in co-operation with the INTERIZON cluster (Smart Specialisations of Pomerania Leader in ICT) and the Starter Incubator (Smart Specialisations of Pomerania Leader in Maritime).