Polish accession to the EU and the opening of foreign markets has changed the conditions under which companies previously operated. It resulted in an abundance of private enterprises and an influx of foreign investments. It also gave innovative businesses the tools needed for development.
Within the periods of 2004–2006 and 2007–2013 European funds have opened new possibilities for pro-development ventures. In 2007–2013 entrepreneurs, business environment institutions, research and development units and public administration bodies will receive more than EUR 9.71 billion as part of the Operational Program – Innovative Economy, financed from European funds, for projects that have been contributing to the improvement of innovativeness of the Polish enterprises and the economy.
Thanks to systemic changes and the many bottom-up initiatives, the number of innovation centers and enterprises has been growing steadily from only 195 in 1995 to 735 by mid-2010. Many of them are entrepreneurship centers: training and advisory centers, business centers, consulting centers and entrepreneurship incubators.
Simultaneously, specialized institutions for innovative business support have been filling the Polish market. Supportive, quasi-banking financial institutions like seed capital funds, business angel networks, regional and local loan funds are becoming increasingly common. Institutions enabling the introduction of novel products and services, like technology parks, technology incubators, pre-incubators, academic entrepreneurship incubators and technology transfer centers, have been undergoing intensive development.
In these crucial spaces, innovative R&D meets with the potential and expectations of business organizations and funders. It is here where small and nascent enterprises, hungry for success, get a chance to succeed and where everyone interested in innovative entrepreneurship can cooperate and flourish. All these possibilities are presented in subsequent chapters, which describe the main innovation centers in Poland: technology parks, technology incubators and technology transfer centers – 60 companies and institutions in all. T
Technology transfer centers