Only territories with the most credible, visible, forward-looking and promising political strategy for entrepreneurial development are granted the label European Entrepreneurial Region (EER)
. Twenty-one EU regions and cities have been awarded the EER label so far. Małopolska was one of the three EER winners of the year 2016.
The visit took place at the occasion of the 2017 edition of the Małopolska Innovation Festival
, which brings together representatives of the academic and business community in a series of events across the region, promoting smart specialisation, encouraging technology transfer and strengthening connections within the region's start-up and innovation ecosystem. While opening the festival, delegation member Jean François Istasse
(BE/PES) qualified Małopolska as one of Europe's emerging hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship and underlined the transfer potential of its start-up support actions: " The programme 'Małopolska – Where Technology becomes Business' is an inspiring success story that can show other Polish and EU regions how to effectively promote a start-up community
"Małopolska has shown a strong political commitment to the EER award and made pro-active use of the EER label through outstanding communication actions, while also engaging an exceptionally broad range of stakeholders. It is moving strongly into the areas of emerging technologies and ICT and is spending money received from EU programmes very wisely, ensuring the sustainability of its actions supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs ", reminded the chair of the EER delegation Paul Lindquist.
Examples of successful implementation include the xamples of successful implementation include the Business in Małopolska Centre (CEBiM)
as a one-stop-job for investors and exporters, as well as the Kraków Technology Park
, which provides support to start-ups in their incubation, growth and expansion phase, focusing on the film, digital entertainment, ICT and education sectors and hosting companies such as CD Projekt Red, Poland's only unicorn in the gaming industry. In addition, the region has focused on effective implementation of EU funds with the aim of improving the business environment and is participating in several
projects with other EER regions, including the INTERREG Europe Project STOB Regions
, which addresses the challenges of business transfer at regional level.
"European Entrepreneurial Region award for Małopolska in 2016 was a great recognition for us. It matters especially because we were awarded as the first region in Poland. It is an international and important sign for us that our strategy for building entrepreneurial Małopolska has passed its exam and an evidence for potential investors that we are a strong and reliable partner. The label – apart from its obvious prestige – has delivered many real economic profits to Małopolska", said Jacek Krupa, the Marshal of the Małopolska region.
In addition to representatives of the CoR, the European Commission and the social partners, the delegation also included delegates from EER 2017 regions Extremadura and Lower Austria, who provided peer assessment to Małopolska while also drawing inspiration from its good practices for the implementation of their own EER action plans. The evaluation visit thus also aimed at bringing new ideas back to Brussels and the broader EER community.