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Gdansk Business Incubator STARTER announces that it will be participating in the Startup Exchange Program this year. This program offers accepted startups the opportunity to develop their business at an incuator or accelerator in a major European city. In addition to Poland, there are programs in Austria, Germany, Portugal, Italy, and Spain.
The entire process of receiving applications and selecting qualified teams is handled by the Startup Exchange Program itself. Once approved, the teams are then sent to work in their given city for 4-6 weeks. According to the Program’s site, the goal is to provide 20 scalable companies with an opportunity to expand into a new market. Only teams with a working prototype, an established team of at least 4 people, and the potential to scale internationally are accepted. The application period for this program does not end until March 9th, so there is still time for interested startups to apply.
As for the incubator itself, STARTER was a program begun in 2005 by the city of Gdansk, but has existed in its present form since December 2011. Although backed by the city, the program is managed by the Gdansk Entrepreneurship Foundation. I spoke with the manager of the incubator, Agnieszka Meller and she told me that they are currently in the process of raising funds so that STARTER can transition from being an incubator to becoming an accelerator and that they expect to complete the transition by the end of the year. According to Meller, the role of the Gdansk Entrepreneurship Foundation thus far has been to plan the direction of the program and to recruit startups to join, but now Meller says that they are exploring new concepts and ideas. Until this point, they’ve provided a workspace, organized events, and provided mentoring, but now they’re hoping to become a full accelerator and actually build a local startup community, as opposed to merely hosting one.
Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about Lookmash, a fashion-polling service which incubated at STARTER and is also backed by the Polish SpeedUP Group. Other success stories from this program include Solwit, Denise Systems, and Skanuj.to.
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