One of such initiatives is PwC Startup Collider – a scaling program for startups that want to grow their innovative business in Central and Eastern Europe. Apply to the program only until December 20th, 2018 at startupcollider.pwc.com.
Why should you apply to PwC Startup Collider? What are the benefits for participating startups? Magdalena Kwoska, Startup Collider Leader and Project Manager at PwC Poland, tells all there is to be said about PwC’s scale-up program in the CEE – Startup Collider. Being one of the people who co-created the program and who from the very beginning accompanied participating startups, she had the chance to meet almost 500 startups from all continents over two successful editions, and then helped the selected 25 companies conquer new markets, develop products and gain new customers, sometimes in unexpected industries.
M. Kwoska: The main objective of the PwC Startup Collider program is to support and promote startups, primarily from Europe, but also from other parts of the world, on the markets of Central and Eastern Europe. In our work, we focus on joint scaling of their business in markets where we are present and where have a vast portfolio of clients. They represent an entire array of industries, but what they have in common is the demand for innovative solutions that they could implement in their own organization or introduce to their offer. Our task as mentors and experts is to develop a joint offer with a startup, and then present it together to PwC clients. Therefore, the participants of our Startup Collider program have a unique opportunity to establish cooperation not only with PwC, but also with companies from many different countries of Central and Eastern Europe. One of the biggest challenges that startups face daily is to reach foreign markets with their offer. At Startup Collider, we make this international expansion easier and smoother. We know that for our young partners, it is often difficult or even impossible to do, but we work hand-in-hand to overcome this obstacle. And I think that this is the greatest value of our program.
We refuse to rest on our laurels and therefore, every year, our formula is slightly different. Our program evolves to better respond to the changing market needs. The upcoming 3rd edition will be different from the previous ones, and we will draw on our experience from previous cooperation with startups. At the end of February next year, we will announce which startups have qualified for the program. Then, from March to August 2019, the scaling period will take place. Our work with the participating startups will be organized flexibly, and we will either meet with them personally or via videoconferences. During those meetings, PwC’s mentors and experts will advise young entrepreneurs on how to reach a higher level of entrepreneurship. Their problem lies not in a lack of vision – they have it in abundance. But business experience, the ability to analyze the market or define potential recipients or knowledge of tax and legal realities in other countries? Not so much. We, on the other hand, thanks to our presence on the global market, can help them fill these gaps quickly. And we never limit ourselves in terms of help and assistance we give them, so if the participants of the program have questions of strategic nature or concerning pricing, we will do everything we can to make their business grow. To make sure our startups are successful, a dedicated mentor from PwC, who specializes in the industry and the area of innovation in which the startup operates, will always be merely a click away from them.
The benefits are countless. What we do day in day out for the young entrepreneurs participating in Startup Collider, is pass on our know-how, help them cross barriers between industries and facilitate networking. But doesn’t stop here. At PwC, we strongly believe that innovation implemented both internally and offered by companies to their clients and business partners is currently one of the main sources of competitive advantage for any organization that wants to grow dynamically. Innovation has always been rooted in the DNA of our brand, and this rapid development of startup ecosystems, which we have been witness to in recent years, also in Central and Eastern Europe, has created new levels of cooperation between entrepreneurs-beginners and mature businesses. Our goal is not to find a startup in which we as PwC will invest or whose technology we’d like to purchase. We are looking for startups that will become our business partners and with whom we will jointly develop a new, innovative product. We will then together present those products to our partners and clients, some of them the world’s biggest players. Startups give us a new look at business, in accordance with the spirit of disruption, while we give them our knowledge in terms of development, sales, scaling, internationalization – you name it! We have a customer base and a global perspective, and startups create highly specialized technologies and have this unique advantage in the form of flexibility and agility. The real recipe for success is to combine these two worlds.
The fact that our program, which we change from edition to edition, wanting to be as close as possible to the market and the needs of startups, is working can be seen best in the success stories of individual startups. Sebastian Starzyński, CEO of TakeTask, in an interview with us admitted that Startup Collider is an ideal scaling program for startups with a market-ready product. In his opinion, on the one hand, participation facilitates the implementation of business expansion plans, and on the other hand, it allows to become better entrepreneurs, thanks to mentoring sessions with experienced business people who advise on dos and don’ts. For Julian Kozankiewicz, CEO of NoaTech, one of the program’s greatest values was the relationship with PwC, which didn’t end after Demo Day. Having completed the scaling processes, the startup became one of PwC’s partners.
To sum up, at PwC we really believe in innovation and its power. That is why we are so open to cooperation with innovators and visionaries.