The OECD is a multi-disciplinary inter-governmental organisation of 36 member countries which engages in its work an increasing number of non-members from all regions of the world. The Organisation’s core mission today is to help governments work together towards a stronger, cleaner, fairer global economy. Through its network of 250 specialised committees and working groups, the OECD provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice, and coordinate domestic and international policies.
Local entrepreneurship ecosystem conditions for start-ups
There is evidence of a strong start-up community in Malopolskie and of a generally improved quality of new firms. This contributes positively to emerging industries and productivity growth. For example, the number of start-ups in the digital economy, many of which focus on global markets, has been increasing annually since 2015. The regional government is heavily involved in supporting the development and creation of enterprises, including by organising events such as the annual Entrepreneurship Week. Both the national and regional governments are working to simplify start-up processes and reduce the time it takes to get into business (from weeks to days). Knowledge Transfer Centres (KTCs) have been set up in the region in the fields of ICT, energy and life sciences. There is an increasing number of accelerators and venture capital funds in the region.
The most significant bottlenecks to a flourishing regional ecosystem that promotes startups in emerging industries include a lack of cohesive networking among stakeholders in the region, a lack of trust amongst entrepreneurs, and insufficient long-term assistance for innovative start-ups including advice and mentoring. There is also an insufficient focus on linking regional skills development and knowledge generation to the smart specialisation priorities.
Local entrepreneurship ecosystem conditions for scale-ups
Scale-ups enterprises can be seen as firms with at least 10 employees that achieve growth of at least 10% per year in employment or turnover terms for 3 years. They can make an important contribution to regional productivity growth and diversification into emerging industries. Malopolskie has generated several scale-ups in the last five years, particularly in life sciences and ICT such as Codewise and Selvita. However, there is scope to further improve the conditions for scale-ups with adapted policies. In examining the scale-up issue, it is useful to consider different kinds of policy support needed for three different kinds of scale-up or potential scale-up (i) established firms that have achieved fast growth and reached a critical mass; (ii) innovative firms that have grown and show growth potential and may need support with internationalisation, skills, intellectual property (IP), networking and so on; and (iii) firms that have an ambition to grow but are facing series barriers such as in raising finance or developing management teams.
A bottleneck to scale-ups in Malopolskie is lack of ambition for growth and a reluctance by SME owners and managers to make the efforts and take the risks needed to sell more innovative products. There is also a strong reluctance of SMEs to collaborate, partially due to a lack of trust among businesses. A further bottleneck is a lack of planning for future skills requirements and a lack of alignment between university skills generation and business needs. There is a need to expand the policy support system for scale ups and to market the available initiatives effectively to enterprises.
Involvement of large enterprises in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem
Historically, large enterprises in Malopolskie have centred on metallurgy, steel and energy. Large enterprises in these sectors continue to maintain and support important regional supply chains. In addition, Polish companies working in sustainable agricultural practices, and innovations in the transportation and logistics sectors are well placed to lead innovation in their supply chains. At the same time, large enterprises are frequently involved in innovation and R&D collaborations with the universities and regional and municipal agencies. However, a bottleneck concerns the tendency for many of the multinational enterprises (MNEs) in the region to have limited linkages with local SME suppliers. Instead, product and service inputs are often either provided internally or through non-regional supply chains. Furthermore, the work in many of the MNEs in the region is process-based. This is evident in a specialisation of inward investment in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/Shared Service Centres (SSC) and in the sectors of metals manufacturing, electrical engineering, and machine building. In these activities, there is lesser emphasis on R&D and innovation than in more sophisticated activities turned more towards the final consumer.
A further bottleneck is a limited involvement of local large enterprises in spaces of coproduction and collaboration with start-up entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in SMEs. Public intermediary agencies could be better brokers of information and support with theaim of fostering promoting stronger entrepreneurial networks.