When, after many months of lockdowns, one participates in a live event of such importance as Impact, the scale of the issues currently undertaken by business begins to make a really big impression.
The event organized by Poznań International Fair on October 21-22 was traditionally attended by prominent figures from the world of politics, business and show business. This year there were, among others: Hillary Clinton, Mateusz Morawiecki, Adam Niedzielski, Anna Lewandowska, Jacek Jaśkowiak, Japanese ambassadors and a team from the British Embassy, presidents and directors of large companies – Orlen, Roche or AstraZeneca to name a few. This was only a small selection of the panelists present at Impact’21.
I showed up at the Poznań Congress Center on the second day of the event to find out in what direction the business of the CEE region is currently heading and what problems it is facing.
On that day, 4 scenes were active, where thematic moderated discussions and panels were held on the following topics: Urban Next, Energy, Health, Art, Blockchain & Digital Assets, E-commerce, Open Banking & Data Governance, Media & Marketing Insight, Digital Future and Scale up to Success.
The short, usually 15-minute slots were led by well-matched moderators, and the technical advantages included, among others, scenery, sound, organization, operation of technical services and punctuality. In a nutshell, moving around the event site and choosing panels was like tasting a condensed and neatly served portions of business knowledge.
What could one learn from the discussions and speeches planned at that time? Below I present some of the conclusions based on what I heard, divided into thematic blocks that particularly interested me:
Capital and R&D funding in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors
In the USA, financing often comes directly from private money (e.g. from business angels), while in Europe it is predominantly institutional. Financing this industry in Poland and the CEE region is increasingly using private capital
7 of the 10 largest Polish projects subsidized by structural funds are currently R&D funds in the biotech industry (for research and infrastructure development)
According to Łukasz Kościjańczuk from CRIDO, none Polish entity from the Healthcare and Biotech sector is able to finance their project on its own from start to finish and engages external resources.
the growing role of the National Center for Research and Development is visible, there are loud calls for the government to start investing in innovation and administrative assistance (this appeal was heard in every second panel)
New Polish initiatives in the health sector - Warsaw Health Innovation Hub (WHIH)
As Radosław Sierpiński said, WHIH is a public-private cooperation on the CEE markets aimed at supporting knowledge sharing and combining initiatives for biotechnology. The direction is not only CEE, but also cooperation with the Middle East and Israel. This direction strongly attracts investors from Asia: mainly Japanese (private and public sector)
According to Maciej Max Latos from Roche, the company launched “similar case database” program, which massively collects information on various cases of disease for comparison purposes
Other conclusions worth noting
70% of companies investing in CEE have Polish entities, which is not surprising given the size of this market
perovskites (a component of photovoltaic cells) - we are still waiting for a larger dynamics of interest in this group of minerals, which, according to some forecasts, may bring revolutionary results for RES
there is a strong pressure of investors on renewable energy sources, including offshore wind farms
According to Dominik Andrzejczuk from Atmos, many investment practices adapted from the Israeli market are observed today in the Polish investment sector
Impact’21 was an event that covered a wide range of areas, therefore any decision to listen to a given panel excluded participation in the remaining few parallel discussions. What this multithreading business coverage does, however, is that it testifies to the level of development of the local economy today, while the high visibility of local governments and business support organizations during the event deserves special attention. How important is this prognostic? We might find it out at the next May’s Impact’22.