“Development paths in the era of digitalisation” – Knowledge is the basis of development

On March 7, 2024, the second edition of the “Krakow Metropolitan Area for Business” conference was held at the Nowa Huta Cultural Center in Krakow, this time under the slogan “Development paths in the era of digitalization”. Entrepreneurs from Małopolska could learn how companies should operate and change to keep up with the latest trends in the global economy.

In the last decade, Kraków, together with the municipalities of the Krakow Metropolis, has joined the most dynamically developing regions of Poland and Europe. The metropolis’s economy, with a large university component, has so far been based on industry, traditional services and tourism. Currently, it has undergone transformation and is being strengthened with business services and centers for the development of new technologies.

The organiser of the conference – Kraków Nowa Huta Przyszłości S.A., a company established in November 2014 by the Municipality of Kraków and the Małopolskie Voivodeship – undertakes numerous activities aimed at accelerating the economic development of the eastern part of Krakow at the infrastructural, functional and social level, which has a positive impact on the perception of Nowa Huta. Steelworks by investors, the community and tourists.

Today, Nowa Huta is changing its function from the beginning, becoming a symbol of the city’s dynamic changes and a fashionable district of Krakow. Heavy industry, which had previously dominated, is losing its resonance, and revitalization allows us to create an attractive, friendly, functional and comfortable district of Krakow. This process is important for the economy of the entire city and region, and therefore important for Małopolska entrepreneurs – whose companies are also undergoing dynamic changes.

The success of the revitalization mission is strongly dependent on changes in the country and trends in the global economy. Nowa Huta’s success largely depends on the condition and development of entrepreneurship in the entire region. The challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Małopolska result from the multidimensional economic transformation. Energy changes in particular raise concerns among entrepreneurs, resulting in a slight, although noticeable, reduction in activity.

Thanks to Poland’s membership in the European Union, we can benefit from support packages for entrepreneurs – not only in the form of attractive financing from European funds, but also in the form of education and strengthening competences and the transfer of know-how. Unlocking funds from the National Reconstruction Plan and launching recruitment for 2021-27 provides a chance to overcome entrepreneurs’ fears and stimulate private investments, on which Poland’s development depends.



It is not without reason that, opening the conference, Jerzy Muzyk, Deputy Mayor of Krakow, emphasized that today the knowledge of entrepreneurs about support tools is crucial. “The information should be provided in a professional and accessible way to provide the necessary knowledge and dispel concerns about the use of EU funds,” the president emphasized.

Based on this assumption, Kraków Nowa Huta Przyszłości S.A., responsible for the revitalisation of the eastern part of Krakow, organized the conference “Krakow Metropolitan Area for Business, development paths in the era of digitalization”, dedicated to digital transformation, Industry 4.0 and improving energy.

We invited experts from business support institutions to cooperate:

– Dr. Rafał Solecki, Director of the Małopolska Center for Entrepreneurship, discussed the current and soon planned recruitment for entrepreneurs carried out under the European Funds for Małopolska 2021-2027 by the Małopolska Center for Entrepreneurship,

– Michał Wiśniewski, Senior Specialist for EU projects in the Financial Instruments Department of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, presented Financial instruments for SMEs in the regional program of the Małopolska Voivodeship,

– Przemysław Sulich, President of the Management Board of A1Europe, presented the following programs: SMART – FENG for individual entrepreneurs and support for energy efficiency in the FENIKS program.

At the end of the first part of the conference, Jakub Szymański, Vice-President of the Management Board of Kraków Nowa Huta Przyszłości S.A., presented the progress of the revitalization project of the eastern part of Krakow. Case study – a significant part of the presentation was devoted to the “Branice” Science and Technology Park, including the goals of its creation and development.

Participants of the panel discussion talked about how an entrepreneur, without involving his own money, can check the extent to which automation, robotization and digitalization help increase the efficiency of a specific company and accelerate its development.

– Daniel Kessler, Team Manager of hub4industry (European Digital Innovation Hub) at the Krakow Technology Park, presented the hub’s offer as a place where “everyone can touch new technologies” – from practical assistance to entrepreneurs in selecting, implementing and testing modern solutions and tools (hardware and software), through visits to companies that have undergone transformation, to preparing documents for competitions and implementations. He also talked about the training offer and the principles of conducting technology audits.

– Tomasz Król, Director of the Center, Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A., presented the possibilities of financing technological investments. He encouraged people to take advantage of preferences in the Polish Investment Zone (managed in our area by KPT), factoring and industrial leasing. He talked about the policy of a new chance for those who are restructuring. He also pointed to BiznesPortal.pl – https://biznesportal.pl/, where every entrepreneur, after entering his company’s NIP, can search for a comprehensive support offer for himself.

– Joanna Jakubowska-Łazęcka, Deputy Director of the Department of Innovation and Business Development at the Małopolska Regional Development Agency S.A.  (MARR) presented two support tools: Małopolska development vouchers (New Perspektywa) and the HR Academy. She emphasized how important the competences of employees and managers are today. MARR’s offer allows you to conduct training at low costs while maintaining the highest level.

– Agnieszka Szymczyk, Senior Manager in the Public Aid Team of PwC Polska, encouraged people to take advantage of tax reliefs, including: for research and development work and investments in new technologies.

At the end of the conference, Dr. Ewa Łabno-Falęcka, Director of Corporate Communication and External Relations at Mercedes-Benz Polska, talked about how artificial intelligence, big data, automation, robotization, IoT and the cloud are revolutionizing the automotive industry and at the same time increasing Poland’s chances in the era of a on knowledge. Dr. Ewa Łabno-Falęcka pointed out that the Mercedes plant located in Jawor is not (contrary to popular belief) the so-called assembly plant, and an advanced factory which today would not be able to compete on global markets without rapid data exchange. She also pointed out how huge savings in energy circulation in the factory can be generated thanks to the digitization of the production management process. The lecture also included a vision of mobility, which, by offering the possibility of autonomous driving, will solve many social problems in the future, including mitigating the effects of the aging society in Europe.

Thanks to test drives of the latest Mercedes models, conference participants had the opportunity to compare theory with practice and check how the latest technologies work in everyday life. You could talk to the car (!) or check the effectiveness of the autonomous driving mode on the highway.

In his summary, the editor-in-chief of the conference, Zbigniew Bartuś, emphasized how much we as Poland have to catch up in terms of digitalization and pointed out how successful domestic companies that have already focused on modern technologies are in the world. The use of the latest solutions and specialist knowledge allows Polish companies to compete with markets as advanced in terms of digitalization as German and Japanese.

Organized by Kraków Nowa Huta Przyszłości S.A. conference “Kraków Metropolitan Area for Business. “Development Paths in the Era of Digitalization” gathered over 100 people. In addition to representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises, the event was attended by representatives of large companies, research and development units, clusters, business environment institutions and public institutions, as well as journalists.