It happened. After London, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Madrid — Warsaw, Poland, CEE has its own campus — Campus Warsaw.
Last week I had the opportunity to take part in the official opening of Campus Warsaw. Although we talked to Google for Entrepreneurs about this initiative for many months, it is only now that I trully feel that a new chapter begins.
At the beginning of the post, I pointed out that Campus Warsaw will have an impact on three layers.
Warsaw has been recognized as a city. Speaking about startup communities, it is always a conversation in the context of a city. As Cracow native, I would prefer that “Warsaw was in Cracow”. However, after rational analysis — Warsaw is the better choice. It is obvious that the city already has density of the community. Universities, corporations, investors, startups — yes, these are the basic building blocks of the ecosystem. Warsaw has something more. City authorities, which (I think) noticed that startups are a chance to strengthen the pace of development of the city.
Talking to Rafal (Head of Campus Warsaw), we touched on the borader role of Campus Warsaw — serving not only Warsaw but also other cities in Poland. There’s no doubt about it. Campus will play a supporting role for all those who want to build a global, tech company. Regardless of where the team will have its headquarters, Campus Warsaw will be open for anyone. Warsaw even without Campus was a magnet city for many startups. Now startups from across Poland will have their “territory” in Warsaw’s Praga district. This is an important step forward in building a strong and connected ecosystem of startups in Poland. Entrepreneurs from Tri-City, Poznan, Wroclaw, Cracow and several other cities will be able to “meet” on Campus to exchange knowledge and support each other in building large, powerful, global technology companies. It would brand it as the internal impact of Campus Warsaw on Poland.
The second area, perhaps even more important in the long run, is a signal that has been sent to the world. Poland has been put by Google on the map of tech hubs across the world. It’s not just a place where every global company can find the world’s best engineers. From now it is also a place where tech startups can grow. As rightly pointed out by Vice Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at the opening ceremony: it is time to stop the brain-drain of Polish engineers, we should begin to use our talent to build Polish tech companies. By betting on Poland, Google sent a clear message. Poland is a place where it’s happening and this should be recognised.
To not make it so sugar sweet — there is a serious task before everyone in the Polish startup community. We have to prove that Google was right and that Poland will be able to yield many global technology companies in the not so far future.
Central and Eastern Europe
Many times I wrote that Poland could become a technological hub for the region of Central and Eastern Europe. So far I did not have much to support that statement. Today, I can proudly say to anyone west or east of the Vistula River: welcome to Poland and Campus Warsaw. In addition to the physical location, Campus Warsaw brings a new king of mindste to the region. Finally we have an alternative to London, Berlin or Paris. The entire region of Central and Eastern Europe has gained a strong voice on the European startup stage. With the support of Google, Rafal, along with the entire team at Campus Warsaw has a shot at changing the status quo and building a startup brand for the whole region.
See you at Campus Warsaw. Already at the start campus has more than 1 000 members and I am convinced that this number will hockeystick very soon.