Action zone is the new space in the University of Warsaw Library, where the students, graduates and employees of the University may make their business ideas come alive. Here science meets business.
Strefa@DELab is over 400 square metres of space where experiments take place, innovations are conceived, and the students and employees of the University team up with entrepreneurs.
It is the first such initiative in Poland organized within a university. The opening of the zone was done with a key printed in a 3D printer, with embedded electronic mechanism. “We would like to use this initiative to support the broadly understood academic entrepreneurship. These are the ideas of students, graduates and the staff of the university on how to channel their daily work – i.e., the science – into business”, said professor Marcin Pałys, the Rector of the University of Warsaw, during the inauguration.
Since last year, DELab is supported by Google. The University of Warsaw cooperates also with the Warsaw University of Technology.
Research floor, action floor
The 1st floor of the University of Warsaw Library houses a research zone, which has been in operation for a year now. Students who have their own business ideas can come to the 3rd floor of the library and learn how to manage IT projects, test business models, deliver presentations and build and manage teams. The next step is to find work space – and this space is offered by the library too. DELab supports students and graduates on every step.
The actions zone has three sub-zones, these are:
- Exchange Zone, providing conditions for the use of interdisciplinary research potential of the University, where scientists connect to businesses, present their achievements and research offer,
- Skills Cooperative, serving to provide market competence and skills to student by preparing requested project with support of two mentors: academic and external one.
- StartupForge@UW, facilitating the establishment of new business ventures by the University community members and their partners.
“Our studies show that students need space for experimenting and for their project and business ventures”, said professor Anna Giza-Poleszczuk, Vice-Rector for Development and Financial Policy.
“I believe this will be a place for start-ups, that the activity here will translate into new jobs, development of the economy and increase of GDP”, said Grażyna Henclewska, the deputy minister of economy.
Students have customers
Business-minded students found their working space in DELab. They manage start-ups, or companies which operate on the Internet before for some trial period, before they find a more fitting mode of operation.
These include miniature model makers from the paining shop yourwellpaintedarmy.com. Their business has been operating in the global market for two years now. “The university gave us the space, and we plan to make a mock-up of the University main campus from the times of the Warsaw Uprising, and the fights of the Krybar Group”, revealed Mikołaj Szczepański, a student of the University of Warsaw.
In their turn, the Evojam programming team builds cloud software. “We are creating systems for start-ups. We have a client from the Silicon Valley for whom we’ve built the whole infrastructure”, said Michał Nowak from Evojam. They also run mentoring workshops for the students of the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics.