Public sector must drive innovation - entrepreneurship minister

Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz in Katowice Andrzej Grygiel

Capital-funded public sector companies should be, along with private firms, an innovation driver, Entrepreneurship and Technology Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz said on Monday in Katowice, southern Poland.

The state should be an "intelligent contracting party" implementing legislative and financial mechanisms to support innovation, she added.

Emilewicz was taking part in one of the panels of the 10th European Economic Congress, which started on Monday. During a discussion devoted to the global technological revolution, the minister pointed out that in a situation whereby the private sector has limited capital resources, the public sector also has important tasks in driving innovation.

"The largest capital resource in Poland is in public procurement. The 35,000 firms that order goods and services in Poland should become an innovation driver," Emilewicz stressed, adding that this also applies to public administration.

The entrepreneurship and technology minister noted that funds to support innovation were included in many EU programmes available to Poland. She stipulated that not all technologies and innovations can be supported by public means to the same degree.

"We must define those areas in which we already have certain competitive advantages, where there is an industry ready to upgrade technology," Emilewicz said, pointing out that the stream of funds should go above all to such selected sectors.

In Emilewicz's opinion, friendly legislation is a condition for of effective support of innovation. In this context, she mentioned a package of tax breaks for those investing in research and development.

"The state's role is also to show its capabilities and encourage the most innovative investments," the minister argued. "We see ourselves as a state that is an 'intelligent contracting party' that tries to understand global trends and adapt both the legislative and financial apparatus to them to support those who have the potential to be global champions," she stressed.