City Hall opens new innovation center

The center will likely expand in the future with services in English

Prague City Hall has opened an Entrepreneurial and Innovation Center on the ground floor of Škoda Palace (Škodův palác). It will most likely expand to include an expat center for students and investors.

The city has also launched a second round of the Prague voucher program, which seeks and rewards quality startup projects in the capital.

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hříb (Pirates) and City Councilor Vít Šimral (Pirate), responsible for education, sport, science and business support, opened the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Center (Podnikatelské a inovační centrum) on Feb. 21.

The center aims to offer one place with comprehensive information on promoting business and innovation from the public and private spheres. The center has space with modern technology, and City Hall staff is planning to organize a variety of educational events and provide personal consultations. There will also be a business information package, and an entrepreneurial and innovation support toolkit. One important task will be to work with universities and national institutions, a City Hall press release said.

The project is designed not only for entrepreneurs and business people, but also for students, academics, innovators, researchers and the general public. In the future, the City Council also wants to add an expat center project expanding the professional consulting services to provide information in English to students, investors and workers coming to Prague from abroad.

“Our aim is that Prague is not perceived abroad only as a tourist destination but also as an important economic and business center," Mayor Hříb said.

The expat center project is part of the city’s economic diplomacy agenda, which broadens the city’s international relations and aims to accelerate the establishment of companies with significant added value, to attract international talent, to encourage the emergence of domestic startups and the arrival of foreign startups.

The opening of the center also featured a new cycle of the Prague voucher grant program.

From March 18 to April 18 people can submit projects through a new internet application called Podej project. The Prague voucher targets mainly start-ups.

“We are working to maximize support for meaningful business projects. We want to reach out to small and medium-size companies and mostly those working for a maximum of three years. We offer to reimburse up to 85 percent of the cost of implementing quality projects,” City Councilor Šimral said.

The city launched an innovation market internet application some time ago for the applicants for subsidies for innovative projects. It helps connect the business and research spheres. Entrepreneurs can find their research partner and start a collaboration that will lead to innovation in their products.

It is to be expected that in the coming days, the Prague voucher program will be the main topic of consultations in the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Center. Every weekday from 9:30 am to 1 pm (or an agreed time) project managers will be available for this purpose.

Each day is reserved for one thematic voucher. For more information, visit www.prazskyvoucher.cz.

The Entrepreneurial and Innovation Center's hours will be Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm (Friday to 3 pm) and free of charge.

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