On 24 November 2021 an agreement was signed between PARP and Rekta Consulting, as part of the “Business Development and Innovation” programme, Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2020, NORW.19.01.04 scheme. Small Grants Schemes for Female Enterprises, concerning the implementation of NORW.19.01.04-14-0016/20 project in the “technology improving the quality of life” area. The project’s main objective, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2023, is to develop innovative software and build an integrated Internet platform for searching and booking accommodation for people with broadly defined mobility limitations.
The “Business Development and Innovation” programme, as part of which we have received support from Norway, assumes support for innovative solutions in Polish companies in three areas: green technologies, technologies improving the quality of life, including elderly people’s life, and blue technologies, i.e. development of companies from the area of sea and inland waters. It is also supposed to strengthen the cooperation between the Polish companies and Norwegian partners. Our project, implementing an innovative service to improve the quality of life, including life of the elderly and those excluded due to disability or limited mobility, falls exactly within the framework of the requirements for support in the area of “technologies improving the quality of life”. At the same time, we managed to start cooperation with a Norwegian IT company from Oslo, Forte Digital, which will provide our project with the top technological expertise.
A. Blandzi, the beneficiary of the “small grant” for female enterprises, who runs Rekta Consulting, emphasized in an interview for IAR (Information Radio Agency):
“Norway is famous for its highly digitized society. Thanks to innovative apps, the elderly and all those with mobility problems gain new opportunities to organise their leisure and recreational stays, and thus improve the quality of their life. We would like to consolidate this model in Poland and thus contribute to reducing differences in the economic and social development between Poland and Norway. We are very pleased to be working together with our experienced Norwegian partner, Forte Digital from Oslo, towards an inclusive Europe”.
Our partner, Norwegian company Forte Digital
The project implemented with Norwegian partner is in the priority area: “technologies improving the quality of life” Its aim is to provide senior citizens and persons with broadly understood mobility limitations with a product thanks to which they can easily identify, book and buy accommodation that will meet their requirements for recreational, holiday and leisure stays in Poland. It is an innovative online platform created in cooperation with the partner, which meets the strictest requirements of the WACG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and universal design.
Forte Digital specialises in creating websites, as well as builds digital solutions for online and mobile apps. Our partner offers consulting services in the area of creating digital solutions regarding frontend, backend, consulting and architecture. It is also a consulting firm with expertise in project management, consulting and concept development, UX / design, development and continuous improvement of operational services. The company creates solutions for mobile internet, e-commerce and service platforms. The group of excellent consultants has longstanding experience working with well-known Scandinavian brands as well as international clients Thanks to it, the consultants have extensive knowledge, experience and understanding of business. It is a young, dynamic company with experienced employees from leading software companies in Norway and Poland.
Forte Digital offers a wide range of different solutions such as web-based line of business apps, CMS-based websites, e-commerce solutions and mobile apps. Most of these solutions are highly complex and crucial to clients. What is very important for our cooperation is the fact that individual consultants are delegated to implement the project, and when necessary, even a whole team of consultants. The work is discussed and tested between project partners at every stage of its implementation, which enables dynamic application of corrections, changes and new solutions. Doing so, the company takes care of modern architecture that will provide flexibility and the ability to revise the website that is created during the project.
Forte Digital offers service platforms such as designing and developing digital services by publishing, pricing and innovating based on the existing data and new technology capabilities such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics. This is very much in line with the needs of our project, as it aims to be a significant, innovative solution as compared to the existing booking platforms.
The scope and schedule of the work to be carried out by the Partner has been carefully defined in the partnership agreement. The project includes four groups of tasks, which, at the same time, define a clear division of duties and responsibility between Rekta Consulting and Forte Digital. All tasks at each stage of the project are closely interrelated, due to which the cooperation between the Partner and Beneficiary requires constant, creative interaction and exchange of experience.
Our company began working with the Partner in the area of mentoring and advice with regard to the selection of the methodology and technology in November 2021. An analysis of the Beneficiary’s needs and concepts of IT solutions was carried out in order to select an appropriate software model compliant with the requirements of the innovative product in the “technologies improving the quality of life” priority areas. We also started the process of consulting similar systems in Poland and abroad in terms of their compatibility with the solution adopted by our company. Currently, work is underway on the selection of the most appropriate operating system and technology.
The partnership and mentoring have a clearly visible shared economic goal. For the Partner, the work on a new and innovative IT solution and project management process contributes to an increase in competence, experience and clearly improves the competitiveness of the company on the market. Thanks to its innovative nature, the project simultaneously increases our company’s competence in offering booking services. It also expands our possibilities in the area of building websites, which, in general, increases the company’s competitiveness on the labour market. All of these elements are crucial for both parties to keep the business growing at the top level.
The Norwegian Partner and Rekta Consulting share the same social goal of improving the quality of life, as well as preventing the exclusion of senior citizens and people with mobility impairments. They accomplish this goal together by providing a product-tool which, because of the ease of use and simple functionality, will encourage them to use the Internet and help plan the trip. So far these persons have not searched for places to spend holidays in and stay online, because there is simply no search engine based on the criteria they require. This results in a growing number of people who are excluded and discriminated against due to their age and limited mobility.
The product developed together with Forte Digital will slow this trend down, and make a significant contribution to the quality of life by increasing recreational and physical activity opportunities. At the same time, it will eliminate the exclusion of these people and their caregivers, who, due to the lack of information, lack of opportunities or inconvenience in finding a place that lives up to their expectations, resigned from even short trips not far away.
On the macro scale, an increased number of short-term trips will result in the revival of the local business space in terms of the activities of accommodation providers, tourist and cultural attractions (museums, theatres, cinemas, concert halls), local catering services and Polish regions. This is critical in the current economic situation, as our society grapples with the collapse effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the implementation of the project, tourism, catering, transport and services, being the industries which face the economic threat most, stand a chance to rebound.
Implementing the project together, the Partner and our company contribute to the reduction of differences in social development between Poland and Norway in such areas as dissemination and use of the Internet. For the sake of comparison, 94 per cent of people in Norway in the 45-66 and 67-79 age group used the internet in 2018. Whereas in Poland 19.4 per cent of persons in the 65-74 age group used the internet on a daily or almost daily basis in 2018. However, we need to emphasise a big difference in absolute numbers. In Norway, the internet was used by 4.9 million people. In 2018, Norway’s population was 5.3 million, out of which 16.4 per cent were senior citizens. Assuming that 94 per cent of them used the internet, 87 thousand senior citizens were active online.
In Poland, one third of the persons aged 65-74 (33.4%) used the internet in 2028 (during the three months preceding the research). Consequently, we are talking about more than two million senior citizens using the internet (2 million 267 thousand), as the number of people aged 60-75 in Poland is 6 million 788 thousand. This demonstrates the degree of exclusion and, at the same time, the huge potential of the project in Poland, once the target group is more active. The intense and multifaceted cooperation on the project implementation has strengthened the bonds between our, Polish and Norwegian, companies, thus giving rise to its continuation.
Partner’s website: www.fortedigital.no
Basic information about the subsidy:
- Rekta Consulting has received a subsidy from Norway through the Norway grants as part of the “Business Development and Innovation” programme, Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2020, NORW.19.01.04 scheme.
- mall Grants Schemes for Female Enterprises in the “technologies improving the quality of life”. area,
- Project number: NORW.19.01.04-14-0016/20
- Title: A database and booking platform of centres in Poland for people with limited mobility.
- Implementation period: October 2021 – September 2023
- Our Partner is Forte Digital from Oslo, Norway.
- The project used the co-financing of EUR 195,344.53 (PLN 838,575.00) received from Norway. The support as part of the Norway grants constitutes 85 per cent of the project’s value, whereas the total cost of the project amounts to PLN 1,123,250.
Additional information about the Norwegian Financial Mechanism
The Norway grants are exclusively financed by Norway and are available in the countries that joined the EU after 2003. The Norway grants for 2014-2021 amount to EUR 1.25 billion. The priorities for that period include:
#1 innovation, research, education, competitiveness and decent work;
#2 social inclusion, youth employment and poverty reduction;
#3 environment, energy, climate change and low-carbon economy;
#4 culture, civil society, good governance and basic rights;
#5 justice and internal affairs.
PARP source materials:
Small Grants Schemes for Female Enterprises