The Scandinavian countries, especially Norway, are known for innovative solutions in terms of eliminating inequality and exclusion of seniors and disabled people, preventing discrimination and implementing sustainable social policy. Norway also shares its experience in these issues with Poland by launching the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, which is, in essence, non-repayable financial assistance granted to countries that have joined the European Union since 2004. Poland is the largest beneficiary of the Norwegian Funds .
As part of the “Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation” program, Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, Scheme of Small Grants Schemes for female enterprises, grant funding was awarded to the project of Rekta Consulting called ” On the road. Dream holidays available to everyone”, selected during the competition recruitment conducted by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.
The announcement of the recruitment results in June 2021 ended the process of selecting applications by PARP, which had been ongoing since January 2019. A total of 738 applications for support were submitted under four competition schemes, for a total amount of requested support of over PLN 1.2 billion. Under the small grants scheme for entrepreneurial women, 392 applications were submitted for the amount of over PLN 198.5 million. The condition for qualification was, among other things, the presence of a woman in the company’s activities as an owner or manager. The total amount of funds under the “Scheme of small grants for entrepreneurial women” for co-financing projects from Norway grants was EUR 15,000,000. A total of 56 projects were recommended for support, for a total amount of almost EUR 7.3 million. The maximum amount of support for one project is set at EUR 200,000, which constitutes 85% of the total project cost.
Rekta Consulting was among eleven companies with the recommended highest amount of support, which was over PLN 800,000 (EUR 186,570).
“The recruitment and verification process took over two years due to restrictions related to the pandemic and the large number of submitted applications. We are even more satisfied that our work put into developing an innovative solution, as well as the reliable preparation of the required documentation, resulted in the highest recognition from the Donor (Norway) and the experienced PARP specialists and experts who assessed us,” said A. Blandzi to the numerous journalists and guests. . “At the same time, I would like to emphasize that I have been running a company for over twenty years and the opportunity to benefit from a grant supporting its further development is of great importance to us,” added the company owner, continuing:
The “Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation” program, under which we received support from Norway, assumes support for innovative solutions in Polish companies in three areas: green technologies, technologies improving the quality of life, including for the elderly, and blue technologies, i.e. the development of companies from the sea area and inland waters. It is also intended to strengthen cooperation between companies from Poland and partners from Norway. By implementing an innovative service that improves the quality of life, including for older people and those excluded due to disability or mobility limitations, our project precisely fits within the framework of support requirements. At the same time, we managed to cooperate with a Norwegian IT company from Oslo, Forte Digital, with which the partnership will provide our project with the highest technological level.”
It was extremely important for the project to redefine the criteria of the selected target group and then identify the accommodation and stay facilities that meet these criteria. For this purpose, the Beneficiary commissioned extensive market research entitled: “Shopping habits of Poles on the Internet”, “Seniors and disabled people as participants of the tourism market in Poland”, “Seniors and disabled people as Internet users in Poland”. The aim of the study was to learn about the attitudes, habits and motivations of people aged 60 and over and people with physical disabilities aged 18-79 as Internet users in Poland. The research was carried out using the CAWI method in October 2021.
Next, at the turn of January and February 2022, a study entitled “Selection criteria” was conducted. The research results will be known on February 14, 2022. Their aim was to define a list of criteria used by seniors, people with physical disabilities and their accompanying persons when searching for an accommodation facility in Poland. The research results will be prepared in the form of a survey. It will be used to select and qualify accommodation facilities in the field, this is the next stage of activities to be undertaken as part of the project.
The speaker did not hide her satisfaction with acquiring a Norwegian Partner, the IT company Norge Digital from Oslo. “The company has extensive experience in building modern applications, and at the same time we share the same social goal, which is to improve the quality of life and counteract the exclusion of seniors and people with mobility impairments,” she emphasized. She noticed that until now, these people had rarely looked for holiday and stay places on the Internet, because available search engines often constitute an IT barrier due to the multi-stage complexity of the service system. On the other hand, the objects included there largely do not meet the criteria required by this group. This results in a growing number of people excluded from enjoying the charms of tourism and discriminated against due to age and mobility limitations.
Therefore, Rekta Consulting, together with Digital Forte, plans to develop the simplest, understandable, linguistically and technically friendly object-filtering selection module, which will constitute the basis for an innovative accommodation reservation application. The target address of the application on the Internet will be the ” wdroge.org ” domain, in line with the project’s assumption expressed in the slogan: “Let’s go! “Dream holidays available to everyone.”
Basic information about funding
Rekta Consulting received funding from Norway, through Norway grants, under the “Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation” program, Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014 -2021, scheme NORW.19/01/04 Small Grants Schemes for female enterprises. Project number: NORW.19.01.04-14-0016/20
Title: Database and booking platform for centers in Poland for people with limited mobility.
The project benefits from funding worth EUR 195,344.53 (PLN 838,575.00) received from Norway. Support from the Norway grants amounts to 85% of the project value, and the total project cost is PLN 1,123,250. The implementation period is two years, from October 2021 to September 2023.
The partner in the project is Norge Digital from Oslo.
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.