We present below a part of the interview, at the same time we encourage you to read whole available article on the Plast Echo website.
Cluster is a group of companies operating in the same sector, having more or less the same potential and the same size, which cooperate with one another, although maintain competitive relationships. Presently, Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster associates 98 firms, although altogether there are about 130 members, since the cluster also includes research & development centers, universities and business support institutions. When we established the cluster, there were mainly companies from Bydgoszcz. The area of our operation gradually extended to the whole voivodship and currently we have members from the entire country. To become our member, first of all, it has to operate in the plastics processing or tooling branch. Additionally it has to provide the recommendation of at least two members of our cluster. It also has to be interested in cooperation within the cluster.
The beginnings of our organization were difficult indeed, as we had just started building process of trust. In Poland, it was not usual to get involved in cooperation with your competitors. However, it appears that each of these companies has the same problems, goes to trade fairs, has problems with personnel, needs training – and all of that can be done together. It is also worth mentioning that since the companies have become friends, they are able to cooperate and deal with a given problem or order together. Not always just one company is able to carry out a large order on its own; sometimes tasks need to be divided among several actors.
This year the Cluster celebrates its 15th anniversary. What was achieved during this period?
Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster was established in September 2006; it incorporates companies of the tool and plastics processing industries, recyclers, a range of business related institutions, including universities, research and development units. On 25th September 2007, it was registered as an association.
Our particular achievements include: obtaining the status of the National Key Cluster in 2016; obtaining the Silver Label Certificate in April 2019 which was preceded by obtaining the Bronze Label Certificate twice in the previous years; the organization of the International Trade Fair of the Tool and Plastics Processing Industry INNOFORM since 2017. Since 2016, BKP has been in a consortium of the MERGEurope Lightweight Innovation Network and since 2018 a member of the European Lightweight Cluster Alliance ELCA.
In 2007–2009 members of the Cluster took part in the international trade fair of forms and tools Poltools in Bydgoszcz as exhibitors, they also participated in the 15th world trade fair for mold and tools design and product development Euromold 2008 in Frankfurt am Main as members of BIC. Since 2007 we have taken part as a Cluster in the Plastpol Trade Fair. Earlier our members participated in exhibition events as members of the Association of Toolmakers of the Bydgoszcz Region.
One of the most important points in our history was the first R&D project entitled "Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster on friendly terms with innoviation", implemented under sub-measure 8.2.1 of the PO KL in 2013–2014. The project was extended to include a transnational component. In turn, the first international project entitled "The development of a technology for new polymeric compositions with recycled tires rubber and new products designing " is carried out in 2019-2021 as part of the Eureka initiative and co-financed by the NCBiR. Currently, we are a partners of Better Factory project co-financed by the Horizon2020 program.
You are a Chairman of the Board of the Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster, a member of the University Council of Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz and the owner of a company producing medical equipment. How was the beginning of your professional career and is there anything you are really proud of today?
I started my career in 1995 in my father's company, which I currently own. While I was working, I started my studies at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and graduated from Plastics processing. In the company we mainly process PVC, so I wrote my diplomas about this material and I think that I am quite familiar with its properties.
For the beginning I have dealt with the quality system and related documentation in the company, so I have also a lot of experience in this area. Perhaps the greatest success is that we are still on the market, despite the fact that it is a very difficult industry and we still have all the production in place, we do not import anything from Asia.
We joined the Cluster at the very beginning of its activity; I joined the management board quite quickly, since 2010 I have been a Chairman of the Board and it is a social work. From the beginning the main goal is working on the benefit of associated entrepreneurs and this work brings not only tangible results, but is also noticed by institutions and other clusters. We are invited to cooperation by organizations from all over Europe. I can say that we are one of the best clusters in Poland and there will be no exaggeration in it.