Microsoft teams up with ORLEN Skylight accelerator as its technology partner

PKN ORLEN has signed an agreement marking the beginning of a collaboration between the ORLEN Skylight accelerator and Microsoft Founders Hub 101. The alliance will enable startups participating in the accelerator programme run by PKN ORLEN to receive free access to numerous Microsoft tools and resources, including Microsoft Cloud and GitHub. The collaboration also includes support from Microsoft experts and specialists.

- ORLEN Skylight has built a strong brand at home and internationally. Our accelerator programme has been further enhanced by partnerships with technology leaders like Microsoft. They allow even more startups to expand their knowledge of cutting-edge IT tools to support their business development. Global partners also facilitate faster commercialisation and scaling of technology solutions, - explained Patrycja Panasiuk, Deputy Executive Director of Strategy & Innovation and Investor Relations at PKN ORLEN.

The ORLEN Skylight accelerator programme provides a platform for young tech companies in Poland and abroad to work with ORLEN Group companies and implement joint business ventures. In four of the eleven accelerator rounds, a selection procedure was run for solutions addressing 70 technology challenges corresponding to PKN ORLEN’s current business needs. From a total of over 260 applications, 14 startups were selected for pilot implementations, including in the fields of service station process automation, recycling, IoT in logistics, and AI in manufacturing.

- The collaboration with PKN ORLEN in the Skylight Accelerator is an example of an alliance focusing on our commitment to effective collaboration with organisations in Poland in the context of real challenges faced by big sectors of the economy and innovations created by companies in our country, Central and Eastern Europe and the world. The new Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub programme gives startups access to technology benefits (including full subscriptions to Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, PowerApps, GitHub, as well as external services like Open.ai) and business benefits (access to more than 600 Microsoft mentors and access to a virtual selling and co-selling team), with the list of the benefits constantly expanding. PKN ORLEN has in place its own accelerator programmes, a corporate venture capital fund and a number of own companies facilitating the deployment of startup solutions. Placing the acceleration focus on companies pursuing sustainability goals is also a new path within Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub - said Łukasz Foks, Azure Business Lead, Startups in the Microsoft Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) regional team.

A fifth selection round to the ORLEN Skylight accelerator programme is due to start next June.