This week was a huge one for Azimo. As Azimo’s co-founder, I was asked by the British Ambassador to Poland to co-host the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at an event during their visit to Poland.
The Royal Couple embarked on a ‘charm offensive’ to strengthen the ties with Poland after last year’s vote to leave the EU. During a time when the Brexit result threatens to create more borders, events like these are so important to showcase to not only international businesses working across borders but also the level of skills and talent in Poland. The relationship between Poland and the UK has grown significantly over the past few years with more than 22,000 Polish companies set up in the UK and a trading relationship worth over £15 billion, representing a thriving cross-border alliance.
The event I’ve had the pleasure to co-host showcased Polish technical talent and entrepreneurs who have strong links with the UK. It took place at a start-up accelerator called ‘The Heart’ on the 38th floor of Warsaw Spire building. You can find a small video of the event here.
Azimo was chosen for the job because it is literally the biggest British-Polish start-up success out there. The remittances industry is something that affects 1 in 7 people globally. We are living proof that working on fixing a broken system that’s expensive, slow and inefficient has the power to change millions of people’s lives. With our talented teams spread across London and Krakow, Azimo is a great example of the power of UK-Poland collaboration.
So what are the Duke and Duchess like?
The question I’ve been asked the most is what are Kate and William like? And the answer is they’re really lovely – warm, charming and very natural. Throughout the hour that we spent together we laughed a number of times and they were truly interested in the businesses they met.
VIP elevator pitch
“Elevator pitch” got a whole new meaning for me. You know how they say you should keep your best pitch for when you get stuck in a lift with someone important? Now, that was a first for me, and a pretty special one. Just as we got into the lift – myself, the co-host and founder of The Heart Tomasz Rudolf, Duke and Duchess and 6 secret service agents all packed together – the Duchess asked about Azimo’s story and I spent the entire journey to the 38th floor bragging about Azimo and all the work we have been doing. They were super impressed!
Prince William himself before departure said “Congratulations on the amazing success in building Azimo, good luck and we’re very happy to have you in London”. Have I mentioned already that he’s really lovely?!
The young, the hungry, the talented
In sum, I feel honoured, humbled and incredibly excited that I had a chance to tell the tale of Polish talent and entrepreneurial spirit, and that I could share the Azimo story with – arguably – Britain’s two favourite people.
Life in the start-up world is sometimes hard, sometimes frustrating, and it definitely takes A LOT of energy and drive. But it’s also an absolute privilege to be building something that has the power to change the lives of millions of people across the globe.
This event was an absolute testament to that and I felt privileged to introduce the Royal Couple to the young and the hungry, the innovators, the people truly challenging the status quo. I came away with an overriding sense of pride in Polish-UK relations and the unbelievable level of skill this new generation of Polish tech entrepreneurs have. Here’s to the future of building and strengthening these international bonds and remaining stronger together in order to help change the world.