A milliner, lampshade maker, saddler, plasterer, furrier or shoemaker - these professions are slowly becoming a thing of the past. One shop after another, small businesses are closing down in Warsaw's Kamionek area. Kamionek Milowy is a project started by students of SWPS University which aims to help local artisans and small entrepreneurs living in Warsaw's Praga district to promote their businesses and streamline business processes.


Disappearing Professions in Kamionek Neighborhood

The list of unique, often extremely rare trades in the Warsaw district of Praga includes over 30 professions and is constantly growing. Does anyone here still use the services of a corset maker, a framer or a hatter? Do we even notice the shoemakers, furriers or leatherworkers’ workshops by the street we walk along every day? In today's times, when we want everything to be quick and immediately available, we’ve all but forgotten about hand-crafted products made with real passion and attention to detail, and instead of taking our shoes to a cobbler to get them fixed, we simply throw them away and buy new ones.

Can we prevent those forgotten trades from disappearing completely? How do you help today's artisans survive in the time of mass-produced goods, supermarkets and online sales?


Kamionek Milowy - Supporting Artisans

Kamionek Milowy is a project initiated by students of SWPS University from the Enactus organisation, supervised by doctor Konrad Maj - head of the HumanTech Center for Social and Technological Innovation. The activities of the project team aim to improve the quality of life of the artisans of the Kamionek area - the local community of Warsaw's Praga district.

Students surveyed local businesses and diagnosed the problems that the local artisans have faced on a daily basis. They subsequently organized educational workshops for them, during which the participants (including a lampshade maker, a metalworker, a furrier and a shoemaker) gained practical knowledge in the field of business administration, promotion and building a brand image online, creating a business plan and storytelling - describing the history of their shop in an interesting and engaging way. Part of the plan is also to change the interior design of their outlets so that their style is consistent with the history of the place and encourages customers to use the services offered there.

An important element of the project are also the activities undertaken to integrate the local community: meetings, outdoor games and walks. Anyone interested in discovering the nooks and crannies of Kamionek can take advantage of the "Szlakiem Kamionka" mobile app developed by the students.

Kamionek Milowy has, on two occasions, been awarded during the Enactus National Competition: in 2016 the project won 3rd place, and in 2017 - the 2nd place respectively. The organization was included in the list of key external partners of the Integrated Revitalization Program of the Capital City of Warsaw.


Leading Social Change

The idea was born as a response to the difficult situation of small workshops. Kamionek Milowy supports artisans in combining the roles of manufacturer and entrepreneur, reveals the potential of forgotten places and strengthens local identity. The students involved in the project wanted to draw the attention of Warsaw’s inhabitants to a somewhat forgotten and marginalised part of the city’s right bank side - the Kamionek neighbourhood, and in particular a dozen or so micro-enterprises which have been operating in this part of the Praga district for years. Drawing on the tenets of nostalgia marketing and the sentiment for times gone by, they developed a plan to help entrepreneurs promote their businesses and help them adapt to current realities and new consumer needs. They listened to the needs of nearly 30 artisans from Grochów and Kamionek by conducting detailed research questionnaires. Together with the local government, they established the Crafts Heritage Preservation and Development Team. The result of their work was the development of a series of proposals for practical solutions to the problems of local entrepreneurs. Kamionek Milowy is about great courage and commitment to initiating and implementing positive social change.

Konrad Maj

Konrad Maj, Ph.D.

Academic supervisor of the Kamionek Milowy project. Social psychologist, project manager at HumanTech Meetings, initiator and manager of the HumanTech Center which analyses the latest social and technological trends, prepares expert opinions based on research results and innovation implementations, as well as carries out projects in cooperation with business concerning commercialisation of knowledge. In his research and teaching, doctor Maj focuses on issues related to social impact, media psychology, and innovation. He currently conducts research in the area of HRI (Human-Robot-Interaction).


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Kamionek Milowy
Enactus Competion 2017 Award for Kamionek Milowy project

Two community projects (Kamionek Milowy and Cook ‘N Learn), developed and implemented by students of SWPS University, have been awarded 2nd place in the national edition of the Enactus Competion 2017.