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SWPS University - Main page

Kamionek Milowy – supporting local craftsmen

Kamionek Milowy – supporting local craftsmen

From milliners and lampshade makers to saddlers, stucco workers, shoemakers, and furriers, these once-vibrant professions are gradually becoming things of the past. In Kamionek, a post-industrial craftsmen's district in Warsaw, one shop after another is closing its doors. “Kamionek Milestone” is a project led by SWPS University students, that aims to help local craftsmen and small entrepreneurs to promote their workshops and improve business processes.


Vanishing trades in Warsaw’s Kamionek district

The list of unique, yet vanishing trades in Kamionek, a part of Warsaw's Praga district, includes more than 30 professions and is constantly growing. When was the last time you visited a corset maker, a picture framer or a hatter? While getting around the city, it is easy to overlook the tucked-away small craftsman shops specializing in handcrafted shoes, meticulously tailored fur garments, and exquisite leather goods. In a fast-paced world that values instant gratification, the appreciation for handmade products crafted with passion and attention to detail seems to have waned. Rather than taking our shoes to the nearest shoe repair shop, we buy a new pair with just a few clicks.

Can these vanishing trades be saved? How can modern artisans thrive in an era dominated by mass-produced goods, available in hypermarkets or online?


Kamionek Milowy: project supporting local craftsmen

Kamionek Milowy is a project carried out by SWPS University students, who are members of the international student leadership organization, Enactus. They are supervised by Dr. Konrad Maj, Head of the SWPS University’s HumanTech Center for Social and Technological Innovation. The project aims to enhance the well-being of local craftsmen situated in the Kamionek district.

The students conducted surveys among micro-business owners, identifying the challenges they face in the modern economic environment. Based on the survey results, the students organized workshops to help local entrepreneurs develop various skills. These included project management, marketing, brand development, online marketing, business plan development and storytelling. Additionally, the students helped to revamp the craftsmen shops, so that the premises reflect the nostalgic atmosphere of the Praga district and highlight the qualities of the craft practiced by the entrepreneurs.

Another objective of the project is to promote community integration through meetings, urban games, and strolls around the district. For those eager to explore Kamionek’s streets and and alleys, the students developed a mobile app “Szlakiem Kamionka.”

Kamionek Milowy received recognition from the jury of the Enactus National Competition twice: securing the 3rd place in 2016 and the 2nd place in 2017. The students legally registered Kamionek Milowy as an association and the organization was listed as a key external partner in Warsaw’s revitalization program.


We initiate positive social change with courage

The project emerged as a direct response to the challenges faced by small-scale workshops. Kamionek Milowy supports craftsmen in balancing the dual roles of creator and entrepreneur. At the same time it explores the untapped potential of Warsaw’s forgotten spaces and strengthens local identity. The students behind this project had a clear goal: to shine a spotlight on the often unnoticed and marginalized part of Warsaw's right bank – Kamionek. They were particularly focused on the group of micro-businesses that have been thriving in this corner of Praga district for years.

Using nostalgia marketing and a fondness for days gone by, our students laid out a plan to support entrepreneurs and help them adapt to the ever-changing world of business and evolving consumer needs. They conducted thorough research surveys and listened closely to the needs of nearly 30 craftsmen. They also teamed up with the local government, forming a group with two main aims – preserving cultural heritage and nurturing craftsmanship. Together, they developed practical solutions to address the various challenges these entrepreneurs face. Kamionek Milowy stands for remarkable courage and commitment to initiate and implement positive social changes.


konrad maj
Konrad Maj

Social psychologist. He is the Head of HumanTech Meetings project and the Head of HumanTech Center for Social and Technological Innovation, which analyzes the latest social and technological trends, prepares expert reports based on research outcomes, and initiates joint projects with business partners. Dr. Maj's research interests include new technologies (artificial intelligence and metaverse), social influence, and innovations, in particular Human-Robot-Interaction (HRI).


HumanTech Summit 2023

HumanTech Summit 2023

December 09 2023