This pilot project’s goal puts its focus in three parallel strategies that aim at long-term results for the whole Serbian economy:
- Funding and training early-stage startups (Mini Grants Program)
- Matching more mature SME’s with strategic partners (Matching Grants Program)
- Investing in R&D and cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit of academia and RDI management teams (Serbia Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer Project)
There are two elements that make the Serbia Innovation Project highly relevant. The first one is its long-term ambition, as it wants to completely transform Serbia’s economy for the mid and long-term future. This is the reason why the review process of the potential awardees has been made as transparent as possible with the Independent Investment Committee, which specifically looks for high market and global export potential projects. But more importantly, it has drawn up a strategy to bridge R&D and RDI’s (Research and Development Institutes) into the equation, recognizing the importance of bringing to the market relevant and commercially viable technology. For any effort to be successful it is essential to bridge the gap between research and entrepreneurship and be able to bring the brightest and most sustainable ideas to the marketplace.
Secondly, the pilot seeks to create an institutional infrastructure that will continuously support the development of a “high-tech knowledge-based society in Serbia” and unlock Serbia’s potential systematically and institutionally. This direct and consistent government support for developing, monitoring and improving startup ecosystems is an essential element to their success.
On the other hand, the involvement of institutions such as the World Bank has provided very valuable recommendations for the institutional reform processes.
As stated by Shuki Gleitman, one of the project’s strategic advisors, “responsible governments need to act as enablers and build innovation ecosystems with mechanisms of active support for promising new technologies”.
All this joint effort is starting to produce results. 17 of the awardees have generated revenues from their products and 9 of them have established international cooperation. We would like to see further metrics and results from this that effectively measures the ROI of Serbian innovation, however, these are fantastic first steps for the country’s new economy.
If you’d like to learn more about startup ecosystems, feel free to download our Whitepaper.
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