European Union and Serbia – Partners in Innovation

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A multifunctional glove for the visually impaired, an educational platform for school-age children, passive fire protection tapes made from recycled raw materials and biomaterials… These are just some of the innovations that companies will develop in the coming period thanks to financial support from the EU and the Government of the Republic of Serbia through the project New Products and Services Developed by SMEs Through Research Commercialization.

At the INNOVATION DATE ceremony held today, the Innovation Fund presented 33 companies that have been approved for innovation development funding under the Mini Grants Program and Matching Grants Program, totalling EUR 4.1 million. Innovative projects for which this funding is approved come from various fields of industries, predominantly from software and applications development for the Internet of Things. Most of the supported companies operate in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Kragujevac.

“The programmes supported by the EU through the Innovation Fund become the backbone of the Serbian knowledge-based economy. This is also true for the science and research sector. The results in front of us are particularly good: the revenue of financed companies increased from EUR 6 million to EUR 20 million in six years (+ 225%), 480 high-end jobs were created, exports increased by EUR 8.4 million, more than 33 national and 25 international patent applications were filed. The EU is proud to have made these results possible,” says the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi.

The Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, Mladen Šarčević, stated that the key for progress is in knowledge, science and innovation. He commented that the public call organized by the Innovation Fund demonstrated a year-on-year increase in interest for innovation support programs.

“Investment into science, education and innovation means investing into our future. I’m certain that you can already recognize the efforts and effects that this government has made. The budget for innovation has been increasing since 2017, and in 2020 we’ve allocated even more resources for the IF and the Science fund,” the minister said.

“Small and medium enterprises are the backbone of every economy and they constitute 90 percent of economic activity in every state. They represent a key factor of economic growth and creation of new jobs. The Government of the Republic of Serbia, with the support from the Innovation Fund, strives to incentivize growth and development of small and medium businesses through implementation of new technological solutions and creative ideas, so that they become real products on the market”, stated Nenad Popović, Minister without Portfolio in charge of Innovation and Technological Development.

he Managing Director of the Innovation Fund, Ivan Rakonjac, pointed out: “Small enterprises and the academic community have a partner in the Innovation Fund to help them develop their innovations. The Fund provides financial support with the goal of boosting innovativeness and competitiveness of our economy. Of course, the strong support from the Government, especially the Ministry of education, science and technological development and the European Union, has made it possible for us today to present to the public these innovations which I’m sure will conquer the markets. The Fund will intensify its efforts even further in the following period, with bigger capacities and new programs in accordance with the needs of our users.”

In order to continue financing the Mini Grants and Matching Grants Programmes, the funds were provided from the European Union Pre-Accession Assistance for 2014 (IPA 2014), under the Direct Grant Agreement – „New Products and Services Developed by SMEs Through Research Commercialization“, signed between the Ministry of Finance – the Department for Contracting and Financing of EU Funded Programs (CFCU) and the Innovation Fund.

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