The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has initiated the Green Innovation Vouchers Program in Serbia and interested small and medium companies may apply beginning with December 5. The EBRD is also preparing a new investment strategy for Serbia, focusing on “green business”, stated Daniel Berg, Country Manager of the EBRD in Serbia.
Small and medium companies meeting the requirements may apply for vouchers worth up to EUR 20,000 without VAT to cover 90% of research and development expenses.
At the “Scheme of Green Innovation Vouchers in Serbia” gathering, held at the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, Berg said that the bank looked to help the implementation of innovations in small and medium companies in Serbia and that the project would focus on energy efficiency.
Companies are expected to finance at least 10% of the total costs, and the minimum value of the services of research and development that can take part in the program is EUR 4,000 without VAT.
The scheme of green innovation vouchers aims to improve the process of implementing innovations in small and medium companies in the field of resource efficiency, thereby supporting long-term competitiveness of Serbian economy and reducing its impact on climate change.
Through this scheme, companies will be able to have these vouchers cover the majority of their expenses for the services of research and development, which will help them develop innovative products, services or processes to the end of reducing the consumption of resources, such as power, water or raw materials.
A company may apply for only one voucher.
A company may cooperate with no more than three R&D organizations within the same R&D project.
Berg said that the EBRD wanted to promote the development of innovations and that the pilot-project might expand to the countries of the region as well.
– It has been proven that small and large companies, both public and private ones, are capable of finding various ways to innovate, all to the end of increasing their growth. We hope to provide help to small companies, but also to universities and other institutions which might benefit from this scheme – Berg emphasized.
He said that the EBRD would have a program for financing green energy and business, to be realized in cooperation with the EU in 2018.
The requirements for SMEs looking to apply for vouchers are: to have a production program and to be interested in developing new technologies to the end of using resources more efficiently, to be privately and locally owned, to have operated for more than two years, to be financially stable and not to have active court disputes, as well as to not be connected to the provider of the services.
Services entailing concept examinations, preparation of prototypes, testing, certification of a new product, service or process, innovative upgrade of an existing product, service or process, as well as training or consulting in the fields of innovation management and intellectual property protection can be financed.
“Green economy” in focus
The EBRD has invested EUR 4.5 billion in projects in Serbia in the past 16 years, and there remains around EUR 2.2 billion to be realized, it was said at the gathering at the CCIS, where the EBRD Green Innovation Voucher Program was presented.
– We are just now preparing a new strategy for Serbia, which should be available for public discussion next week – Berg said.
He pointed out that the aim was for the majority of the investments to be financed by the EBRD to be investments in the so-called “green business”.
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