Source: eKapija | Thursday, 08.06.2017.| 13:47

Invitation for allocation of EUR 2.7 million to innovative companies opens – Application deadline September 1

(Photo: wael khalil alfuzai/shutterstock.com)
A new amount of EUR 2.7 million has been made available to Serbian companies for realization and enhancement of innovations by the Innovation Fund through the Mini Grants Program and the Matching Grants Program.

The funds for the continuation of these programs, which the Fund was carrying out from 2011 till 2016 as a pilot project, and which were financed with a total of EUR 6 million from the IPA funds of the European Union, have now been provided from the state budget through the Serbia Competitiveness and Jobs project in cooperation with the World Bank.

The invitation will last for three months, until September 1, and the funds should be available to entrepreneurs by the end of the year or in January 2018. Companies may apply projects related to any scientific field or technology, as well as to any industrial sector.

Conditions of the invitation

As Ivan Rakonjac, acting director of the Innovation Fund, says for our portal, the Mini Grants Program is meant for enterprises and startups younger than three years and with innovative projects and has been designed to support the survival of companies in the critical phase of research and development, enabling them to develop the capacities for putting their innovations in the market.

Though this program, the Fund provides grants up to EUR 80,000, or up to 85% of the total budget of the project, whereas the applicant provides the remaining 15%. The time of the realization of these projects is 12 months.

As for the Matching Grants Program, the Fund provides up to 300,000, or up to 70% of the total allocated project budget for micro and small enterprises and up to 60% for medium enterprises, whereas the rest is provided by the applicant from other private funds.

The time of the realization of these projects is two years, and the idea is to support already established companies which need additional money for either improving their products, services and technologies or developing something new.

(Photo: Baranov E/shutterstock.com)
Rakonjac notes that this Program entails the so-called royalty payments.

– These are conditional grants, which means that, following the implementation, the Fund takes back up to 5% of the revenues arising from the project for a maximum of five years or up to 120% of the value of the grant, whichever comes first.

This, as our interviewee points out, is a symbolic incentive for both the companies and the Fund, as the money is later reused to fund other new companies.

Good results

At the presentation of the new cycle of the two programs at the Science Technology Park Belgrade, Rakonjac reminded that the programs had been the first and only ones at the time of the Fund's activation in 2011. By 2016, EUR 3 million had been allocated through them, funding 52 projects of 45 companies, of which 38 startups.

Revenues from the realization of these programs, as he noted, have doubled, the exports have increased five times, and they have led to the employment of 400 experts, the hiring of 50 employees with PhD and dozens of patents in the local and foreign markets.

Vladimir Kopric of Coprix Media, which won a grant in the previous program cycle and used it to finance the development of an educational app, pointed out that he was glad that the programs were reinitiated.

– We need them and they should last – Kopric said and added that Coprix Media had offices in Bulgaria and the USA thanks to the Fund's support, that they had also started making efforts to penetrate the UK market and that they were carrying out their first pilot project in Pakistan as well.

Additional funds in 2018?


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Minister of Education Mladen Sarcevic also noted the importance of such sources of finance to innovative companies. He pointed out that it was important to support such initiatives and announced that he believed that even more funds would be secured from the budget the next year.

– We will try to establish cooperation with big companies looking to support such programs next year – Sarcevic pointed out.

The Fund will also continue working on securing additional funds.

– We are submitting an application for financing these programs, but this time using the pre-accession EU funds, and, in the case of a positive outcome, we expect another invitation to be financed next year – Rakonjac announced for our portal.

– According to the announcements my Minister Sarcevic, additional funds should be set aside from the budget as well, so we expect at least the same amount from the Competitiveness and Jobs project, as the loan agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the World Bank also envisages this.

I. B.
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