From ghost town to knowledge factory – that was the development of the Science-Technology Park Belgrade
. Since the opening in 2015, around 500 young experts have been employed here, and their companies had revenues of around EUR 10 million and exports worth EUR 6 million last year.
The 11,000-m2, five-building complex in the Zvezdara forest now features around sixty companies. Slightly under a half of them are technology-development companies and the rest are startups. In addition to the space and technological infrastructure, the residents also get the much more important business support and motivation. They are provided with access to knowledge bases and financial funds and they learn about certification processes, promotion, networking and internationalization.Lean Pay
, a young Belgrade-based company, has been operating in the Zvezdara park for a year and a half now. They are developing a platform enabling the purchase of goods and services in installments at online shops, and their product will be made available in the EU market in less than a month.
– Aside from the premises, which was very important to us, we have been provided with business support at the Science-Technology Park as well. We've taken part in several conferences and got an opportunity to be guests of an accelerator program in Israel for a few weeks. This was of great importance to us when it comes to perfecting the product – says Misa Zivic, co-founder of the company.
When they came to the Zvezdara complex, he points out, they were working on a project which had little in common with their current idea.
– We were learning about the best ways to develop our own product and how to adapt to the market. Thanks to this, our service will soon start working in Slovenia, and the product we are developing here will therefore be used in the European market.
The development of a stimulating environment to the end of an accelerated technological development of Serbia and the support to technological entrepreneurship in commercializing innovations are at the foundation of the vision of the Science-Technology Park Belgrade. The European Commission, which promoted the park as a good example from the region, has also praised the results achieved there in the two years it has existed, and the STP Belgrade joined the biggest global community of technology parks, IASP, last month in Istanbul.
The road, however, was thorny.
Namely, the world is already seeing the development of the fourth generation of technological parks, and, at the time the STP Belgrade started operating (1989), the first one was only emerging. The 1990s left their mark in this field as well and it was only several years ago, thanks to an initial support by the Swiss government, that the conditions were met for the idea about the first institution of this type in Serbia to be finally brought to life. The buildings, which had been empty for years, were adapted to purpose, and an own model of regional development needed to be developed in line with the international practice and with support by the parks in the region. The park officially opened in October 2015
, leaning on the considerable experience of the Business-Technology Incubator, founded at the initiative of the technical faculties in Belgrade.