Source: eKapija | Tuesday, 28.11.2017.| 15:11
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Ideas from Zvezdara forest solve problems in capital - Belgrade implements startup solutions from Scientific- Technological Park

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It is believed that more than 30% of changes in society can be explained by the initiatives of startups - they are adaptable, they bring changes to society, and if they do not exist, this process is much slower.

The world's largest economies have recognized startups as new direction of economic growth, and some of the world's largest metropolises seek to improve infrastructure and quality of life in cities by the ideas of young companies. The chance for this was recognized by the Serbian capital.

The City of Belgrade, as one of the founders of Scientific and Technological Park in Zvezdara (NTP), within which there are almost 60 innovative companies, plans to implement the ideas that young companies develop here in everyday life of the city. Dragomir Petronijevic, a member of the City Council and President of the Employment Council of the City of Belgrade, cites only some of them.

- Startup Futuring develops websites that support virtual reality, which is especially interesting for catering facilities, so in the future we can use their presentations to present to tourists in Belgrade the offer of cafes and restaurants in our city. There are ideas like smart counters - LED screens that give information when things are happening in the city, or a smart medicine box designed by high school students from Tesla, which can be very useful to our elderly fellow citizens.

Petronijevic reminds that the City, in cooperation with the Belgrade University, organizes several startup competitions annually and monitors the market, while evaluation of competition for startup ideas is carried out by the directors of large companies, which proved to be a good model.

- The last competition was paid by private companies that invested money, and we subsidized the first year of work in the NTP for the first 5 winners. It's the synergy we need. Investing in young people from Belgrade faculties is coming back to us several times. We were known for brain drain, and now about 500 young, creative people work in Scientific and Technological Park in Zvezdara.

Digital Worx startup team is also among them, dedicated to industrial Internet of Things. Janko Pavlović, company CEO, is at the same time the initiator of the Association The things network community Belgrade, which gathers enthusiasts in techniques, oriented at transformation of Belgrade into a smart city.

Part of the atmosphere in Scientific and Technology Park Belgrade
- We are the most dependent on the LoRa network, through which we will implement projects like smart traffic. The idea is, for example, to place sensors on the parking lots in order to know their occupancy and make an application that will guide a driver to the first free, adequate parking space. This would not waste time in looking for parking, avoiding additional crowds, and at the same time reducing the further release of automotive gases.

The first pilot projects, Pavlovic adds, were made by gathering startups in NTP. They connected and got support from 3 companies in equipment, which is important for them to continue and implement the first projects in the city. Our interlocutor therefore indicates the importance of support they receive.

City administration remind that Scientific- Technological park at Zvezdara founded by the City, state and University of Belgrade in 2016 generated profit of EUR 10 m , and Petronijevic announced that next year Belgrade will set aside RSD 20 m for direct incentives to young people.

- We offer scholarships both at the level of the city and at the republic level. We have set up a system that allows young people to reach product from idea, to network and work here for the whole world market. It is up to us to find a way to provide conditions and to keep our creativity within our borders - says the City Council member, pointing out that young startups in the Science and Technology Park are an example that one can be successful in Serbia.


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In order for such a trend to continue, the director of this institution, Goran Danilovic Grkovic, notes that we must be aware of necessity of such instruments of support to entrepreneurship, especially in a society like ours. Most developed countries, he says, offer a promising start to grant companies, provided they develop their innovations in the territories where investors come from, and that is the competition we need to be aware of.

- In a country like Serbia where a lot of money cannot be set aside, we have to do other things to keep people like that - create communities and help them with other elements - says our interlocutor.

Among the countries which invest mainly in young innovators are Israel, which is often referred to as the startup nation, Finland, which they call the land of a thousand startups, then Estonia, Germany. etc.

Scientific Technology Park in Zvezdara Forest was officially opened in October 2015 with the aim of gathering as many technological and development companies as possible and encouraging as many young people as trying to become entrepreneurs. Today 60 firms operate there, of which more than half are startups, and it is planned that by the end of 2018 they will be around 80 with up to 700 employees.

Ivana Bezarevic

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