All interested innovators have one more month to apply for the StarTech program and win a grant of up to 100,000 euros, and a few more days, until April 7, to apply for the application support program. The StarTech program is a project of the Philip Morris company, worth five million dollars, implemented by NALED, with the support of the Government of Serbia.
At the info day of the StarTech program, dedicated to the cooperation between science and business, the Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation Dr. Jelena Begović said that she hopes that the number of innovations coming from the scientific community and institutes will be higher than in the previous two cycles. She added that it is encouraging that the StarTech program gave the most support to the teams dealing with artificial intelligence, biotechnology, agriculture and ecology, which, according to her, are the most important topics today.
- There are currently around 500 startup companies operating in Serbia, but we hope that their number will be even higher. This is why the Startech program is very important for the entire ecosystem, which shows how important it is that we all work together - the state, the economy and the non-governmental sector. I would like to thank the company Philip Morris and NALED for such a good project and I invite other companies in Serbia to support innovators because it is very important for the development of science and innovation in our country. The Government's priority will be the commercialization and internationalization of our domestic solutions, in order to catch up with world trends - explained Begović.
Ivan Miletić, director of corporate affairs of Philip Morris Serbia, said that this international company made a very bold turn towards new products and completely new technologies a few years ago.
- We decided to base ourselves on innovations, but then we started to face problems that we didn't know existed. Two years ago, PMI's biggest business problem was the shortage of microchips on the world market. Innovators from the auto industry solved this challenge because they remembered that every washing machine has a chip, so they bought 30,000 washing machines and thus solved the shortage in the market. We see and nurture this innovative way of thinking in the StarTech teams - said Miletić.
Last year, the Government of Serbia formed the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the idea that, in addition to financial support for innovations, it would also provide regulatory support through the development of public policies so that the implementation of innovations would be much easier in everyday life, said the director of the center, Jelena Bojović.
- We see that for many years investments have been made in innovations, and this is the path we should continue to follow. The number of patents increased by 3.6% compared to last year. The next step is to connect the innovative and the commercial and find a way for these innovations to reach all of us - concluded Bojović.
Applications for open call
Innovators can apply for grants from $15,000 to $100,000. In addition to money, grant beneficiaries will be able to count on 1,000 hours of mentoring support for patent registration, support for entering new markets, legal advice, etc. Within LOT 1 intended for startups and businesses established after January 1, 2021, it is possible to receive grants of 15,000 to 25,000 dollars for the purpose of developing an innovative idea (with 10% co-financing). LOT 2 brings grants from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars (with 20% co-financing) for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises established by the end of 2020 at the latest for placing products on the market. Companies from the MSME sector can also apply for LOT 3 if they plan to hire new employees and enter the foreign market, for which they will receive grants of 50,000 to 100,000 dollars (with 30% co-financing).
Applicants can find information about the program, conditions and documentation for participation on the website www.startech.org.rs, as well as through the contact center at the address firstname.lastname@example.org and the number 0800 000020.