Encouraging business development in Serbia: Another million dollars of Startech grants and a new Entrepreneurship Portal

The second competition for a million-dollar grant under the StarTech Innovation Support Program was announced today at an event that presented an improved version of the Entrepreneurship Portal, a unique info-service for financial and advisory programs for entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises. 

"I thank Philip Morris International for setting the standard in corporate social responsibility, and we hope that other companies will follow this trend by investing in our people, that will receive funds to form teams and, hopefully, their companies tomorrow. Thanks to such large private companies, international and domestic partners, but also projects such as the Entrepreneurship Portal and Startech, we managed to do a lot in the previous period, primarily investing in education, modern technologies, and digitalization. I can say that I am very pleased that we ended 2021 with export of 1,857,000,000 euros. The number of employees in the ICT sector has increased from 55 to 83 thousand since 2016, and that talent, and that knowledge, is reflected in the salaries in this area. I believe that if we continue by this path, the growth will be even more exponential and we will all benefit from it." said Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia. 

The first good news is that entrepreneurs can now welcome Entrepreneurship Portal within the StarTech project provided by Philip Morris International in cooperation with the Government of Serbia, and implemented by NALED. The three-year project, worth five million dollars, was launched to improve the competitiveness of the domestic economy and the entire innovation ecosystem. "Through the Startech project, we have set a pattern, which I hope others will take over, which enables the creation of a healthy and dynamic business ecosystem. On one hand, some entrepreneurs have a brave idea, but they need support or help. On the other hand, we, Philip Morris, are a company that has put science and innovation at the center of its business philosophy and is ready to provide that help. The third, necessary component is the Government, which is creating such a regulatory framework that encourages and supports this kind of transformation of the domestic economy, "said Aleksandar Jakovljevic, Philip Morris' CEO for Southeast Europe. 

Start-up teams, entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium enterprises will be able to apply for grants of 15,000 to 100,000 dollars and invest funds in the development of innovative products and services, conquering new markets, and creating new jobs. "We will support the top 30 this year with grants and additional types of promotion, however, applicants who do not receive funds will come out of the whole process richer because they will receive our professional support for making a business plan." We will also encourage the participation of the diaspora in the competition in cooperation with teams from Serbia. Together, we will continue the dialogue with the community and institutions to build a more receptive ecosystem for innovative companies, create quality jobs and provide better opportunities for young people to build successful careers in Serbia, "said Dusan Vasiljevic, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at NALED. 

Nataša Golić, a scientific advisor from the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, and Startech grants of the Dia Solution team emphasized the importance of investing in biotechnology. "Startech recognized the importance of our innovation, they enabled us to launch a clinical study that opened doors to negotiation with pharmaceutical companies and placing the product on foreign markets. Mentoring support has helped us present ourselves at the Dubai Expo, and marketing support will help us get closer to the end-users. ” The Small Business Informant section has been added to the Entrepreneurship Portal, promoted in cooperation with the Government of Serbia, the Ministry of Economy, and international partners. At the same time, a "sister" Startup portal has been developed, which gathers all relevant information for startups in one place, since their needs are different from those faced by small and medium enterprises. 

"We want this comprehensive information base on active support programs such as Startech and all other support mechanisms to contribute to the affirmation and development of entrepreneurship in Serbia." Whether you have an idea and you do not know what the first step in founding a company is, or you have an elaborate business plan but no means to realize it, let this be the first address where you will find out everything you are interested in, "said Katarina Obradović Jovanović. Assistant Minister of Economy. 

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