The Gray Book of Innovations – A Reforms Roadmap Towards the Knowledge Economy

Legalization of artificial intelligence use, the introduction of industrial doctorates, regulation of electric scooters, bicycles, and other similar vehicle uses, are a part of the reform recommendations presented by NALED in the first Gray Book of Innovative and high-tech entrepreneurship.

The specialized publication was prepared within the StarTech program that aims to support the digital transformation of the Serbian economy and is implemented by NALED and funded by Philip Morris. The first edition of the Gray Book of Innovations contains a total of 60 recommendations, of which 50 are aimed at improving cooperation between science and economy, creating a stimulating tax policy for startups, micro, small and large innovative businesses, modernizing labor legislation for digital entrepreneurs, and developing infrastructure for innovation and access to affordable financing.

The Gray Book offers clear guidance and solution proposals to obstacles faced by innovators, and an additional 10 recommendations containing new tax breaks and subsidies such as tax credits for innovation or incentives for electric vehicles. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, will face the most challenges since they are responsible for resolving more than half of the proposals.

- Twelve recommendations are under the authority of the Ministry of Education, while we find improving cooperation between science and industry the most important for the improvement of Serbia's position on world competitiveness lists, especially on the Global Innovation Index, where Serbia scores only 39..6 of 100. Only 3% of companies in Serbia have developed innovation in cooperation with the academic community, whereas in the most developed countries, the cooperation between science and economy has been proven to be an unavoidable success factor - said Branko Ruzic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development.

Suggestions for recommendation drafting were collected firsthand - from innovators, researchers, businesses, institutions, and academia, with significant contributions made by partner organizations: AMSS Motor Vehicle Center, National Association of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles, Digital Serbia Initiative, Zunic Law Office, Serbian Video Game Industry Association, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Belgrade Science and Technology Park.


- Cooperation showcased in the making of the Gray Book of Innovations has shown us the potential we have. We have incredible insights from 12,000 researchers, more than 70 institutes, 22 centers of excellence, and 123 universities and colleges. However, with R&D investment taking a 0.89% part of the GDP, with only 50 patents per million inhabitants compared to the EU average of 230, and less than 2% of researchers employed in the economy versus 46% in Europe, we are aware that Serbia has a long way to go, but we also deserve a jumpstart in the race for the best - said Ivan Miletic, director of corporate affairs for Southeast Europe at PMI.


Dušan Vasiljević, Director for Competitiveness and Investments at NALED, pointed out that among the priority recommendations are, among others, proposals for enabling financing of startups from non-banking microfinance institutions and abolishing penalties for startups for late payment of one loan installment. , abolition of arbitrary restrictions on the installation of base stations, implementation of smart contracts in Serbia, regulation of the export of personal data from Serbia under EU standards, etc.

He highlighted that the second annual competition for grants, within the five-million dollar StarTech program, is opened.  Applications are open until May 18. on

Grants range from 15,000 to 100,000 dollars aimed at the development of innovative products and services and digital business transformation.


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