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USAID And ICT Hub Partner To Spur Innovation In Serbia

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The first cross-section of the research – 8 economic areas with the greatest chance of success!

ICT Hub and US Agency for International development (USAID) officially launched the “Serbia Innovates” project, its partners Public policy research center and WMEP, to representatives of SME’s, startup and academia, investors, government and non-government sector, in order to encourage them to work together in designing the innovation friendly environment in Serbia that will accelerate the economic development in the most promising industries. The first phase of the project showcases a massive research, identifying the most promising domain for innovations in Serbia. Today, after the first cross-section, 8 promising domains were presented that have the biggest chance in Serbia.

“While everyone here knows that some of the world’s greatest inventors during the last two centuries were Serbians, it is now high-time that Serbia makes a name for its innovators in this century. During the last five years, I have seen so many local success stories in the digital sphere, from companies like Nordeus, to Seven Bridges Genomics, or CarGo or Strawberry Energy. These successes confirm that there is definitely potential. But we need more, Serbia needs more. And in particular, Serbia needs more frequent co-engagement between innovative start-ups and the traditional economy”, said Shanley Pinchotti, USAID Serbia acting Mission Director at the launching event. 

Kosta Andric, the General Manager of ICT Hub explained: “In recent years, many elements of an innovative ecosystem have appeared, with hundreds of startups, hubs, incubators, accelerators. More and more companies, even small and medium enterprises, are recognizing the importance of innovation and are starting to cooperate, developing digital strategies and nurturing entrepreneurship. We also have major legislative changes supporting the innovation and e-commerce in Serbia. What we need now is a brave and concrete strategy, based on globally proven concepts and specific potentials we know we have. For such activity, it is crucial that we carefully identify a specific area that will connect individual players, receive the necessary technical assistance, institutional and financial support. Luckily, we came across partners who recognized this vision and supported us.”

“Through the first phase of the research, we mapped 8 domains with most potential: Artificial intelligence, Blockchain technology, High-tech agricultural production, Gaming industry, Solutions for smart environment, Eco-smart energy sources, Advanced materials and advanced production processes and Biotechnology. The research will last till autumn, when we will decide which four domains will be tested in real environment by conducting four separate supercluster pilots. Then we will invite the wider audience to get involved, so we invite you to follow us. Testing will show which domain has the biggest chance to make an economic stride in Serbian economy and therefore become the first Serbian Supercluster”, said Aleksandra Popovic, Chief of Party of Serbia Innovates project.

“At the event we organized voting, because we wanted to see what our guests think about the results of the first section of the research. They turned out to believe the greatest potential lies in high-tech agricultural production, artificial intelligence and the gaming industry. We still have a lot to work on, we will conduct 100 interviews and surveys with 1000-1500 relevant participants and choose the four most promising areas by the fall,” added Branka Andjelkovic, co-founder and program director of the Public Policy Research Center.

Serbia Innovates is a four-and-a-half-years activity and will be working on creating an innovation friendly environment that will accelerate the development, introduction and scale-up of new economic models. The idea behind the project is to create new opportunity to strengthen Serbia’s economy through a model that enforces sustainable innovation development and encourages industry leaders, traditional companies, small and medium-sized companies, startups, and academic and research institutions to innovate and collaborate on large-scale projects, in order to speed up the growth in some of Serbia’s most promising industries.

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