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28. August 2019.

Nenad Popovic, Minister without portfolio in charge of innovations and technological development in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, spoke with the heads of eight regional innovation start-up centers from all over Serbia about the challenges they face in developing local innovation ecosystems.

Also discussed during the meeting were plans for the further innovation development of the environments in which the start-up centers were established, according to a statement given by the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Minister Popovic said that start-up centers had the primary task of supporting the establishment of as many local start-up companies as possible, whose solutions would, at present, help boost the competitiveness of the local economy, while they might find application in the global marketplace in the future, changing and facilitating the lives of millions of people worldwide.

The Minister pointed out that Serbia needed a larger number of start-up companies, and stated that between 200 and 400 startup companies operated in Belgrade and Novi Sad, while, for example, in Tel Aviv, which had almost the same number of inhabitants as Novi Sad, 1,300 start-up companies were established per year.

During a discussion with representatives of the innovation start-up centers, he announced that the Government of the Republic of Serbia would continue to implement the program of support to regional innovation start-up centers in the following year, too.

According to him, Serbia is investing 60 million euros in the construction of capital innovation infrastructure, which will enable young people to have the best conditions for innovative development in the most important university centers, such as Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis.

Minister Popovic said that the state also wanted to enable young people in the regions to have the best conditions for developing their innovation and entrepreneurial potential.

“Through the establishment of regional start-up centers, young people not only get the opportunity to work on the most up-to-date technological equipment available in these centers, but, more importantly, they also have the professional and /or mentoring support to develop their ideas into products and services that will be used on the market,” the Minister explained.

He underscored that thanks to a strong partnership with China in the field of innovation and technological development, it was ensured that representatives of Serbian regional innovation start-up centers were sent on a study trip to that country.

The Minister explained that the goal was for our country's representatives, along with their colleagues from all over the world, with the mentorship of Chinese experts, to increase their professional capacity and gain new experience in the field of managing start-up centers and business incubators. 

Minister Popovic said that his office had already sent ten representatives of Serbian innovation start-up centers to China for training, and that five more would sent by the end of the year. 

Source: E-Gate and Coordination Body