The global report on the startup ecosystem for 2023 showed that Belgrade and Novi Sad, which were observed in the research, stood out with almost 60 percent growth in the ecosystem value.
The report prepared by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network presents a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the startup ecosystem worldwide. It is based on extensive research and data analysis from 3.5 million startup companies in 290 global ecosystems.
Experts, leaders and local key players are also involved in independent research, which in Serbia, were the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation and the Digital Serbia Initiative.
Belgrade and Novi Sad startups worth 1.11 billion dollars
Belgrade and Novi Sad are part of the global network of the world’s leading innovators, which from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022, created an ecosystem valued at 1.11 billion dollars, which is a 75.41 percent growth compared to the previous period. According to this report, the domestic ecosystem is among the 20 best European ecosystems in terms of available talent.
“Serbia is famous for its talented engineers, but the startup ecosystems in Belgrade and Novi Sad also benefit from the innovation-oriented approach of the government, industry, universities and other stakeholders in the digital ecosystem,” the report said.
Their strategy, as stated, includes entrepreneurship education at all levels, as well as the improvement of infrastructure and support programmes, with the aim of creating up to 1,200 active startups that would attract investors from around the world. In 2022, Serbia generated a record 4.4 billion euros in direct foreign investments, according to data from the National Bank of Serbia (NBS).
“The Serbia Ventures programme, an initiative launched by the Serbian Innovation Fund, aims to encourage private investors and institutions to finance startups and establish VC funds in Serbia. The programme will invest up to 5 million euros in newly established VC funds. Omorika Ventures and The Fifth Quarter project are two new funds that will start operating in 2023,” the report states.
3Lateral and Epic Games continue with the planning and construction of the future campus in Novi Sad, thus supporting education and educational infrastructure. Microsoft signed an agreement with the Catapult Accelerator programme, which gives startups access to Microsoft services. Catapult supported 18 such startups in 2022. The Ninja Accelerator programme was created as a joint initiative of Digital Serbia and the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation, which works to connect the Serbian and Asian markets.
IT talent is mentioned in the report as one of the most important reasons for startups to come to Belgrade and Novi Sad. Namely, the Serbian technology industry is responsible for at least 6 percent of the national GDP, and is still growing rapidly.
“There are more than 45,000 IT professionals in Serbia, which is known around the world for its world-class engineers. Computer programming is compulsory for all students over the age of 11. There are 44 specialized IT courses attended by 800 high school students per year. Also, every year, 3,300 software engineers graduate from 26 faculties,” the report says.
Tax incentives are also cited as one of the important reasons for the development of startups in our country.
“The Law on Personal Income Tax provides certain tax benefits for employees who are directly involved in research and development, which is very useful for the initial stage of startups. The Law on Personal Income Tax and the Law on Mandatory Social Security Contributions provide more exceptions for startups that have innovative activities,” the report adds.
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