Italian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Luca Gori, and representatives of the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce announced today the large innovation forum Serbia – Italy titled “Innovathon” which will be held in Belgrade on December 5 and 6 and which will create new opportunities for cooperation in new, non-traditional areas.
“This will be an important gathering for the economic cooperation between our two countries. Italy wants to improve its economic presence in Serbia, we want to create new opportunities for cooperation in a new sector with new technological components,” Ambassador Gori told Tanjug news agency.
The ambassador added that that was the main reason why they decided to bring a new technological innovation ecosystem to Serbia, especially from the Lombardy region, which has the most advanced ecosystems.
The ambassador went on to say that the president of the Lombardy region would also come to Belgrade on the occasion.
“Together with the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, we will organize ‘Innovathon’, an event that is important for our future,” said Gori after two rounds of talks at the Italian Embassy regarding the forum, as announced by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and the Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, in late September.
The ambassador also said that the reason for organizing the forum is simple – Italy and Serbia want to deepen their economic cooperation.
“In order to widen this cooperation, we need to invest in new technologies and create new opportunities in addition to the traditional cooperation segments,” said the ambassador.
He continued to say that the Forum would be an opportunity for both countries to become more familiar with the innovation systems in each of them, to connect their respective ecosystems and to establish contact between them.
“Our goal is to increase the number of Italian investments related to technological innovation. We aim to work in that direction and Inovathon is one of the steps on that road,” he said.
The regional director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Matteo Colangeli, said in a statement for Tanjug that innovation is one of the most important goals supported by the EBRD. The EBRD, he added, supports the expansion of cooperation with all other actors in the innovation ecosystem, including, of course, in the context of this initiative – the Italy-Serbia Innovation Forum.
“Innovation is an increasingly important priority for us at the EBRD. We fund infrastructure that is critical to innovation and we are very proud to support the Bio4Campus project in Belgrade. And we also finance a network of science and technology parks across the country. We will finance the expansion of the existing parks in Niš and Čačak, as well as the new park in Kruševac”, said Colangeli.
The regional director of the EBRD also assessed that Serbia has very “promising and talented startups”.
“I think that size is sometimes a limiting factor for Serbia, so it is very important for this country to reach out to other European markets, other European ecosystems and by doing so have opportunities for expansion and growth,” he said.
Colangeli went on to say that in order to reach the private sector, which is the core of what they do at the EBRD, they have been working with SMEs, as well as making financing sources available to SMEs through commercial banks so they can invest in innovation and digitalisation.
“Most importantly, we are focused on helping the country’s innovation system grow and thrive,” he said and added that the EBRD is very proud of supporting and constantly expanding the initiative called Star Venture.
“Through this initiative, we provide successful startups in the Western Balkans with access to a global network of knowledge in the form of mentoring, consulting, tailored advisory support and access to global investors,” he said and added that the EBRD recently welcomed eight new startups into the programme.
Advisor to the Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation, Jovan Milić, representative of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Mihailo Vesović, and Science Attaché of the Italian Embassy, Luciano Catani, spoke at the gathering too.
Inovathon will be organized in cooperation with the Italian Chamber of Commerce, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Impact Hub.
This post is also available in: Italiano