“Most researchers, as many as 72%, work in higher education and state institutions (26% of them). At the same time, only 3.3% of companies are innovating in collaboration with universities and scientific institutions. This discrepancy is one of the main problems in the transformation towards the innovative economy”; these are the assessments made at the presentation of NALED’s Startek programme in support of innovation and digital transformation.
According to Dusan Vasiljevic, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at NALED, the project funded by the Philip Morris Company with five million dollars will last three years.
“This year, in March, a competition for the allocation of one million dollars was launch and lasted until 4 June. 230 companies participated, mostly small and medium-sized companies and startups. In September, we will select projects that will receive assistance and over the next two years, two more competitions will be launched with a budget of approximately one million dollars. Plus, we will provide mentoring and vouchers for the purchase of consulting services. The assistance to businesses ranges from $15,000 to $100,000,” says NALED.
Serbia is far below the EU average of 2.19% of GDP in terms of R&D investment, with only 0.89% of GDP in 2019. At the same time, private sector investment in R&D is very low, only 0.36% of GDP.
However, as noted by NALED, some progress has been made as the budget for these purposes has been increased from 100 million in 2017 to 972 million dinars in 2020, with various tax breaks accompanying investments in innovations.
When it comes to innovation, it is interesting to note that 2/3 of companies have no budget for research and development, as these are mainly micro and small companies. Most of the companies that have not invested in innovation say that they do not need such investments.
About 90% of companies finance innovations with their own funds or loans from relatives and friends. Just under 8% use bank loans for this. Furthermore, it seems that they are completely unaware of state support programmes, so about 80% of companies have not applied for financial assistance from these programmes.
This post is also available in: Italiano