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North Macedonia’s government approved the 2022-2026 Accelerated Economic Growth Plan, which includes a €27M hybrid investment fund that will focus on startups and innovative companies.
According to Kosta Petrov, director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development (FITR) this development marks a historic day for the Macedonian startup ecosystem.
“The state will participate in the Investment Fund with €10M, while the remaining €17M will be from private capital and international financial institutions. The investment fund will be managed by an internationally selected Fund Management Company, which is registered in accordance with the Law on Alternative Investment Funds in the EU”, Petrov said.
The fund’s investments will range from 100K to €1.5M, meant for Macedonian and regional startups, Petrov added. One of the verticals that the country is interested in investing and developing is artificial intelligence (AI). This month, the FITR formed a working group whose goal is to create the first National Strategy for AI in the country.
“Recently we had the first public call for a digital assistant based on artificial intelligence. For the next year, the plan is to create a special instrument to support startup companies that work with artificial intelligence in the country”, Petrov said earlier this month.
The new investment fund is also supported by the World Bank and is expected to start investing in the second half of 2022.
Currently, there are around 400 active startups in the country that operate in different fields, such as innovation, technology, value creation, and increased growth potential. Most of them focus on the foreign and global markets, in new and emerging industries such as AI, agricultural technology, or biotechnology.
Most of these startups are getting their funding and seed capital through the state-sponsored FITR, which is assisting these startups in most aspects of their work, starting with grants and projects for additional funding.