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The Serbia Innovation Fund will allocate €6M to tech startups and R&D consortiums

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Founded in 2011, the Serbian Innovation Fund has a mission to accelerate the exchange of technology know-how and to develop more linkages between research and academia, on the one side, and entrepreneurs and existing companies on the other in order to make Serbia more competitive in the international markets. The Fund is mainly funded by the EU’s Pre-Accession Assistance funds, with other contributions being the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development as well as funds coming from a loan between Serbia and the World Bank. It has an independent governance structure, an international peer review system, and an experienced Committee of investment professionals who in the past ten years have ensured the allocation of around €37M for 222 different innovation projects.

Recently, The Fund announced the opening of a public call of a total amount of €6M that will award grants for the development of tech products and services within its Mini Grants Program and Collaborative Grant Scheme Program. The two programs will allocate respectively up to €80K per startup and €300K per consortium consisting of at least one company and one science organization. The Fund accepts applications from all areas of science, technology, and the industrial sector, and the documentation that is required to be included in the application consists of a business plan, project budget, project presentation, financial forecast, environmental screening questionnaire, and bios of the people in the team. All the necessary templates can be found on the webpage of the Innovation Fund and applications will also be accepted through the online portal of the Fund up until April 29, 2021. 

More about the two programs: financing, eligibility, and previous projects 

The Mini Grants Program targets early-stage startups that develop solutions for which there is a market need. The €80K financing, which the Fund will allocate to young tech teams will be up to 70% of the total project budget, while the rest 30% are envisioned to come from the applicants or other private investors. In order to be considered eligible, the startups need to be in 51% majority private ownership of Serbian residents and need to be less than 5 years old from the time they have been legally incorporated in the Republic of Serbia. The teams must also consist of up to 5 members and if they haven’t yet established a company at the time of the application, it will be necessary that they do so in order to receive the funds. The estimated duration of the projects within the Mini Grants Program is one full year.

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.