This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.

Serbia is one of the first countries in the region to adopt the so-called innovation imperative – the idea that successful participation in the world economy based on knowledge implies the ability to adapt and improve technological and research capacities based on cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Active since 2011, the Innovation Fund has been a pioneer in the institutional implementation of this imperative - primarily by increasing the capacity of start-ups and the available resources for their growth. The Fund aims to improve the links between science, technology, and the economy and contribute to encouraging the development of innovative entrepreneurship. 

One of such programs is Smart Start, which provides support to highly promising teams in their efforts to validate their business ideas and demonstrate the future usefulness of their technology through the development of a first prototype or a minimum viable product.

The fund closes the third public call for participants, with a total of 175 submitted applications from promising teams that offer scalable technical solutions to various market problems.

The process of selecting innovative projects for funding includes an international assessment by an independent expert committee. After the first stage of evaluation, the best teams will have the opportunity to present themselves before the commission, and the final decision will be based on the quality of the projects and the available funds of the public call.

The expected time for making a decision on the shortlist is the end of March, while the finalization of the final selection of projects will be in May this year.

To the participants in the program, the Fund provided 90% of the financing of the total budget of the innovative project and mentoring support for the development of the first prototype.

This program is a response to the need for financial and technical support for young teams at an early stage of development.

Funds for the implementation of this public call were provided from the budget of the Republic of Serbia for 2023, from the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation in the total amount of up to 260 million dinars.


This article is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this program are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government

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