Serbia’s Innovation Fund to provide EUR 20m worth of grants to boost SMEs

© jarmoluk / Pixabay

The Serbian Innovation Fund is planning on allocating EUR 20m to develop innovative technologies, products, and services that have market commercialization potential. The funds will be available to SMEs as part of a new project called “Increased Innovation Capacity and Technological Readiness of SMEs”.

A large part of the money allocated by the Fund is contributed from EU’s Pre-Accession Assistance funds (an instrument used for financial support of EU candidate countries). The other sources for the fund are the budget of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development as well as a loan agreement between Serbia and The World Bank.

How to apply

Innovative companies can now apply for grants under the project through the Serbian Innovation Fund’s Mini Grants Program, Matching Grants Program, and Collaborative Grant Scheme Program. The first Public Call, worth EUR 9m is open until September 15th, 2021, at 3:00 PM. Project applications from all areas of science and technology and all industrial sectors can be submitted through the IF portal. The next Public Call is expected in the end of November 2021.

Grant programmes

The Mini Grants Program targets private young enterprises and informal teams which are engaged in the development of technological innovations that meet a clear market need. The amount of financing that the Innovation Fund awards under the Mini Grants Program covers a maximum of 70% and up to EUR 80,000 of the total approved project budget. The duration of the projects should be up to 12 months.

Through the Matching Grants Program, financial support of up to EUR 300,000 per project is awarded, and the beneficiaries are micro, small or medium enterprises with majority private ownership registered in Serbia. The support enables companies to develop new products, services and technologies with high added value and encourage the commercialization of research and development of existing innovative companies, as well as the establishment of cooperation/partnerships with international companies/organizations. The funding allocated by the Fund covers a maximum of 70% of the total eligible project costs for micro and small enterprises, and 60% for medium-sized enterprises. Projects can last up to 24 months.

The Collaborative Grant Scheme Program (CGS program) is intended for consortia consisting of at least one Serbian micro, small or medium private-sector company and at least one Serbian registered public sector R&D organization. The financial support of up to EUR 300,000 per project allows consortia to implement joint projects to create high-value products, services, technologies, and technological processes through applied research and development. The IF co-financing covers a maximum of up to 70% of the total approved project budget for projects whose Lead Applicant is a micro or small company, or up to 60% of the total approved project budget for projects whose Lead Applicant is a medium-sized company. Duration of the projects is up to 24 months.

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