The Innovation Fund’s Investment Committee awarded today EUR 2.1 million for Mini and Matching grants to 18 Serbian enterprises selected from a total of 125 applications submitted in response to the third call for proposals that ended on April 15, 2013. The Innovation Fund is implementing both programs within the Innovation Serbia Project, which is financed through a EUR 8.4 million donation form EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) and administered by the World Bank.

“The Innovation Fund has proven to be an effective vehicle for channeling EU Grants funds and stimulating competitiveness of Serbian innovative companies,” said Zarko Obradovic, PhD, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development. He added, “Financial support of the European Union and the expert support of the World Bank were criticalin pursuing the mission of the Innovation Fund in Serbia. Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development will continue to support the Innovation Fund efforts in stimulating our innovative enterprises and expanding international collaboration.”

To date, Innovation Fund has awarded over EUR 4.7 million to 41 projects selected from more than 300 applications. The Innovation Fund continuesto encourage collaboration between the private sector and academia in commercialization and R&D. Over 40% Mini Grant and 33% Matching Grant applications involve academic collaboration.

Mr. Loup Brefort, World Bank’s Country Manager for Serbia added,“The success of the Innovation Fund derives from the contribution of international professionals on its independent Investment Committee, ensuring integrity in the decision process.This approach serves as a model for institutions in other countries implementing similar support programs.”“Our support to the Innovation sector in Serbia is already showing tangible results, it improving the competitiveness of Serbian companies and has helped to place Serbian products on the global market. We are pleased how quickly the – Innovation Fund has established itself as a motor of innovation in Serbia and are glad to see the amount of innovative ideas and energy which exists here, which is shown by the volume of applications for financing”, said H.E. Vincent Degert, Head of the European Union delegation in Serbia, 

“What is quite notable is that 8 out of the 18 projects selected for financing are returning projects from previous cycles. This outcome is a testament to the true entrepreneurial spirit among Serbian entrepreneurs and their faith in their ideas, and the value of feedback the applicants received from the independent Investment Committee”, said Natasha Kapil, Project Team Leader, and Senior Innovation Policy Specialist at the World Bank.

”Today’s awards are an opportunity for the enterprises to reduce the risk of developing new products and services, and achieve tangible results in growing their companies. Financial support for enterprise R&D through Mini and Matching Grants Programs is essential for encouraging entrepreneurship and building knowledge based businesses”, said Ljiljana Kundakovic, Interim Managing Director of the Innovation Fund. Innovation Fund announced today continuation of the call for proposals for both Mini and Matching Grants Programs. The deadline for submission of application is September 30, 2013.