A total of 5.7 million euros will be allocated to support 103 companies, whose projects have been approved for financial support under the public call “Co-financed grants for technological development for accelerated growth”, announced today at a joint press conference the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, coordination of economic departments and investments, Fatmir Bytyqi and the director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, Kosta Petrov.
Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi pointed out that a record number of applications were submitted to this public call, which proves that in our country there is a really large number of enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who, thanks to such instruments, feel the courage and boldness to create a project and turn it into reality.
“With the final selection after the public call for co-financed grants for technological development, support of a total of 103 companies with 2149 employees was approved. As usual with FITD instruments, the largest number are small companies, a total of 69, micro companies are 21 and medium companies are 13. Compared to last year and the Public Call for Co-financed Grants for Quick Adjustment from Covid-19 and for which the budget was 1.5 million euros, this year the selected companies will receive support in the amount of 5.7 million euros, which marks an increase in funding by 280%, with the total value of projects in the amount of 11 million euros” said Bytyqi.
The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development is a real home for all micro, small and medium companies, and in their portfolio in just four years, with the companies presented at the press conference, there are already 646 entities that have realized, are realizing or will start realization with projects in a total value of 85.3 million euros.
“I am especially glad that a solid percentage of the total number of selected, almost 30% of the companies are start-ups, young companies, which means that we have contributed to the development of new ideas, new businesses and new concepts. Namely, this is the main essence of the financial support we provide as a Government, through the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development. To encourage enthusiasts to dare to translate their unique idea into reality, and we to help and lend a hand when they need it most. As a man who is a strong supporter of the growing participation of women in business, I would like to emphasize that I am proud of the fact that there is a significantly increased interest among women entrepreneurs from all regions in the country. Of the selected ones, almost 70% of the companies have a woman as owner or manager “, stressed Bytyqi and added that the Government recognizes the potential of creative and hardworking people and that is why various instruments and programs are created, which are created to help citizens achieve their ideas.
The director of FITD, Kosta Petrov, said that out of the approved projects, 81 are new, while 22 are companies that are already beneficiaries of financial support for some of the public calls of FITD. He pointed out that with this public call, FITD encouraged young people to develop innovative solutions and opportunities to cope with the challenges they face, aroused great interest, as evidenced by the fact that this public call received a record number of applications of 706 companies, of which 540 are companies applying for the first time to one of the public calls of the Fund.
“The selected companies will work on projects in 16 different areas, mostly from: technology industry, construction, health and agriculture. In terms of organizational structure, 62 companies are DOOEL, 31 companies are DOO, 9 are PZU and one company is AD. Most of the companies (74) are over 6 years old, while the other (29) companies are startup companies” said Petrov.
The director of the Fund also expressed his satisfaction that more and more companies, led by women, are applying with quality projects on the instruments of the Fund.
“In order to develop women’s entrepreneurship, a positive fact is that there is increased interest among women entrepreneurs from all regions in the country, so FITD analyzes show that 70 companies have a woman as owner or manager. The companies come from 20 cities across the country, mostly from: Skopje, Strumica, Tetovo, Gostivar and Bitola” said Petrov.
The director of the Fund explained the whole procedure until the final selection. He said that with the launch of the call, the Fund faced the largest, record interest expressed for FITD instruments by companies, for joint co-financing. Over 700 companies applied for this public call, with the requested amount being 6 times over the total budget of 6 million euros.
“This also shows that the companies have confidence in the established processes of the Fund, as well as in the evaluation that is done entirely by external persons. In the first phase, the companies went through the primary selection of project proposals, in which the evaluation was performed by domestic experts from 22 areas of expertise. In the second phase (final evaluation phase) were the companies that received an average rating of at least 51 points. In the final selection, 585 companies were evaluated by the Investment Approval Committee, which consists of five top experts, world-class entrepreneurs: Marvin Liao, former commercial director at Yahoo !, Asher Siddiqui, who is part of the management team that led the transformation of Etisalat into the UAE, Noel Gregor Patterson Jones, international expert and member of the European Investment Strategy Fund; Sharma, an expert in the field of circular economy, with many years of experience in innovation and launching new products” explained Petrov.
The director of FITD pointed out that the companies that were not supported within the call received instructions from the Committee on how to improve the project proposals and apply.
“Our goal is not to discourage but to support applicants, and that is why the opportunities for companies do not end when a project is rejected. In the practice so far, we have a solid number of companies that in the following public calls were supported with improved projects. This strongly motivates us to further improve the processes, to adjust the instruments and to increase the support to the applicant companies, all in order to meet the needs of the private sector” concluded the director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, Kosta Petrov.