DFITD Festim Halili: Supporting quality and innovative ideas will be a priority

  1. What role should innovation and technology development play in our country?

In all developed societies and those that strive for substantial development, innovations and technologies are primarily intended to advance processes, modernize human life, and facilitate the way things work. From an economic point of view, technology rationalizes costs, opens up new opportunities for the business community and offers solutions to problems in various fields and industries. Companies that are in step with global technology trends and innovations, at the same time encourage and create new jobs.

This year, our program places special emphasis on implementing new calls for digitalization of the public sector, which will continue the involvement of domestic companies with innovative culture and capacity in meeting the needs of the public sector and society as a whole. We plan investments in health technology, fintech, innovation infrastructure, support for successful global education programs through which our students and young people will engage in global initiatives, and many other activities.

  1. Will we have investments in innovative development of companies that are working to create new jobs?

This is an institution that has so far supported 784 companies (projects), and according to the analysis made by FITD at the end of last year, the data show that the companies supported by the Fund in 2020 employ a total of 8439 employees. Almost all public calls and challenges support projects that include hiring teams, more precisely creating new jobs. Among other things, we plan public calls for technology development and commercialization of innovation in companies.

  1. Will support be provided for companies and startups?

So far, 393 startup companies have been supported, with a joint investment of 32 million euros. Startup companies have the opportunity to co-finance through various instruments of the Fund, but this year we are planning a public call intended for this type of companies, “Startup 4”.

  1. Will there be cooperation with international entrepreneurs?

The Fund has successful long-term cooperation with a number of international organizations in various fields. Last year some of the well-known international entrepreneurs who shared their knowledge with the domestic audience for free were Bjorn Trowery – Consumer Communications Manager at Facebook HQ, Adam Mitchell-Haggs – expert in circular economy, innovation and venture building, James Gregson, Lego’s Creative Digital Director. We are actively working on deepening the cooperation with entrepreneurs from several countries, which will enable quality exchange of knowledge and experiences with those from our country. This year we plan to deepen the cooperation with universities, including researchers, professors and innovators from developed countries.

  1. In your opinion, do we have young people with potential in our country who can achieve their goals and help the country?

Most of the teams in the supported companies, especially the startups, are young people who create products and services and use their talent in our country and export what they create.

If I answer this question from the position of director of FITD then the success stories of young people and their projects speak a proportion. In our country we have young people who specialize in the field of artificial intelligence and successfully deliver advanced software products for leading world companies and brands, but also for domestic institutions. We supported the project “Synapse”, which aims to develop and upgrade the innovative Airport Briefing software solution, and is the first product of its kind in the global aviation industry. It is a unique tool for a centralized, “one-stop shop” and quality platform for qualification, training and competence operations of pilots with routes and airports. There are a number of projects in the FITD portfolio that we can be proud of. However, we will try to prioritize the trend of supporting quality and innovative ideas.

  1. Will the people from this institution be discriminated, which means that the benefit of this institution will be able to have only party people / parties in power?

In my mandate, I will work on transparency, quality and inclusion of all regions and categories of citizens to be key factors in the process of granting support from the Fund. I want to point out that the selection processes and phases that are granted grants are clearly defined and published on each public call. I want to remind you that the final decision on which project will be approved for financing is done by the Investments Approval Committee, which is composed of five foreign experts and in any segment, employees have no impact at all. The FITD team participates only in administrative control, that is, if the documentation filed by applicants is complete. We understand that the number of support companies is much greater than the real financial opportunity for support from the Fund, therefore the criticism and the focus of opinion is on these processes, which will motivate me to work more and we are maximally transparent by encouraging the highest quality projects, which I emphasized at the first meeting earlier with the members of the Commission of External Experts. The Fund will continue to encourage and displays successful stories of entrepreneurs with maximum and professional support, companies that with our help introduce new technology and improve production, youth teams to introduce new services or decide to develop their business in our country and not to do it abroad.

Link to interview: nistori.com