The Fund for Innovation and Technological Development (FITD) and Sparkasse Bank Macedonia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, which will provide greater promotion and availability of the “Step by Step” program, which will enable domestic startups to receive various packages for financial, educational and mentoring support.
“The cooperation of Sparkasse Bank Macedonia with the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development will contribute to the creation of new opportunities for financing innovative businesses, which in addition to the support they receive in the form of grants, will have additional access to bank’s loans, also including mentoring and education provided by the Step by Step program. Our expert team provides the necessary expert support to young managers for quality development of the necessary business plans, and at the same time our partners help them improve their entrepreneurial skills and advice on the proper use of funds in order to further develop and sustain their businesses. By supporting start-up businesses and their networking in a community, we fulfill our mission to be supportive for young people, enabling them to realize their dream of owning a business in our country” said Gligor Bishev, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Sparkasse Bank Macedonia.
Startups that will apply for co-financed grants on public calls of FITD, through the program will have the opportunity to ensure their own participation on more favorable terms. Companies that operate for no more than 12 months will be able to provide a loan of up to 10,000 euros, while startups that exist for up to 3 years will be able to receive a loan in the maximum amount of 25,000 euros.
“The fact that five banks in less than half a year in FITD saw a partner with whom they can make substantial changes in the startup ecosystem in our country, for us means that the economic community recognizes the changes we have made in the past. I am glad that the partnership with Sparkasse Bank Macedonia for startup companies will mean great support on many levels and an incentive to encourage the ideas they have to turn them into a profitable business” said Kosta Petrov, director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development.
The beneficiaries who will be granted a loan will be assigned a mentor based on their needs and who will advise them on the development of their operations for a period of one year. Mentors will be business people with many years of business experience and developed partner networks, who want to further transfer their knowledge.
As the first bank to introduce a specialized educational and mentoring program for support and access to financial resources in the form of bank loans for start-up businesses, Sparkasse Bank Macedonia shows its responsible banking operations and through the “Step by Step” program contributes to strengthening the domestic economy and also provides social support for companies that are in the initial stage of developing their own business.
It started in 2019 and after two successfully implemented cycles enabled financing of about 20 start-up businesses, which today are stable and successful micro companies on the Macedonian market, with a total amount of credit financing of about 200,000 euros.
By concluding future partnerships and collaborations, as well as networking of all interested institutions in the non-governmental sector, Sparkasse Bank Macedonia continues its mission to provide access to finance and an educational program for young and talented innovators to develop their business idea into sustainable business and thus improving the conditions for domestic entrepreneurship, but also to encourage the creative and innovative industry in the country.