Total 706 domestic companies applied to the public call for co-financed grants for technological development for accelerated economic growth of the Fund for innovation and technological development which was closed today. This is a record number of applications submitted under any previous public call conducted by FITD.
During the 60-day call, 20 info sessions were held for potential users and the application package was taken over by 1588 companies.
The main goal of this FITD instrument is to support domestic companies to create conditions for overcoming the consequences of the economic crisis, to achieve accelerated growth, to increase competitiveness in international markets by introducing new, innovative, advanced, "green" and digital technologies for their transformation. Besides the micro, small and medium enterprises, the private health institutions (PHI) also had the opportunity to apply for the call.
The total budget of the public call is 6 million euros, or more precisely up to 2,500,000 denars for micro enterprises, up to 5,000,000 denars for small enterprises and up to 10,000,000 denars for medium enterprises. Through this call, FITD provides 70% of the project budget for a micro or small enterprise or 60% for a medium-sized enterprise.
For the companies that applied, there is a process of primary selection of project proposals, in which the evaluation will be performed by domestic experts from 22 areas of expertise. The evaluation is based on the following criteria: technological progress and degree of digitalization (35 points), project quality (10 points), capacity of the project team (10 points) and impact of the project with 45 points. Companies that have women managers and come from different regions will have an advantage in evaluating the project proposals, in order to encourage balanced regional development as well as women entrepreneurship.
In the second phase, the projects will be reviewed by the Investment Approval Committee (IAC), an independent body composed of five international experts. At their request, pitching (public presentation) of the project proposals is optionally provided. For the selected list of project proposals, the FITD team will perform an administrative check, whether the application documentation is complete. This is followed by a final decision by the Investment Approval Committee, according to the defined criteria.
Besides Noel Gregor Patterson Jones and Vibhu Sharma, whose term began in 2019, two months ago IAC got three new members, they are: Asher Siddiqui and Gunter Fellinger. Liao, who was elected as a new president of IAC, has been the CEO of Yahoo! for more than a decade. He is a former partner of 500 Startups and Business Angel with over 19 years of experience in venture capital, technology businesses and startups. Marvin has invested in 500 startups since 2014. Asher Siddiqui has over 20 years of experience in corporate development, with realized deals worth about 8 billion US dollars. He was also part of the "500 Startups" in the United States and part of the management team that led the transformation of "Etisalat" in the UAE. Asher began his career as an entrepreneur in Britain and the United States in the late 1990s.
The third of the new members of IAC, Gunter Fellinger is the General Secretary of CEE BC - Austria. For the past 28 years, Gunther has traveled and contributed to the transformation of the business sector in Central and Eastern Europe and has been well acquainted with the economies and challenges of young entrepreneurs and new businesses in the region. Gunter, after 11 years of living in Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo, has been positioned in Kiev since 2016.
For applicants who will be rejected, FITD has introduced a new mentoring program in order to further develop their projects and reapply in the future.