Great interest in Covid’s economic adjustment instrument– 166 companies applied in the first cycle

A record number of over 2,000 domestic companies submitted application packages to the public call for rapid economic recovery from Covid 19, to the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, of which 166 submitted project proposals in the first cycle.

The companies demand almost 90% of the projected budget of 200 million denars, due to which additional funds will be requested, said Jovan Despotovski, the director of the FITD. The total investment cycle is almost 300 million denars, of which 39 %, i.e. 112.000 denars come from the companies’ own co-financing

“The results in this cycle show that the domestic economy is aiming towards recovery through concrete investment plans. In less than 45 days we had over 2100 submitted application packages which indicates that the domestic economy is transforming this period of survival into a period of planning out development. The fact that 90 % of the funds will be used in the first cycle, means that each subsequent cycle the Fund in cooperation with the government will work on providing additional funds “, said Despotovski

According to the director, 88 % of the applicants continue into the next stage of evaluation, while the remaining 12 % were ineligible. It is encouraging that 76 % of them have applied for the first time to the Fund, 16% have applied before but did not receive any funds, so they try again, and 8% have used funds. The companies will invest in 15 different sectors, including sales, trade and distribution, health, ecology, agriculture, and for the first time the IT sector does not prevail in the submitted applications. It is especially positive that with this call there is increased interest among companies from all regions, as well as an increased number of companies with women entrepreneurs.

“This is especially important as it is our pilot project and we have managed to motivate domestic companies from all regions to apply. Women entrepreneurship is also promoted given that 56% of the applicants are headed by women entrepreneurs. This shows that with a good policy and a well-targeted measure we can encourage processes that will give concrete results and stimulate economic activity. The numbers show that we have succeeded”, added Despotovski.

Additional evaluation criteria have been introduced in this call as well as more points for companies run by women and for companies coming from less developed regions

In terms of the volume of companies, most applications come from small companies, 51 percent, as well as from micro enterprises, 42 percent. For large businesses not covered by the support, Despotovski announced the creation of a new model together with the Chambers of Commerce and the World Bank.

The pre-selection phase is expected to be completed by the end of July, and the final selection stage by mid-August, after which the official results will be announced and contracts will be signed. Ahead of the second cycle, the Fund together with the World Bank and the Chambers of Commerce will approach all 2,100 companies that have expressed interest in support.

“We will be open for all their suggestions and proposals to further develop this model for support. In the next cycle, we will be also focusing on extending support, and talks are underway for a special measure on the export sector. At the beginning of September, with the second cycle of support, we can expect the continuation of this support and possibly additional measures that will result from the consultations with the chambers. I appeal to all domestic companies to be actively involved in this process, to give their opinion and suggestions”, noted the director of FITD.

This call is part of the of the third set of economic measures of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and is intended for rapid economic recovery, for micro, small and medium companies with potential for successful operation. The call was open from 29.05 to 03.07.2020.

The presentation of the results is available at the following llink.

Press conference in Macedonian language https://youtu.be/bMnjEQo988Q

Press conference in Albanian https://youtu.be/oflk616WScU