Established Startup Council to create a strategy for rapid development of the startup ecosystem

The Fund for Innovation and Technology Development for the first time, has established a Startup Council whose primary goal is to represent the startup community and its interests in the process of creating and adopting policies that should contribute to further growth and development of the Macedonian startup ecosystem. This advisory body will unite all relevant actors who have their shares in the startup community in North Macedonia.

"Our goal is to create a short-term and long-term strategy at the state level and to use our partners’ expertise for a rapid develop of the startup ecosystem. In the next 90 days, this Startup Council will work on a Policy Change Plan - redefining what a startup is, locating the problems, working on proposed solutions and legal changes, simplification of administrative procedures, greater education, opening opportunities for networking of Macedonian startups and development of a social entrepreneurship strategy.

At the same time, we are creating conditions to turn the country into an attractive destination for digital nomads. We will be one of the few countries that will offer foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to move and work from here. "These people will make a positive impact on the local economy and open opportunities for cooperation and networking with Macedonian startups," said the director of FITD, Kosta Petrov.

The President of the Startup Council will be the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Coordination of Economic Departments and Investments, Fatmir Bytyqi. Members of the Council in this phase are Aneta Pesheva from MASIT, Dejan Aleksov from Startup Macedonia, Gjorgji Rafajlovski, Stefan Mitevski and Bistra Kumbarovska as representatives of the startup community who will work pro bono. The Startup Council remains open to anyone who wants to get involved with their ideas and make a contribution.

"Our commitment at MASIT is to keep young and educated staff from information and telecommunications sciences in the country. I hope that with this project we will mostly help the young and talented IT engineers who will find a reason not to leave the country," said Aneta Pesheva, President of MASIT.

Dejan Aleksov, President of Startup Macedonia and the Operational Director of the Technology Park - SEEUTechPark at SEE University, Gjorgji Rafajlovski expect that the quality and experience of all Council members will provide strong solutions, especially in the part of "refreshing" the regulation that will be in accordance with the needs of startup companies.

"In the past 10 years, I have been actively working on the support and development of green and social businesses and organizations in the Western Balkans region and globally. This initiative is an extremely important opportunity for greater connection of Macedonian startups with networks, partners and impact investors who are actively working on the "Sustainable Development Goals" (SDGs).In that way, we will internationalize the startup community and we will also position a new story about North Macedonia, which I think is already being written by many new businesses, women entrepreneurs or social entrepreneurs, "said Bistra Kumbarovska, managing partner of the company Heartbeats Innovation & Communication based in Vienna and a member of the Council.

"We are founding this Council to prove that great change is possible only if we act together to make it happen. That is why we are taking concrete steps that will bring results in the long run. "With a government that is a real partner to the young people in the country, I am convinced that we will progress and grow together, and that we will write many more successful startup stories, here and globally," said Petrov.

The main task of the Council is locating the problems and proposing solutions that will respond to the real needs of entrepreneurs, i.e. startups. The council will be an active participant in creating future policies that apply to these companies, will propose measures aimed at improving the organization of the work of the public sector and institutions, which will result in simplified procedures and better public services, as well as recommendations for reducing the burden and cost on startups with interventions in the legislation and legal framework for easier access to capital and its mobilization. The purpose of these activities is increasing the number of startups and positioning the country as a startup and regional hub.