Based on Article 27 and Article of the Law on Innovation Activity (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia” No. 79/13, 137/13, 41/14, 44/15, 6/16, 53/16, 190/16 and 64/18), and regarding Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology from 20.01.2020, Arch. No. 01-514/17 the Rules for supplementing the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology from 16.03.2020, Arch. No. 01-797/6, and the Rules for supplementing the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in the priority areas of science and technology from 01.06.2020, Arch. No. 01-1662/5, the Management Board of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development on 19.07.2021 adopted the following:
Public Call for a digital assistant based on artificial intelligence / AI-based digital assistant / for the needs of the state aid programs of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia realized through the Plan for Economic Growth
In today’s dynamic world, the digital practices provided by governments and business no longer match the way people communicate. In the face of high global demand, consumers and citizens expect to quickly and easily gain access to the information they need.
AI-based digital assistants offer 24-hour service, enable direct communication with the users, as well as a quick response to their requests. The assistants have the ability to initiate proactive communication with the clients by offering personalized referrals, which increases the quality of the client experience. More importantly, AI-based virtual assistants provide savings when it comes to costs for providing customer services.
AI-based digital assistants offer incredible opportunities for the governments to provide a higher level of service quality through a more favorable and direct access to them for the citizens, without them having to wait for another human being to tell them how, when or whether they can receive such services.
Other expected benefits for the citizens:
Digital assistants also contribute to the public assistants receiving benefits by enabling the employees to replace the routine technical work with activities and tasks that have higher added value and require additional emotional engagement that such an assistant could not replace. The expected benefits from the implementation for the state agencies are as follows:
Through this call, the Fund in cooperation with the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Economic Affairs at the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, organizes a challenge for creating innovative solutions that facilitate the communication between the user and the computer and that will offer a unique experience to the clients that are domestic and foreign companies and investors who use state aid according to the Law on the Financial Support of Investments (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia, No. 83 dated 08.05.2018).
The introduction of artificial intelligence in the process of communication with existing and potential investors will bring a number of benefits, primarily in terms of the quality of the information received and the time savings on both sides.
The very elimination of the human factor will mean equalization of the information received from different institutions, as well as elimination of the possible subjectivity in the process. The answers that the system will generate will be standardized and accurate, provided in real time and constantly available to users. In addition, the space for error in communicating the information and data requested by users will be drastically reduced.
One of the main benefits of the smart system is the scope of information that will be provided on the basis of various topics, laws and programs related to state aid, as opposed to the limited data that each institution can provide within its competencies.
The introduction of this innovation will bring potential savings of financial resources for the institutions involved in attracting, managing and maintaining contact with the investors.
The AI Digital Assistant should include the Plan for Economic Growth of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia that is implemented through three pillars:
Pillar I: measures to support investments through the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia;
Pillar II: measures to support competitiveness through the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia;
Pillar III: measures to support innovation that are implemented through the instruments and challenges of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development.
The AI-based digital assistant we are looking for in this challenge should have the following features:
The implementation of the project may be in the duration of a total of 24 months: 12 months for development and implementation and 12 months for maintenance and upgrade.
The Fund may, based on justified circumstances, approve extensions of the project implementation for up to 6 (six) months.
The competitor must be a legal entity that meets the following conditions:
If the project proposal involves cooperation of the Competitor with another company, the conditions for the partner are the same as for the Leading Competitor.
A total budget of 9,000,000 (million) denars has been provided for funding a project within this call.
The Fund provides funding of 100% (one hundred percent) of the total project budget for the winning project proposal, in a maximum amount of 9,000,000 (million) denars.
If there are not enough quality project proposals or the conditions for financing are not met, the Fund reserves the right not to award funds.
The project proposal should include activities for development of a new, innovative solution in stages from a confirmed concept to a solution functional in a real environment.
The competitor should have experience and references from previously developed and proven solutions for an AI-based digital assistant in Macedonian, Albanian and English in the country and abroad.
The activities may include:
The abovementioned list of activities is not limiting.
Costs eligible for funding
Eligible funding costs within the project proposals submitted at the competitions, i.e. the challenges are:
Ineligible funding costs within the project proposals submitted at the competitions, i.e. the challenges are:
The costs for activities that were previously financed from other sources are also not eligible for funding.
The main criteria for evaluating project proposals shall be:
The Fund reserves the right to negotiate with the competitors regarding the defining of the activities and the budget details of the project on the basis of recommendations received from the Evaluation and Selection Committee, prior to the signing of the Awarded Contract.
The Fund reserves the right not to award a contract if there are insufficient quality project proposals or the prerequisites for awarding the contract under these Rules and the requirements set forth in the Public Call are not met.
The criteria and sub-criteria for evaluation of the projects are described in the form Evaluation Table.
In case the project is based on existing intellectual property rights, the Competitor shall be obliged, before signing the Award Granting Contract, to submit proof of the right to use the intellectual property in the form of a licensing agreement, in-kind contribution agreements, or other type of agreement confirming that the Competitor has the right to use the intellectual property on which the project results are based.
The Fund is not liable for intellectual property rights disputes between the Beneficiary and third parties.
All intellectual property rights and know-how that will be created during the implementation of the Project and / or as a result of the implementation of the Project belong to the Beneficiary and if applicable, the Beneficiary should protect the intellectual property rights.
The Evaluation and Selection Committee shall comprise of:
The Committee operates on the basis of a Rules of Procedure of the Evaluation and Selection Committee that is adopted at the first meeting of the Committee.
NOTE: At the request of the members of the Committee, the Fund may hire experts who will provide expert opinion on certain applications, appropriate to the area of their expertise. In such a case, the expert opinion will be taken into account by the members of the Committee in the evaluation of the application.
The procedure, from the receipt of the submitted applications until the selection and the adoption of the final decision on selection and awarding of funds to the beneficiary/ies, consists of the following steps:
The selected solutions will be fully available free of charge to all citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, at least within one year after the completion of the project. The policy for access and use of the solutions by citizens of other countries shall be determined by the applicant.
When applying, the following documents must be submitted:
Project documentation (signed and stamped by an authorized representative of the Competitor, and available through the Fund’s website):
The overall documentation should be submitted in Macedonian language. The project documentation must be submitted on the forms prepared by the Fund.
In case a competitor is awarded a grand, the Fund reserves the right to request other documentation, which should be submitted as soon as possible.
The application deadline for the Public Call is 20.09.2021, until 2:00 PM.
Only those project proposals that are submitted in the above manner and within the above deadline will be considered for funding.
The rules and procedures for implementation, monitoring and supervision of the project are defined in the document Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in priority areas of science and technology from 20.01.2020 and Rules for supplementing the Rules for organizing and conducting competitions and challenges to encourage innovation in priority areas of science and technology from 16.03.2020 and 01.06.2020.
For all additional information you can:
– write to us at the e-mail address: email@example.com
– call the telephone number: 02 3145 258
In order to help you prepare the project proposals, the Fund will organize info-events with representatives of the Fund and the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Economic Affairs at the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and mentoring workshops during the call.
The information about these activities will be published in a timely manner on the webpage of the Fund, as well as on the official profiles on the social networks of the Fund (Facebook and Instagram).
Линк до веб страница: https://vicepremier-ekonomija.gov.mk/
Линк до План за економски раст: https://vicepremier-ekonomija.gov.mk/?q=node/275
Министерство за економија-како носител на Законот за финансиска поддршка на инвестиции
Линк до веб страна: https://www.economy.gov.mk/
Линк до Закон за финансиска поддршка на инвестиции: https://www.economy.gov.mk/doc/2362
Дирекција за технолошко индустриски развојни зони-како орган задолжен за управување со зоните
Линк до веб страна: https://fez.gov.mk/?lang=MK
Агенција за странски инвестиции и промоција на извозот-како орган којшто е надлежен за контрола на комплетност на документација за договорите по ЗФПИ
Линк до веб страна: https://investnorthmacedonia.gov.mk/
Fund for Innovation and Technological Development
Линк до веб страна: https://www.fitr.mk/