“START-UP HEROES”

Pursuant to Article 27 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), the Corporate Innovation Program arch. no. 01-933/7 dated 22.02.2021 and the Rules for allocating funds by organizing challenges for investing in the realization and placement of market-oriented innovations of newly established trade companies  arch. no. 01-933 / 6 from 22.02.2021, the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development on 22.04.2021, announces the public call for the challenge:

                                          “START-UP HEROES”

Cooperation between the corporate sector and start-ups is key to fostering a culture of innovation in the country. Such cooperation, among others, contributes to increasing the participation of the corporate sector in the development of the start-up ecosystem and to increasing the level of sustainability of start-ups. For start-ups, working with a large company can often be a turning point in their development, and for companies in the corporate sector, it can mean finding new approaches to specific business problems as well as seizing new opportunities.

Our country is known for quality domestic production. However, many small domestic producers face a lack of opportunities to reach as many customers as possible and thus increase their market share. With this public call we provide an opportunity for the small producers, who produce at home, to prove that they know and can cope with the challenges they face, especially in the conditions of Covid-19.

The“Start-up Heroes''challenge shall be implemented in cooperation with TINEX MT DOOEL as a corporate partner of the Fund. It is based on the proposal-initiative and the readiness of Tinex MT DOOEL to contribute to the promotion of the development of small producers by opening the possibility for placement of their innovative products in one of the largest retail chains in the country.

The“Start-up Heroes''challenge is intended for all innovative domestic producers who with a lot of courage and effort have turned their idea into a product for which there is a potential for placement and success in the market. As part of the challenge, they shall be able to implement activities that will prepare their product for successful entry into retail throughout the territory. After the successful and timely completion of the process of preparation of products for market placement, all awarded products within this challenge shall be places on specially marked shelves at predefined sales locations of Tinex MT DOOEL.

Besides Tinex MT DOOEL, the list of partners for this challenge includes:

Increasing Market Employability (IME) Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the FD Factor Trust.

IME’s support shall be directed to the Fund beneficiaries selected for this challenge.

IME shall participate in the total budget for the challenge with funds in amount of 1 (one) million denars. In addition, IME shall provide mentoring support for selected start-ups in their better preparation to be successful suppliers to the supermarket chain, expert advice on finalizing and increasing the attractiveness of their products using neuromarketing and marketing support in organizing a promotional event to present selected products and initial analysis of consumer opinion of products. The conclusion of agreements of the beneficiaries with IME shall follow after the conclusion of the agreements with the Fund.

FD Factor Trust is a financial factoring company that provides financial products for financing trade transactions. As a partner in the “Start-up Heroes” challenge, Factor Trust shall contribute to supporting the development of small producers by offering financial instruments to ensure their liquidity and an uninterrupted operating cycle.

The purpose of the challenge is to promote innovation and competitiveness by establishing a partnership between small producers and company in the corporate sector and to provide easier market access for small newly established companies.

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  • Promotion of products by placing them on specially marked shelves at predefined market locations for a period of 12 months;
  • Creating a brochure for the products from the projects selected for financing and/or supplementing the existing brochures;
  • Assistance in promoting products in markets;
  • Inclusion of products in the integrated digital marketing communication of the market chain;
  • Development of a marketing campaign for TV/radio promotion of the products; and
  • • TINEX-MT shall sign a Cooperation Agreement with the selected competitors in which they shall agree on the conditions for procurement and sale of the awarded product.

 

  • Financial and technical support in the final stages of development of their innovative product;
  • Support in product placement and opportunity for growth and development;
  • Support in improving product quality through certification and other processes that add value to the product;
  • Revenue growth and creating financial sustainability;
  • Support in creating a brand identity and market approach;
  • Support for improving its work process;
  • Support for the acquisition of certain skills;
  • Indirect learning and transfer of know-how and knowledge through mentoring.

The total budget for the challenge is 7 7 million denarswith a maximum amount per application of 600,000 ((six hundred thousand) denarsThe full amount of funds is provided by FITD.

The payment of the funds shall take place as follows: 80% in advance, after signing the agreement, and the remaining 20% shall be paid after the approval of the report for the realized project.

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.

 

 

  • to be a newly established trade company in accordance with the Law on Trade Companies and registered in the Central Registry of the Republic of North Macedonia;
  • to not have been past more than 6 years from the day of establishment of the company, at the time of application;
  • the annual revenues of the company should not exceed 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) EUR in denar countervalue, in accordance with the financial statements for the last two fiscal years (2019 and 2020);
  • to not be affiliated (in accordance with the Law on Trade Companies) with another company whose annual revenues exceed 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) EUR in denar countervalue, except in the case of connection with a higher education, i.e. scientific and research institution;
  • to be predominantly owned by Macedonian citizens;
  • to be a company whose products are not commercially available for sale in market chains in the country and abroad;
  • to meet the commercial and legal requirements for entering the sales portfolio of the market chain;
  • To have no bankruptcy procedure or liquidation procedure initiated against it;
  • To have settled due liabilities on the basis of public duties and contributions;
  • To have no enforcement procedures for collection of due monetary claims initiated against it;
  • To meet the requirements of the Law on State Aid Control and the Decree on the conditions and procedure for granting aid of minor importance ( (de minimis), ie:
    • to not have accumulated more than 200,000 (two hundred thousand) EUR aid of minor importance for a period of three fiscal years, including the requested amount of funds from the Fund in accordance with the Law on State Aid Control and the Regulation on the conditions and the procedure for granting aid of minor importance (de minimis);
    • To have not accumulated more than 100,000.00 (one hundred thousand) euros state aid of minor importance for a period of three fiscal years, including the requested amount of funds from the Fund, if the enterprise is active in the road traffic sector, in accordance with the Law on Control of state aid and the Decree on the conditions and procedure for granting aid of minor importance (de minimis);
    • Not to be engaged in production of coal

Ineligible for funding shall be deemed all project proposals in the following areas:

  • production, trade or service activities that are not in accordance with the law;
  • - production and trade with tobacco, distilled alcoholic beverages and related products (beverages containing alcohol but not exclusively obtained by distillation, but naturally distilled alcohol (obtained from different but natural origin) may also be used for their production by the administration of various plant or other products, or by maceration, coupage (blending), flavoring, dyeing, aging, etc. creating different alcoholic beverages in which ethyl alcohol content is usually higher than 15%, and which may include different types of liqueurs, cocktails, etc.;
  • production and trade in weapons and ammunition of any kind;
  • casinos and other legal entities for organizing games of chance and other fun games;
  • research, development or technical requirements relating to electronic data, programs or solutions relating to:

a) support to any activity that is included in the above-mentioned sectors from line 2, 3 and 4 of this Article

b) online gambling and online casinos and/or

c) pornography;

d) natural-scientific research, development or technical applications relating to human cloning for research or for therapeutic purposes; and/or for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

 

  • Finishing, perfecting and adding value to the product;
  • Marketing activities aimed at bringing innovation to investment readiness and maturity for market introduction;
  • Market testing, research and analysis before entering the market;
  • Fulfilling the conditions and obtaining the necessary documentation for placing the product on the market;
  • Certification, accreditation and other processes and documentation required for placement on the domestic market;
  • Protection of intellectual property.

The abovementioned list of activities is not limiting. Categories of products eligible for funding

  1. Confectionery products - sweet (croissants, chocolate spreads, chocolates, etc.) and salty (chips, snacks, crackers, etc.);
  2. Organic and healthy food (packaged, canned organic and dietary products);
  3. Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages in which the alcohol content is lower than 15%;
  4. Basic food products (milk and dairy products, flour, eggs, oil, vinegar and dressings, honey and sweet spreads, etc.);
  5. Canned products;
  6. Cosmetic products (face, body, hair care, etc.);
  7. Home cleaning and refreshment products.

 

  • Procurement and/or rental of materials and equipment to improve the process of packaging and standardization of the product;
  • Procurement of consumables for market research and analysis (e.g., testers, samples of products for testing, tasting, etc.);
  • Hiring experts/consultants for research and development, market analysis, marketing strategy, innovation management, business development, intellectual property rights, financial management, etc.);
  • Costs related to quality assurance through standardization, certification, etc;
  • Preparation and filing of patent applications, trademark protection and industrial design;
  • Marketing costs related to branding and promotion: designers/consultants to create a brand identity of the product, design of product packaging, design and production of promotional materials and other types of designs for marketing activities to improve the market approach in placing the products;
  • Other costs related to the project (bank commissions, overheads, accounting costs, operating costs, product distribution costs, etc.)

Only the costs incurred during the project in accordance with the approved project budget and realized by the end of the project shall be eligible for funding. The costs provided in the project budget should correspond to the activities provided for its implementation.

 

  • gross salaries;
  • procurement and/or rental of equipment, except equipment related to the packaging process;
  • procurement of raw materials for production;
  • Costs for procurement of goods, services and works from domestic public enterprises;
  • Interest or debt costs on either side;
  • Expenses and provisions for past and possible future losses or debts;
  • Exchange losses, and penalties;
  • Expenses for food and catering;
  • Staff recruitment costs (cost for announcements of job posting, commissions from employment agencies, costs related to candidate selection, etc.) and relocation costs;
  • Cash payments from the special purpose bank account for the project;
  • Costs for consulting services provided by the owner / s to the Beneficiary;
  • Costs for consulting services provided by persons employed by the Beneficiary;
  • Renting of business premises from a lessor who participates in the project activities or is a person related to the Beneficiary;
  • Costs for realization of activities that were previously financed from other sources;
  • Value added tax (VAT) in case the awarded entity is entitled to a VAT refund.

Фондот го задржува правото да преговара со победниците по однос на дефинирање на активностите и буџетот на проектот на основа на препораки добиени од Комисијата за оценување и избор (во натамошниот текст: Комисијата), а пред потпишување на Договорот за доделување на награда.

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 implementation of the project can last for a maximum of 4 (four) months.

The Fund may, based on justified circumstances, approve extensions of the project implementation for additional 1 (one) month based on a request submitted by the Beneficiary.

  • One (1) expert in the field of challenge
  • One (1) expert in the field of business development and/or marketing and sales
  • One (1) representative of TINEX MT DOOEL
  • One (1) representative from the partner ИМЕ
  • One (1) representative of the Fund

The Commission works on the basis of the Rules of Procedure of the Evaluation and Selection Commission which is adopted at the first meeting of the Commission.

NOTE: Upon request of the members of the Committee, the Fund shall have the right to hire experts who shall give an expert opinion on certain applications, appropriate to the area of their expertise. In such a case, the expert opinion shall be taken into account by the members of the Committee when evaluating the application.

  • The process, from the receipt of the received applications to the selection and making the final decision for selection and allocation of funds to the beneficiary/ies, consists of several steps:

    • Administrative verification of the project documentation (whether the documentation is complete and in accordance with the eligibility requirements stated in the public call)
    • First evaluation of the project proposal (pre-selection);
    • Pitching or presentation of the pre-selected project proposals before the Commission for evaluation and selection (optional);
    • Selection of the best project proposals; 
    • Signing contracts;
  • Degree of innovation
  • Project team capacity
  • Пазарен потенцијал
  • Project quality
  • Impact

The main criteria and sub-criteria for project evaluation are given in the Evaluation Table form.

  • 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):
    • Project Application
    • Project Budget
    • statement by the Competitor for acceptance of the Fund's terms and conditions;
    • notarized statement of ownership - founding structure of the Competitor
    • short CVs of the project team (maximum of 5 (five) persons)

The entire documentation should be submitted in Macedonian. The project documentation shall be compulsorily submitted using the forms prepared by the Fund. Project documentation shall be submitted online via the following link: www.fitr.mk/startapheroi by clicking the button. "Apply".

  • The deadline for applying for the public call is until 25.05.2021, 14:00. Only those project proposals that have been submitted in the above manner and within the given deadline shall be considered for funding.