Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi and Director Petrov presented the public call for Co-financed grants for commercialization of innovations – 8 million euros financial support available for innovative projects of Macedonian companies

Deputy Prime Minister of the Government in charge of economic affairs, coordination of the economic departments and investments, Fatmir Bytyqi and the director of the Fund for Innovations and Technology Development Kosta Petrov, today at a joint press conference presented the public call for co-financed grants for commercialization of innovations, for which 8 million euros are provided for Macedonian companies that will apply with projects for commercialization of innovations.

The call is intended for companies that want to develop an innovative product, service or process, alone or in cooperation with another company and / or institution that performs higher education, i.e. scientific research activity. Financial support is available for domestic companies that have projects with a clear commercial purpose and that are in the prototype stage, up to the pre-commercial stage. If the project proposal is submitted by a consortium, it is submitted by a leading applicant, and members of the consortium can be companies, higher education and scientific research institutions from the country and abroad.

In his address, Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi said that this is the ninth public call that FITD announces this year, which once again confirms that this institution has built its reputation and has positioned itself as a real home to support creative and innovative projects of young people, young companies, start-up and spin-off companies, but also all other micro, small and medium companies that have plans for their own growth and development.

"With this public call we expect to further increase the portfolio of projects that are around 640, but also of companies supported by the Fund, given that only companies that are not current users of FITD instruments will be able to apply for this instrument. . Through the instruments for commercialization of innovations and for improving innovation in the past 3 years, a total of 198 projects were supported, i.e. about 30% of the total number, and for these projects through the FITD budget about 28 million euros, i.e. 66, were allocated for support. 3% of the total allocated funds for support, which cumulatively amount to 42 million euros. It means that we invest in the innovations of the companies, in the ideas of the businessmen, in the digitalization of the processes, the increased productivity and competitiveness", emphasized the Deputy Prime Minister.

Bytyqi added that the funds planned through this public call are a great chance for companies to accelerate the dynamics of realization of ideas, to improve their production, to increase the range of products, productivity and sales, and thus to contribute to the creation to an even better and more competitive economic environment in our country.

"In addition to the new mechanism, which we have introduced to encourage companies to seek additional sources of funding, if the beneficiary submits proof of an investor who has invested an amount equal to at least 50% of the amount of financial support granted by the Fund to the beneficiary, the beneficiary will be released from the obligation to pay royalties. This not only increases support for companies, but also acts as a personal acceleration of development," said Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi, urging all businessmen, young people who have ideas for development projects, to apply for the public call, which will be open until October 15, 2021.

The Director of the Fund for Innovations and Technology Development, Kosta Petrov, gave a detailed overview of the public call, presenting the conditions for the application, the activities for which support is provided, the costs eligible for funding, as well as additional opportunities that FITD users can use for financing their projects, the procedure for evaluation and selection of projects and other details.

"Part of the activities that will be approved for funding are for research and development, testing, activities related to intellectual property protection, design, development of pilot lines and others. Some of the costs that will be approved for the projects are gross salaries for the employees of the applicants and the members of the consortium that will be engaged in the project, subcontracted research and development services, marketing costs, office and business support, etc. The Fund will provide up to 70% financing from the total project budget, for companies whose average number of employees is up to 50 and whose annual income in the last two years is less than 2 million euros, i.e. up to 60% financing from the total project budget, for companies whose average number of employees is from 50 to 250 and whose annual income in the last two years is more than 2 million euros and less than 10 million euros. The duration of the projects can be up to 24 months ", elaborated Petrov.

The director pointed out that the main criteria according to which the project proposals will be evaluated are: degree of innovation, project quality, capacity of the project team, market potential and project impact.

"The process of evaluation of project proposals will take place in two phases: a phase of pre-selection conducted by three domestic experts per project, two experts in the field that meet the evaluation criteria and one person in the field that corresponds to the project. In the second phase, i.e. the selection phase, it is implemented by the Committee for Approval of Investments, which makes the final decision for financing through this instrument ", explained the director of FITD.

Petrov added that in addition to the financial support, the Fund offers the companies that will apply for this public call additional financing through the partners: Stopanska Banka, NLB Banka, Sparkasse Bank, ProCredit Bank, UniBanka and Silk Road Bank, which gives the companies available credit products and services at preferential lower interest rates than regular ones.

“In addition, the companies have access to the Amazon Web Services Cloud platform, with loans in the amount of 10,000, 25,000 and 100,000 US dollars. FITD will also organize mentoring support for the companies that will apply for the call, and will refer to the phase of preparation, the phase of development and realization of the ideas of the companies ", concluded the director of the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, Kosta Petrov.

On the public call co-financed grants for commercialization of innovations, companies can apply until 15.10.2021, until 14:00, while the application process and all project documentation are available at: https://fitr.mk/komercijalizacija2021/