The Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, coordination of economic departments, Fatmir Bytyqi and the Acting Director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development Kosta Petrov, today promoted the public competition for start-ups and spin-off companies "Start up 3".
The Deputy Prime Minister Bytyqi said that this competition will provide 2 million euros in grants and financial support for the Macedonian start-up system.
"The purpose of these calls is the transformation of the start-up ecosystem, and the creation of a competitive and strong system that will have a huge positive impact on the domestic economy and will contribute to its internationalization," said Bytyqi.
The Deputy Prime Minister referred to the potential that the Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia recognizes in the start-up businesses and to all the support that has been given to them so far.
"The Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia sees really great potential in the ideas of young and innovative people, and proof of that are the 305 supported start-up companies with an investment of over 17 million euros. As President of the newly established Start-up Council, I am very proud to participate in all the projects we are developing, in order to facilitate the conditions for creating our own business in our country. The purpose of the existence of the Council is precisely to consider all potential challenges that can be overcome and modified and also to create the most favorable conditions and circumstances for investment in our country," said the Deputy Prime Minister.
One of the main challenges of the work of the Start-up Council is the development of better regulations, by creating new and updating existing regulations and creating platforms that will reduce the costs for start-up companies and facilitate administrative procedures.
“Thus, the Law on Innovation activity, which is created according to the new trends and which for the first time will include the "business angels", within its provisions, and thus will provide better access to finance and better engagement of corporations and their investment funds in the Macedonian startup eco-system. At the same time, we are committed to attracting digital nomads and our intention is to create adapted legal changes and favorable conditions for foreigners to stay and work in our country. This would be of great benefit to the country's economy, as the earned income of foreigners will be spent in the Republic of Northern Macedonia, contributing to the growth of the domestic economy. I also want to point out that just a week ago, the Government decided to establish a working group to prepare a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which we see as part of the economic development plan of the Republic of Northern Macedonia," concluded Bytyqi.
The Acting Director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, Kosta Petrov had a detailed presentation at the public competition, pointing out that this is the third consecutive public call of this kind, which introduced important innovations, which significantly improve the application conditions and facilitate access to finance for start-ups and spin-off companies.
"The purpose of all these changes is to pave the way for companies that have the potential to realize innovative business ideas. The support through this call is intended for projects that have the least "confirmed concept" and clear ambition for commercialization, as well as projects that are in the phase of confirmed concept to the pre-commercial (pre-market) phase" said the Acting Director of FITD.
Petrov stressed that for the first time, a team consisting of a maximum of 5 members - individuals can apply for this call. In this case, the Applicant is obliged within 30 calendar days after receiving the Notice of Selection of the project proposal, to establish a company in which the founders will be at least 51% of the team members. The rulebook with all the information is already published on the website of the Fund.
"In terms of the activities that will be approved for funding, some of the ones we support are research and development, development of pilot lines, product or service, testing and validation activities, market testing activities and others. In terms of eligible costs, in the interest of time I will single out just a few of them, which are gross salaries for people who are or will be employed by the user, purchase and / or rental of equipment and consumables for research and development, as well as "subcontracted research and development services" said the Acting Director Petrov.
The Acting Director of FITD stressed that for the first time in the public competition "Start up 3", the funds received will be non-refundable, which is another serious incentive and relief for Macedonian startups to get a chance to realize their projects.
"The fund will provide up to 40,000 euros (up to 90%) of the total budget of a company project for up to 3 years of existence, or up to 60,000 euros (85%) of the total budget of a company project with more than 3 and less than 6 years existence. The remaining amount of 10% or 15% of the total budget for the project is provided by the Applicant", added the Acting Director.
In addition to financial support, to all creative and innovative start-up companies that will apply to this public call, the Fund offers additional support through their partners. With the cooperation with NLB Bank and Silk Road Bank, more loan products and services are available to the companies at preferential lower interest rates than the regular ones.
"Our country has a reason to be proud of the fact that the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development a week ago became the first strategic partner for Amazon Web Services for Northern Macedonia, which provides FITD users, especially startups in the country with loans in the amount of up to 10,000, 25,000 and up to 100,000 USD", said the Acting Director of the Fund, adding that the practice of providing mentoring support for all startups and spin-off companies will continue, in the phase of preparation, development and realization of ideas.
The Acting Director of FITD pointed out that the info sessions within the campaign #45DaysStartup will start tomorrow and in the next 45 days all those interested will have the opportunity to hear the advice of some of the most successful entrepreneurs and experts in the country.
At the public competition "Start up 3", all interested start-ups and spin-off companies will be able to apply in the next 45 days until June 12, 2021, until 14.00 and all project documentation and how to apply are fully available on the website: https://www.fitr.mk/startapuvaj3/