- Thursday, February 08, 2018 4:20 PM
Skopje, 8 February 2018 (MIA) - Twenty domestic companies will implement innovative projects using MKD 80 million (EUR 1,3 million) through the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development (FITD), of which MKD 58 million (EUR 950,000) provided by the Government while the rest by the World Bank.
The five most successful participants of the Fund call "O2 Challenge", along with the top 15 projects of the fourth call for instruments supporting start-ups, spin-offs and ideas' commercialization are the beneficiaries.
"The Government is becoming a partner in the funding of innovative projects of domestic companies. We have placed international and technological development of companies in the core of new economic policies. We are convinced that innovations and technological development will be one of the generators of the country's economic development and a reason that will keep young people in Macedonia," said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the event.
Supported projects involve cutting air pollution emissions in urban environments (e-bicycles, air collector, industrial gas filter etc), integrated electronic system for health monitoring of vulnerable groups, smart system for water meter reading etc.
According to the PM, the projects are a proof that Macedonia is abundant with create, capable and hard-working people, prepared to realize their dream, take action and create new values.
"More budget funds are to be invested for innovations and technology development of companies in the future," added Zaev.
FITD director Jovan Despotovski said Macedonia was the one of three European countries, alongside Kosovo and Belarus, not to be ranked in last year's global competitiveness index.
"The situation is better at the global innovation index, but the fact remains that we significantly lag behind global and European trends," said Despotovski.
The World Bank Office in Macedonia said 36 micro and small companies have been supported in innovation operations, which is important in building dynamic and resistant economies.
"Innovations enable companies to specialize, meet international standards for best practices, upgrade quality, reduce costs and open new jobs," said World Bank country manager Marco Mantovanelli.
Vice Premier for Economic Affairs Koco Angjusev said 2018 would be a year of investments.
"Four contracts have been signed in only a couple of months after the Government's measures were unveiled. We are in talks with about 30 companies and I believe that the result will be very positive," added Angjusev.
FITD is currently preparing several calls that will be released in the coming months. ik/16:17
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