Elevating Regional Innovation – Strengthening Scientific Institutions for Local Growth 

A roadmap to building a successful startup ecosystem, creating policies that encourage innovation and nurture the entrepreneurial mindset, were some of the key topics of the last panel on the first day of the CORE days conference. Guiding this insightful conversation was Alban Hashani, the esteemed Executive Director of the Riinvest Institute. 

In the latest global innovation index, Serbia remianed the regional frontrunner, securing the 32nd position. Followed by Montenegro in the 60th spot, with North Macedonia closely behind at 66th place. Bosnia and Herzegovina took the 70th position, while Albania secured the 84th spot. 

Festim Halili, the General Director of North Macedonia’s Fund for Innovation and Technology Development, highlighted a significant jump for the country on this ranking. 

– This achievement marks a significant milestone for us. As a funding body, we play a pivotal role in supporting innovation development, particularly in startups (56%) – declared Halili. He underscored the need for enhanced regional collaboration in establishing a unified accelerator. 

The European Parliament supports and promotes such innovation initiatives, but there is always room for improvement, said Adam Strzelecki, senior project manager at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) for Food. 

-Enhanced collaboration with institutes and scientific organizations, along with heightened visibility, is needed – stressed Strelecki. He went on to highlight his initial involvement with eight institutes, which has now expanded to 68 teams. According to him, their focus remains on specific, targeted ideas. 

Dušan Radivojević, director of the Center for Local Economic Development of Niš, spoke about what the city on Nišava has done to attract as many innovations as possible. 


-In 2019, in collaboration with the academic community, we established NTP Niš. Today, it houses a thriving community of 600 companies. These enterprises contribute approximately four million euros annually to the national budget, while our initial investment of 15 million euros is projected to yield returns within a mere three-year span. The project has garnered significant interest, and we’re currently in the planning stages for the construction of a new facility,” disclosed Radivojević 


Stephan Corvers, the founder and CEO of Corvers Commercial & Legal Affairs, introduced his company, which offers a wide range of innovation support services and serves as a catalyst for successful innovations. He emphasized that innovation is applicable across diverse domains, not limited to just technology. Corvers’ unique perspective helped enrich the understanding of innovation ecosystems. 

Before the panel, Petar Stanojević from Nanoinspekt presented the innovation of this company in the field of fuel marking, which is applied globally. 

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