Business and academia test an economic model of the future

Supercluster workshops held under the Serbia Innovates project

Serbia Innovates Project, implemented by the ICT Hub and supported by USAID, with the aim to strengthen the economy with innovative technological solutions for segments with the most significant development potential, this week organized interactive supercluster workshops in Novi Sad, Niš and Belgrade. Representatives of startups, the business sector and academia had the opportunity to simulate a supercluster at the workshops and get directly acquainted with the benefits of this economic model, which connects professionals from different fields and encourages them to create values through cooperation.

The workshop was moderated by Afonso Rebelo de Sousa, an expert on corporate innovation, entrepreneurship and technology transfer, who has contributed for globally recognized companies such as LinkedIn and Adidas throughout his career. This renowned expert shared his immediate experiences with the participants and presented in detail the power of harmonization of goals, mutual cooperation and coordinated action. During the several-hour simulation, the participants were able to conclude first-hand how the supercluster opens up great opportunities for the development of technological innovation and that its application is necessary to improve the Serbian economy.

Afonso Rebelo de Sousa, an expert on corporate innovation, entrepreneurship and technology transfer

“It is a pleasure to work on innovation in Serbia”, said De Sousa, “because there is so much talent and potential throughout the country. These workshops showed that there is not only the appetite but also the expertise to open new opportunities. I think now is the right time to develop a supercluster that will foster synergies and connect business, academia and entrepreneurs. This efficiency will lead to accelerated growth of business opportunities, and the first results will arrive soon”.

Aleksandra Popović, director of the Serbia Innovates project and Milan Ranđelović, director of NTP Niš

Aleksandra Popović, director of the Serbia Innovates project, expressed satisfaction with what was done at the workshops, but also with the great response.

“These were three intensive days that gathered over 60 people from business and the academic community”, said Popović. “I am pleased that, after several months of serious talks with participants in the ecosystem, we were finally able to gather them in this format, which is a great demonstration of what will happen in reality tomorrow. I think that all participants received confirmation that new opportunities are opening up through cooperation in a diverse environment. Creating value is a real result of the supercluster.” She added that, during the workshops, startups had the opportunity to talk to the financial team of Serbia Innovates. “I think that the dress rehearsal was a success, and the next step will be a public call for pilot superclusters”, Popovic concluded.

Aleksandra Popović, director of the Serbia Innovates project

The Serbia Innovates project is completing research on the domains with the greatest technological potential, which will identify the four strongest. They will then form four pilot supercluster projects around these domains.

The public call, which will be published by the end of 2021, will be sent to all representatives of business, startups, the academic community, investors and also the state to work together to strengthen the domestic economy through the development of innovations. Over the following year, the potential of the domains will be tested in the real world, and in 2023 one will be selected to develop the first Serbian supercluster. The winning domain will receive major assistance for better market positioning and the goal is for it to become fully self-sustaining by 2025.

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