EIT Manufacturing signs Memorandum of Understanding with Innovation Fund Serbia and Regional Agency for Economic Development

EIT Manufacturing signs Memorandum of Understanding with Innovation Fund Serbia and the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlje to enhance the innovation capacity of Serbia.

The manufacturing industry is crucial to Europe’s economy, and Eastern European countries are becoming increasingly important to Europe’s supply chains. EIT Manufacturing is actively supporting Central and Eastern European countries, including Serbia, as part of its Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) by providing access to its network, initiatives and programmes.

Through targeted activities, EIT Manufacturing aims to work with national and regional authorities in all RIS countries to support local ecosystems with joint activities. This collaboration aims to make the manufacturing ecosystem in Serbia more innovative and competitive in the future.

EIT Manufacturing has recently increased its efforts in Serbia to explore opportunities for collaboration and support the local manufacturing ecosystem. During various meetings, the involved parties identified areas of mutual interest, leading to an agreement to enhance mutual support for Serbian manufacturing SMEs.

On 20 April, a delegation of EIT Manufacturing, consisting of Johannes Hunschofsky, Managing Director East, Adrian Solomon, Manager Serbia, and Ľubica Šebeňová, RIS Collaboration Manager, met with the Director of the Innovation Fund, Ivan Rakonjac, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

Ľubica Šebeňová, RIS Collaboration Manager; Adrian Solomon, Manager Serbia; Johannes Hunschofsky, Managing Director East; Ivan Rakonjac, Director, Innovation Fund; Milena Kostadinovic, Operations Manager, Innovation Fund

This new partnership will provide increased assistance to researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in the manufacturing sector of Serbia by ensuring better access to support mechanisms, funding, guidance, and opportunities to connect with European value chain networks.

Furthermore, this MoU seeks to create more consistent and effective ways to support remote and underdeveloped innovation ecosystems in Serbia. The goal is to align the efforts of the Serbian government and the EU towards modernising innovation ecosystems, reducing the gap in business creation, and addressing the issues of skill and talent shortage.

The Innovation Fund is the Serbian national institution with the mandate to provide and manage financial resources to implement support programmes to encourage innovation and strengthen the capacity of the national innovation system. The IFS intends to contribute to the overall development of innovations by supporting innovative entrepreneurship, strengthening the linkage between academia and industry, and investing in alternative investment funds and other organisations with the aim of innovation development.

On the following day, the EIT Manufacturing delegation met the Director of the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlje, Nenad Popović, to sign one more Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU was signed in the presence of the Mayor of Kragujevac, Nikola Dašić, and members of the City Council for Investments and Project Management.

Nenad Popović, Director of the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlje, and Johannes Hunschofsky, Managing Director EIT Manufacturing East

The Director of the Regional Agency for Economic Development of Šumadija and Pomoravlja, Nenad Popović, said, “The EIT Manufacturing East office, the Department for Industrial Production, started working with a permanent office in Belgrade in January of this year, which is a very good indicator that the European Commission, which created this tool, recognised Serbia as a place in the Balkans where these processes should be developed more intensively. They provide support across multiple areas. One is direct financial support for new businesses, innovation projects, projects in the field of education, the second type of support refers to connections through various partnerships, various transnational and generally European projects, and the third thing is direct cooperation between the educational system and industry.”

Johannes Hunschofsky, Managing Director, EIT Manufacturing East; Nikola Dašić, Mayor of Kragujevac

The biggest goal of EIT Manufacturing East is to encourage innovations in production. In the last few years, we recognised opportunities in Serbia, and since Šumadija and Pomoravlje region is the centre of production, it was logical to start the cooperation there. We aim to first understand what are the needs of the industry, universities, research institutions, what are the goals of the Government, and then to work together and support Serbian innovation as much as we can”, said Johannes Hunschofsky, Managing Director, EIT Manufacturing East.

Danka Andonovski, a member of the City Council for Investments and Project Management, pointed out that EIT Manufacturing is able to support the Serbian industry in a very specific way with innovative solutions, technologies, and connectivity: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is very important for the city of Kragujevac. We are trying to attract investors, to develop industry and production in Šumadija and Kragujevac, and we are happy to attract an organisation such as EIT Manufacturing that has all-around support from the European Union in terms of funds.”