Mr. President of the Republic of Serbia,
Mrs. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Five years ago the Swiss Minister for Economy Mr. Schneider-Ammann opened together with the Serbian authorities the Science and Technology Park in Belgrade. At that time, we did not expect that it would be such a success that we would be here today witnessing the opening of a new Science and Technology Park in Niš.
We very welcome that, in Serbia, innovation has become a strategic priority not only just on paper, but also in practice, as we see examples of investments in an innovative future, such as in this Techno-park.
It is our pleasure to contribute to this priority through our project “Boosting Exports through techno-parks” within the frame of the Swiss cooperation with Serbia. This project was signed last December together with Minister Sarcevic for a Swiss contribution of 3,8 mio Swiss Francs (€ 3,5 mio). But it is less a question of money than a question of friendship and solidarity between our two countries.
Our support to the development of techno-parks in Niš and Čačak capitalizes on the successful experience we did in Belgrade.
In Switzerland we created a unique ecosystem for innovation, which continuously injects new technology from research into the economy.
This synergy between science and business through techno-parks leads to successful innovation and I am pleased that the Serbian government endorsed this strategy.
With this new project in Niš, the aim is to further develop a network that will stimulate development, based on innovation and knowledge, and increase the competitiveness of Serbia’s high-tech industry.
Third largest city in Serbia, Niš has a long tradition in technology development. Its University with more than 30,000 students and over 1,500 professors has already strong links with the industry and has a recognized knowledge in technology transfer.
In order to further stimulate growth, a large part of the project will be dedicated to provide pre-seed financial support aimed at speeding up the establishment and the development of start-ups across Serbia.
Through various trainings and mentor support, the project will provide start-ups with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop their innovations in order to enter the global market.
Doing so, the project will also contribute to fight against the brain drain a major challenge Serbia has to face.
Swiss Intellectual Property Office will also be active in this project, as they will provide some know-how transfer to the techno-parks throughout Serbia.
They will support companies with intellectual property right issues, a topic often underestimated by start-ups.
Thank you for your attention, congratulations and lots of success in realizing your innovative potential.