State Support Crucial in the Initial Phase of Start-up Company Development

Start-up entrepreneurs in Serbia can be globally successful and attract large investments if they focus on the development of software and products that make major changes in the lives of citizens and solve unresolved problems, while the state support is the key to creating a favorable ecosystem for the development of start-up communities.

Renowned world experts, attending the international seminar "SEE MIKTA - Innovation and Entrepreneurship" in Belgrade, alongside praises for the Serbian IT sector, presented a number of suggestions.

"The Serbian software industry is renowned for its innovations. 6,000 people are employed in 2,000 companies and this number is constantly growing, but it is also necessary to increase the number of graduated IT professionals because the global demand for highly educated computer science staff is higher than the supply"- said PhD Reinhard Scholl from the International Telecommunication Union at the meeting organized by NALED and embassies of the MIKTA Platform countries - Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Korea and Australia - to share the best global experiences and practices in the development of start-up companies.

The seminar was opened by H.E. Tanju Bilgic, Ambassador of Turkey to Serbia, with H.E. Marco Antonio García Blanco, Ambassador of Mexico in Serbia addressing attendees on Mexican experiences in creating a favorable business environment and entrepreneurial society.

Director of Korea's Start-up Alliance Jungwook Lim emphasized the importance of developing entrepreneurial culture, regulations that provide incentives, involving experienced entrepreneurs as mentors to beginners, and especially the importance of easier access to investment funding, since few people are ready to start the risk of financing startups.

"It is necessary for the state to launch a program of financial support for start-up companies at an early stage, similar to what Korea has done, which now even has a Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Start-ups. It is also necessary to ensure that local incubators, accelerators and venture capital funds, increasingly finance further development. So far we have developed more than 300 successful start-ups on the invested 120 million dollars," Lim said.

One of the new sources of funding are large corporations such as Samsung NEXT that use investments, mentoring, technical and professional support or job creation to help small enterprises in developing products, with the ability to buy them later. Samsung NEXT CEO Feliks Petersen also presented several unusual proposals to governments.

"Start-up initiatives are good, as well as the eGovernment development initiatives, but it's crucial that lease prices are low and more importantly that entrepreneurs are working in a place that is cool to live in," Petersen said.

Chairman of NALED’s Executive Board Dejan Đokić emphasized that initiatives such as tax exemptions in the first year of operation, reforms of the flat-rate taxation system, as well as the creation of registers of non-tax levies and procedures will be the first steps in creating a favorable business environment for start-ups and will help to stimulate innovation and creativity among young people in Serbia.

"The number of opened entrepreneurial shops dropped by a third in the last 10 years, with the ratio of opened to closed firms dropping from 10 to one to 3.5: 1. We want to reverse this trend because start-up companies are the largest generators of employment, with statistics of developed countries showing that those who survive in the first five years increase the number of employees up to 60% "- concluded Đokić.

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