Facilitate the engagement of corporates in innovation processes

In recent years, Western Balkans as a region has witnessed significant progress in terms of economic development and technological improvement. This growth has been visible across the region. This growth has been fostered in part by the private sector, as companies in the region have attempted to adapt to the changing global market. Nevertheless, Western Balkans Startup Council sees the potential for WB start-up ecosystems to boost huge and conventional economic sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, energy, and public infrastructure and services.

One of the key drivers of corporate innovation in the Western Balkans has been the growth of the tech sector. In particular, the region has seen an increase in the development of software and IT services, as well as the emergence of new startups and other ecosystem actors.

Another factor contributing to corporate innovation in the Western Balkans has been the increasing globalisation of the economy. As the region has become more integrated with the global market, companies have had to adapt to new technologies and business models to remain competitive. Young entrepreneurs can provide established companies with the agility and innovation corporate needs to remain competitive and succeed.

The Western Balkans has also seen the growth of government initiatives and programs aimed at supporting innovation. For example, several economies in the region have established innovation agencies or other organizations that provide funding and support for startups and other innovative companies. This support has helped to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and has contributed to the growth of the tech sector in the region. It has also led to the adoption of new approaches to innovation, such as open innovation and collaboration of incubators/accelerators with corporations, to stay ahead of the curve. The same programs for supporting startup growth should include representatives from the corporate sector. Corporate representatives may give technical and regulatory mentorship to start-ups and support their integration into the corporate environment.

Members of the Western Balkans Startup Council in the Policy recommendation paper proposed actions for this section:

  1. Mapping Corporations and SMEs

Mapping the corporates, who have the greatest need and are predisposed to support us / whom can we lean on first to create examples of success.

  1. Presenting conceptual thinking to a select few CEOs and seeking their active support in structuring the concept
  2. Creating awareness for corporate benefits of an engagement (CSR / Productivity, New Markets, Overall Competitiveness, Attractiveness as a modern employer)
  3. Committing initial CEO support to assist your organisations within their peer communities (and thus helping engage their peers)
  4. Devising the program structure, from light to full engagement

Overall, over the past few years, the Western Balkans economies have made great progress in spreading awareness and increasing the engagement of the corporates in the entrepreneurial ecosystems. In the upcoming years, there will be more innovative startups in the region that will address global needs and a stronger ecosystem to follow up on their growth.

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