Enable early-stage funding access to startups

Policy recommendations from the Western Balkans Startup Council address key challenges, offer guidance and suggest actions all connected to funding early-stage startups.

One of the most significant challenges for Western Balkan start-ups is the scarcity of seed capital. For many start-ups, getting the initial funding they need to develop and launch their product could be a significant challenge. This could be a severe barrier to growth, preventing some startups from getting off the ground.

Another challenge that Western Balkan start-ups face is a lack of assistance and mentoring. In comparison to more developed start-up ecosystems, the region lacks a strong network of experienced entrepreneurs who can give direction and assistance to young startup entrepreneurs. Without proper guidance, it can be challenging for new entrepreneurs to navigate the early phases of their growth and gain access to the resources they need to expand and prosper.

Nevertheless, there are many possibilities accessible for Western Balkan entrepreneurs seeking early-stage funding. One alternative is to seek grants or other types of funding assistance from government agencies and other groups.

Start-up founders seek out angel investors and venture capital firms to provide alternative funding. Countries in the Western Balkans are becoming a hotspot for a growing number of investors ready to invest their capital and expertise in emerging ventures. Additionally, there is an increasing number of incubators and accelerators in the region with a set of support programs and activities to provide funding and guidance to entrepreneurs which is a great source of funding for new enterprises. Crowdfunding is an option for additional funding for Western Balkan startups to showcase the startup’s product to a great audience of possible investors.

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

  1. Prioritise Business angel activities.  Additional actions include:
  • Quality Angel Groups Supported by Government Funding Programs
  • Pre-Seed Grant Funding Through Angel Groups
  • Sidecar Fund to Amplify Angel Investment
  1. Introduction of tax benefits for companies or investor investment into start-ups, innovation, and R&D
  2. Co-investment fund
  3. Convertible loan
  4. Continuous support of the programs for start-ups. Additional actions include:
  •  Use a funding program to support two quality Seed Accelerators
  •  Funding Requirements and Structure

In conclusion, the Western Balkans faces significant challenges when it comes to early-stage funding for start-ups. However, there are also signs of progress, and with continued support from the government, investors, and other stakeholders, we can expect to see more growth and development in the start-up ecosystem in the future.


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