The Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Serbia joined this year in the celebration of the World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, 2022. In the course of this event, various programs have been presented dealing with support to innovations, intended for start-ups and the young inventors, as well as innovations created by young teams, winners of various funds, or some other means of support intended for further development of the ideas of our youth.
This year, the World Intellectual Property Day, under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the general topic „Intellectual Property and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future“ was dedicated to the creativity of young people and the role that the Intellectual Property Rights play in the world in the strengthening of innovations and creativity. The Intellectual Property Day in 2022 indicated the enormous potential of young people to find better and new solutions supporting transfer to sustainable technologies in the future.
Mr Vladimir Marić, Director of the Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Serbia, in his welcoming address emphasized: “Every society that cares for its own progress must not neglect its most creative sons and daughters, but it must create preconditions for them to stay in their country and put their creativity in the service of their people. Intellectual Property, among other things, plays its own role in achieving that. Well-composed system of IPR protection and its dedicated and honest implementation shall guarantee to the young people that they shall be protected and rewarded for their creativity. That is what the government can and shall do for our youth.”
Mr Dušan Vučković, Asst. Minister in the Ministry of Economy, Sector for Business Companies and Registers, mentioned the importance of creative industries for young people in our country: “The role of the young is especially important in the development and progress of creative industries, which are essentially based on Intellectual Property”. Over 20,000 registered subjects work at the moment in the creative industries of Serbia, and the number of startup companies keeps on growing. Young people of 25 to 44 years of age make 67% of employees in the creative industries. Every young man that looks for his future in the IT sector, for example, should be aware of the fact that he shall, in fact, be living of intellectual property.”
Ms Irena Đorđević, manager for regulatory reform in NALED, presented the Star-Tech project of financing innovations: ”It concerns the program that is unique on our market, because it is the greatest program financed by one private company for the support of innovations. It is all about the big company Philip Morris that wished to transfer its experience of digital transformation and benefits from that process to our ecosystem in Serbia. Thus, we came to Star Tech projects in which more than three millions dollars, in the period of three years, were intended for the support through grants to our startups. In the previous year, through the first invitation, we granted the first million for 29 teams and it gives us particular pleasure that six of them were entirely young teams.”
Ms Tamara Papić, from the startup BabyFM was one of the winner of funds in the framework of the Star Tech projects, who said about its experience: “The system which we developed was dedicated to the measuring of temperature of babies, with the assistance of mobile application and the sensor, that measures temperature in continuity and sends data to mobile application, including alarm and notifications that help parents or doctors and medical personnel. For startups, this kind of support is essentially important in the first moments of expansion, especially with the innovations dealing with development of hardware and software, which is very complex as such.”
Ms Nevena Janković representative of the program intended for young innovators, Raising Starts – of the Science Technology Park in Belgrade underlined in her address: “Young entrepreneurs lack assistance in the earliest phases of development. At that moment, when they develop some innovation which is mostly technological, and when they need assistance to see how to create successful business from that innovation, they can get assistance from the program Rising Starts. Through this program we are providing financial assistance that needs not to be returned, in the amount of 15,000 CHF and much more in the domain of expert support, through the intensive mentorship, trainings, netting and the whole environment that supports the young entrepreneurs to further develop their innovations.”
Mr Vladimir Božović from ZenHire startup, the beneficiary of this program, described his experience of business development along with the support programs: “We are the company that develops Artificial Intelligence, which should be able to interview people in the first round of interviews instead of the HR. That is the complex solution with many modules – where we make many algorithms of Artificial Intelligence. We started about one and a half years ago and we knew nothing, but we got expert support through the Raising Starts and Star Tech program, from all possible aspects of business – from legal to technical and economical. I have previously lived in Italy, where there are also ecosystems of this nature, but according to my experience our support programs are in no way obsolete in comparison to what is going on in the world.”
Ms Ivana Kostić, assistant for the implementation of programs and projects of the Fund for Innovation Activities said, among other things underlined: “From the very beginning of our work, there were two programs – early development and co-financing of innovations, from which the whole pallet developed today. At the beginning, there was a tendency to invest in innovations, exclusively from the economy, but then the attention was redirected also to innovations coming from the scientific and academic community. These initial programs function even today, and in their framework, more than a thousand projects have been financed. Attention was redirected from giving exclusively financial support to the broadening of support in the framework of mentorship and business know-how, which have been noticed to be missing among innovators with scientific and economic background.”
Innovations supported by the program of the Fund were presented by Mr Nikola Krstić from Anora startup: “Our first patent is Anora, smart glove for the blind assisting in the performance of everyday activities in as simple a manner as possible, helping them in the recognition of colors, banknotes, light, medicaments, etc. All that has been composed together in only one device. When we applied at the Innovation Fund, I was 19 years old. Like in every startup, at the beginning it was very difficult to reserve funds for the development of the product, especially when it implies use of hardware. That financing and going through the mini grant was essential for us to complete the product in the shape we find it today, and to present it, as such, in the USA.”
Mr Aleksandar Vekić, trainer for the category “Innovative Ideas” spoke about The Best Technological Innovation (NTI): “Since 2004, up to this day, our mission and vision have been to offer to the young people, but also to all others, not only financial but also educational support. To make them ready to transform their innovations and ideas into products valuable on the market and to evaluate them in such a way. As far as the competition is concerned, our participants can get assistance primarily in the form of education through trainings that we organize for them. There is also consulting, so they are not alone while writing documents and business models that get audited by the experts from that field all over the world. In the end, when the competition is over, we work on their promotion.”
The attendees were also addressed by Mr Nikola Teomirović from the High School of Electronics “Nikola Tesla”, the leader of the best high school team Eco Hive, that presented the innovation of the competition NTI 2021: “Best Team in the Competition for the Best Technological Innovation” gave a brilliant opportunity for the young people. Through the entire competition, they raised the level of all the young participants. Stunning opportunity has also been offered in the fact that we are preparing to present ourselves in a month at the regional competition in Albania, too.”
World Intellectual Property Day, in 2022, was celebrated with the aim to promote among the young persons the Intellectual Property Rights, both those that can support their goals, help to transform their ideas into reality, realize income, create new working spaces and perform positive impact on the world around us. With the Intellectual Property Rights, young people have the access to some of the key tools, which are necessary for them to fulfill their ambitions.
In the course of this campaign, young people were in a position to acquire deeper understanding how the tools of the Intellectual Property System – trademarks, designs, copyright, patents, business secrets and other rights – can support their ambitions to build a better world.
You can watch a video of the event on our YouTube channel at the following link.
You can see more pictures from the event in the gallery.