Western Balkans Talents Selected for EIT Jumpstarter Bootcamps 2024

Interest in EU pre-acceleration support within the Western Balkans is steadily increasing. This year, 11.5% of applicants originated from Western Balkan economies, with North Macedonia and Serbia contributing the largest shares.

The program received a significant number of applications from the Western Balkans, highlighting the region’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem. The percentages of total applicants from each country were as follows: Albania 20.83%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4.17%, Kosovo 16.67%, Montenegro 16.67%, North Macedonia 27.08%, and Serbia 27.08%.

Several promising teams were selected for the boot camp from these countries, with the distribution as follows: Albania 14.81%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 7.41%, Kosovo 14.81%, Montenegro 18.52%, North Macedonia 29.63%, and Serbia 29.63%.

The EIT Community’s efforts in the Western Balkans are yielding noticeable progress. For instance, the establishment of the EIT Community RIS Hub in Skopje, North Macedonia, in June 2023 centralised various opportunities offered by the EIT Community. This hub acts as a one-stop shop for different thematic Knowledge and Innovation Communities, helping retain and grow talent in the region by leveraging the EIT’s extensive international knowledge ecosystem.

The selected teams proposed ideas in agrifood, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, raw materials, urban mobility, and the New European Bauhaus, with agrifood being the most popular category. This popularity likely stems from the region’s strong focus on Smart Specialisation Strategies in agriculture and agrifood, as confirmed by previous workshops and research highlighting the need for enhanced technical efficiency and innovation in this sector.

Teams from the Western Balkans will join the horizontal cohort in the EIT Jumpstarter, allowing them to develop their ideas across seven thematic categories. During the boot camps, teams will identify and validate the best business models for their innovative ideas. The courses, based on Silicon Valley’s lean startup methodology adapted to the European context, will cover customer value proposition refinement, market segmentation, financials, investment basics, legal basics, and more.

Since 2017, the EIT Jumpstarter has trained nearly a hundred teams from the Western Balkans, representing 9% of all participants. This year, this number has increased to 11.5%, reflecting the growing interest in the region to join our accelerator program. We are excited to support this enthusiasm and look forward to continuing our work with the talented individuals from the Western Balkans.

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