The Republic of Serbia considers the development of startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs as a crucial segment for the recovery and development of Serbian economy. In March 2015, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Strategy development of small and medium enterprises, entrepreneurship and competitiveness for the period from 2015 to 2020. In Serbia, SMEs make up 99.8% of the total number of businesses and generate about 2/3 of employment, turnover 54.1% of GDP, and account for 43.2% of exports. 80% of the total workforce works in the SME sector. The current percentage of enterprises which are under the leadership of women entrepreneurs constitute 30% of all enterprises in the Republic of Serbia, which is encouraging statistics. Serbian SMEs are facing limited access to financing. Majority of the SMEs, 74%, primarily finances its businesses from their own resources, 57% from bank loans, 10% from private capital, 7% from investment funds and 4% from public programs. 83% of Serbian entrepreneurs are highly educated, 97% of them implemented some kind of innovation in their business, and their businesses are primarily in the areas of agribusiness, production, and IT.


The Serbian ecosystem is quite diverse and offers many opportunities for startups to grow. The region of Vojvodina consists of over 20 different Cluster Organisations (Serbia 40+) which empower startups cooperating with other ecosystem’s players such as public institutions, universities, research centers, business chambers, NGOs, incubators, hubs and coworking spaces.

In this region, Novi Sad won two prestigious titles, namely The European Youth Capital 2019 and The European Capital of Culture 2021, being the first city outside the EU that will hold the title. Both awards provide an extremely important opportunity to highlight the significance of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovations.


Bosnia and Herzegovina


  • Chamber of commerce of Serbia, Belgrade
  • The University of Priština temporarily settled in Kosovska Mitrovica
  • Center for competitiveness, University of Novi Sad
  • Innovation Fund, Belgrade
  • Impact Hub, coworking, Belgrade
  • Founder Institute, accelerator, Belgrade
  • Cluster House, Niš
  • Center for innovative entrepreneurship, Niš
  • Delta Agrar, business hub, Novi Sad

Relevant sectors: IT, agriculture and food industry, telecommunications

Startup Serbia aims to help Serbia in becoming one of the top 20 startup ecosystems in the world with a strong focus on Creative, IT, Agriculture, Science, Sports, Food and Lifestyle. Recent trends suggest that ICT, Creative Industries and Services in Agriculture are the fastest growing sectors.  Alongside, creative industries are increasingly becoming important component of the Serbia modern economy and they have the great potential to bring new innovative models if coupled with economic and scientific projects at international level.

Republic of North Macedonia



Though still small and underdeveloped, often far behind the startup communities in other countries in the region, lately, the Macedonian start up scene is becoming more vibrant. The current ecosystem activities are focused mainly on providing initial pre-acceleration programs.

One of the biggest strengths of the country is the easy access to technical talents, who are usually the most interested in launching business. However, still, it is common among computer science students to choose local or international companies and outsourcing instead of starting a new business on their own.

The main weakness is the size of the local market associated with the low Startup index. Some of the recommended solutions are the increasing risk capital and startup support structures (Startup EcoSystem Report, Swisscontact SECO Entrepreneurship program 2016). Therefore, assistance is needed prior to the startup phase through various educational programs and motivational events.

Yet, there are few interesting startup stories who started with very little capital $5k-15 and some have joined international accelerators. These good practices should be celebrated and spread in order to inspire and make a change.

Finally, there is a consensus that Macedonia has the great potential to develop promising startup community but there are still a lot of lessons to be learned.



There are few multi-functional working spaces for the newly launched startups: Seavus Incubator, SEEU TechPark (within SEEU University) and YES foundation. They are established to provide co-working space, mentoring, administrative and technical resources and access to finance.

On the investors’ side, the main key players are SC Ventures private and Fund for Innovation state owned investing agency .

The recently established Startup Macedonia network is aiming to promote Macedonia as a country with an affordable lifestyle, great talents and delicious food where it only takes 24 hours to set-up a company and only 15 days to get a work and residence permit.

As expected, Skopje, the country’s capital, is the center of the Macedonian startup ecosystem—and a place where most of the nation’s startup activities occur. Startup activities are present also in other bigger cities such as Ohrid, Bitola and Strumica.

Activities and Events such as Startup Weekend, Demo Day, Tech Crunch, CodeFest Funky Coworking Friday initiative and many more, have significantly affected startup activities and raised awareness on entrepreneurship. Though, there is still need to connect the ecosystem  especially with other regional stakeholders.

Relevant sectors: ICT, digital media, fintech, gaming, block chain, IoT, tech in agriculture

Foundation Seavus Enterprise is open for collaborations and exchanges of best practices at regional and European level.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The startup ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina is growing, but it is still underdeveloped, unexplored and undocumented.

Based on the Ecosystem Portfolio report, the number of programs for young entrepreneurs is expanding, from university programs through non-governmental organizations and government initiatives to professional incubators and accelerators. The geographical scope is also increasing highly and the aforementioned can be found in all bigger towns in the country including Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Zenica. Smaller towns are also exposed to this trend through larger initiatives and/or as a part of current projects.


Stable exchange rate to the euro, a 10% corporate income tax and the lowest living expenses in the region, represent the three key economic advantages in the country. Furthermore, the excellent geographic position and great transport connections may accelerate the connection with other ecosystems in the region and the internationalization of local businesses. In terms of knowledge, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a competitive and highly educated human potential and English language is widely spoken. At the present time, there is an emerging start up community constituted of startups, accelerators, incubators mostly in the ICT/IT, Health, Agri and FinTech sectors.

Bosnia and Herzegovina


  • Accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces with educative content: SPARK, INTERA, Mozaik Foundation, Networks, SmartOffice.
  • Eco-system supporting organisations and agencies: Swiss Entrepreneurship Program (Swiss EP), MarketMakers, REDAH, ZEDA, IT Girls, UN Women, IKT association, IT klaster Banja Luka.
  • Private companies: SPARK, Ministry of Programming, Mistral Technologies, DVC Solutions, Bookvar.

Relevant sectors: mining, metal processing, automotive industry, timber, textile industry, ICT/IT, Health, Agri, FinTech

SPARK is interested in creating collaborations and is looking for support in accessing investors from Western Europe, meeting industry representatives, connecting with key stakeholders from ecosystems in Western Europe and beyond, forming corporate partnerships (SPARK and startup related).