A Pre-Accelerator for the Western Balkans To Be Developed
A pre-accelerator for the Western Balkans will be developed as part of a new Growth Plan for the Western Balkans.
This is the key entrepreneurship measure aimed at supporting integration into the EU’s single market.
The Growth Plan will support - among other elements - the Western Balkans’ innovation ecosystem developments by focusing on a few interlinked elements.
Boosting innovation ecosystem in the Western Balkans
Most importantly, a dedicated European Innovation Council (EIC) pre-accelerator for the Western Balkans will be developed. Its main purpose will be to assist deep-tech innovation companies from the region to develop their full potential with concrete ideas and investment plans.
Additionally, the Plan will help support and upskill innovators and entrepreneurs. This important activity aimed at capacity building will be implemented through the framework of the European Institute of Innovation &Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities.
Furthermore, the Growth Plan looks at accelerating the transfer and upscaling of technological and social innovation solutions. The main target is supporting green transition through climate-neutral and smart cities.
Finally, the Plan will support the rapid advancement in the field of intellectual rights. This is one of the region’s weakest spots as portrayed in the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023.
This should be achieved in two ways. First, by boosting innovation and increasing knowledge valorisation. Secondly, by protecting investments in new products by establishing a structured cooperation network among the Western Balkan partners for a harmonised application of intellectual property rights.
Also, the emphasis will be on boosting agri-food industry development, including fisheries and aquaculture, in line with EU standards.
New Growth Plan for the Western Balkans
The Growth Plan is the European Commission’s ambitious initiative aiming to inject €6 billion in grants and loans to accelerate economic convergence with the EU. The future payments will be conditional on the the fulfillment of agreed reforms.
It is based on four pillars, aimed at:
- Enhancing economic integration with the European Union's single market including seven priority actions:
- Free movement of goods;
- Free movement of services and workers;
- Access to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA);
- Facilitation of Road transport;
- Integration and de-carbonisation of Energy markets;
- Digital Single Market;
7. Integration into industrial supply chains
2. Boosting economic integration within the Western Balkans through the Common Regional Market, based on EU rules and standards;
3. Accelerating fundamental reforms to boost sustainable economic growth including through attracting foreign investments and strengthening regional stability; and
4. Increasing financial assistance to support the reforms through a Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans for the period 2024-2027.