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National Bank of Serbia refines draft law on group financing to support startup ecosystem growth

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The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) is in the process of refining the Draft Law on Group Financing, aiming to ensure comprehensive review and alignment with existing laws, practices, and EU regulations. This initiative, part of the 2024 Action Plan for fostering the startup ecosystem, seeks to register 300 startups and allocate 900 million dinars for grant funding by year-end.

The proposed law on group financing, including crowdfunding, intends to provide startups with safe, efficient, and legally compliant means of raising capital from diverse domestic and international sources. Crowdfunding allows project financing by pooling relatively small investments from numerous individuals who may not be professional investors.

The NBS underscores the importance of crowdfunding as a supplementary measure to support small and medium-sized enterprises and startups seeking funding beyond traditional avenues like bank loans or debt issuance. The draft law aims to regulate group financing services, establish and oversee service providers, and safeguard user interests.

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Harmonizing the Draft Law on Group Financing involves analyzing EU regulatory practices and gathering insights from domestic crowdfunding initiatives. Despite Serbia’s past crowdfunding successes, such as raising funds for documentary filmmaking and board game development, existing tax regulations and banking procedures pose challenges for crowdfunding activities.

The NBS plans to conduct a public consultation on the draft law before submitting it for parliamentary review. Additionally, the 2024 Action Plan includes amendments to laws on innovation activities and alternative investment funds, alongside the development of a digital monitoring tool for measuring innovation indicators.

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