With digitalization and artificial intelligence to greater economic growth in Serbia

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The Serbian government is investing 177.6 million euros in the development of the digital economy.
A company that intends to digitalize its business will receive up to 6,000 euros from the state, and all companies that employ from five to 249 workers are entitled to this benefit, provided that they are registered with the Business Registers Agency by January 1 last year and are in majority private ownership.
This is the public invitation of the Ministry of Economy to participate in the new program of support for digital transformation for micro, small and medium enterprises.
Predrag Nikolic, director of the Center for Digital Transformation of PKS, says that this is a great opportunity for micro, small and medium enterprises to introduce innovative business models by early adoption of digital technologies, significantly improve work processes and create new products that will provide rapid growth, competitive advantage and conquering new markets.
The digitalization of the entire economy is the goal of the newly established Council for Encouraging the Development of the Digital Economy, Innovation, High-Tech Entrepreneurship and Digitalization.
After the first session, held a few days ago, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced that the priority of the Government of Serbia will be the availability of financing for innovative companies, development of digital infrastructure, research and development through 35 projects worth 177.6 million euros.
She said that today Serbia is recognized as a country that invests in the development of e-government, innovation and digitalization. She also mentioned the results that have been achieved when it comes to education and innovation infrastructure, construction of science and technology parks and startup centers. New priorities are artificial intelligence, biotechnology and biomedicine, smart cities and the use of geospatial data.
This is exactly the continuation of what the Prime Minister said in May at the closing of the Kopaonik Business Forum, when she announced that our economy would be based on new technologies for sustainable development, including digitalization of health and biomedical technology. Then she talked about the establishment of a campus that will cover the areas of biomedicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics and biodiversity, within which the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which was recently established, will operate, so that all that knowledge will generate new growth for our country.
The Fund for Innovation Activity states that more and more requests for financing innovations in the last two years come from the field of natural sciences, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.
– The innovations that are born and created in the companies we support are diverse and come from different areas of industry, but the most numerous are from information and communication technologies – note the fund, which has invested 42 million euros in the development of innovations through several support programs which are intended for companies and scientific research organizations and their connection.

For example, they supported the development of evaporative cooling concepts for refrigeration installations, a specialized heat exchanger for biomass, the development of an integrated radar sensor for autonomous industrial robots, a new glue formula, a solution to optimize the production process of ruthenium catalyst used to make drugs for various diseases. Also, a number of software platforms that improve business efficiency are supported, such as one that enables direct communication with consumers.
– Since the improvement of the competitiveness of science, research and innovation in the function of economic development is one of the priorities of the Government of Serbia, the funds for financing innovations through the fund have been multiplied. Approximately 4.5 million euros have been allocated for the fund in 2017, while 10.7 million euros have been allocated from the budget for 2021 – the fund states.
Professor Ivica Radovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Science, says that in cooperation with the “Digital Serbia” Initiative, they initiated the establishment of master 4.0 study programs with the unique goal of connecting modern IT knowledge with business skills needed to develop digital products and services.
– During the last and the year before last, the Ministry supported higher education institutions to accredit and offer young people 10 study programs in the field of ICT and creative industry, but also the first study programs in the field of artificial intelligence that will enable our students to develop skills for future jobs – Radovic explains.
This ministry has compiled the Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence for the period from 2020 to 2025, with the goal of using artificial intelligence in the function of economic growth, employment and a better quality of life. Its application is envisaged in education, economics, public sector services and other areas.
In Serbia, artificial intelligence is mostly developing in the field of industry and agriculture. In agriculture, different estimates are obtained, from what the yield will be, to how to make it higher. In industry, in robotics, a portion of artificial intelligence is used to automate physically demanding and repetitive processes.
Systems based on artificial intelligence can be based solely on software and operate in the virtual world (virtual assistants, photo analysis software, browsers, speech and face recognition systems) or can be embedded in devices, hardware (advanced robots, autonomous vehicles, drones).
In the field of development of artificial intelligence, Serbia is cooperating with China within the global initiative “Belt and Road”. At the last summit of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, joint activities in the development of smart cities were agreed upon, among other things. Sensors that guide drivers to the parking lot, digital monitoring of containers that shows when they are full, remote detection of water supply failures, systems that read energy consumption – Nis, Belgrade and Novi Sad could have all this. They are participating in the smart cities project, which is being implemented by our country in partnership with the Chinese company “Huawei”.
What the Digital Economy Council will do?
The Council for Encouraging the Development of the Digital Economy, Innovation, High-Tech Entrepreneurship and Digitalization (the so-called Council for the Development of the Digital Economy), as we were told in the office of Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, will monitor projects related to improving Serbia’s position on relevant world success lists. digitalization of the economy, education for the digital economy and digitalization of the economy, projects that include technologies intended for application in public administration, smart city projects, expansion of the capacity of science and technology parks and development of innovation infrastructure and startup ecosystems.
It will also monitor certain projects that are relevant to the work of the council and are defined within the future strategy for the development of startup ecosystems, which should be adopted by the end of the year. At the initiative of the Prime Minister of Serbia, projects dealing with artificial intelligence and biotechnology will be additionally included, while one project in the field of information security was proposed at the council session.
“Given that the Council for the Development of the Digital Economy has been established as an integrative mechanism for accelerated digitalization of the domestic economy and creating conditions to achieve this goal as soon as possible, the list of projects will evolve over time – some short-term projects will be completed soon and some new ones will be added,” they state in the office of the Prime Minister, Politika reports.