The possibility of a new global economic crisis was a widely discussed topic before the COVID19 pandemic. A crisis is no longer just a potential danger; it is a certainty whose consequences and the subsequent chain of events are impossible to predict. Another certain thing is that no segment of the economy would be spared from it and that the smallest and the most vulnerable members of the business community, as well as those who have just stepped into the world of business, are the ones who fear most.
Above all, this applies to startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies that either remain dependent on external financial sources or lack the free cash flow to withstand such crises. According to a survey by the Digital Serbia initiative, 46% of local startups already see the negative impact of the pandemic on their businesses, while 38% of them are yet to learn the full impact of the pandemic. However, some believe that the pandemic will not influence their income or that it will help their business generate growth.
What gives us hope is the power to quickly adapt to new circumstances shown by many businesses. Digitalization of business, on-the-door delivery as a usual offer are some of the ways to fight for survival during this pandemic.
Using 3D printers—some of which were purchased thanks to EU’s support—business incubators and their tenants joined The Visionaries of Serbia group and starting printing face shields for healthcare professionals. And this was not the only idea they came up with as they sought new ways to fight the COVID 19 or any other pandemic in the future. Business incubators, as a place for the professional development of startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, strive to offer an even higher level of support to their tenants in times of crisis and help them recover after a rough patch.
Thanks to the European Union’s rapid response, through the business incubators tenants have been receiving information, advice, and specific ideas on how to sustain desired business levels during the crisis in the form of online training and webinars. Džemil Dupljak is a software developer in the field of information systems, and at the same time, he is the project manager of the IT incubator Center NIT.
"EU Support to Business Incubator development - EUBID" project recognized our incubator as having a significant potential for the development of startups and entrepreneurs in the Sandzak region and is, therefore, receiving substantial support. Within the project, a series of webinars on various subjects has taken place. I’d say it was especially useful for us, young entrepreneurs who are just entering the business world", says Dzemil.
With the help of EUBID experts, NIT Center and numerous other incubators have been working for several months to improve the services they provide to their tenants. The aim of the project, supported by the European Union with EUR1.5 million, helps business incubators, startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies in Serbia to promote the business incubation ecosystem to a level that will, not only support but, at the same time, enable progress for anyone who starts their business through an incubator.