A chance for small and medium-sized enterprises: Support to the innovation and digitalisation sector in the framework of the BOOST project

The BOOST project that is implemented by INTERA Technology Park (Mostar) is part of the project ”Innovation and Digitalisation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU4DigitalSME”, co-funded by the European Union and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany (BMZ), and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The BOOST project includes, among other things, the implementation of an innovation voucher scheme (IVS) focusing on the provision of support for technological and digital innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and brings together SMEs and the academia through a simple programme. Economic development, innovation, improved competitiveness and new jobs based on long-term partnerships are the basic objectives of this project.

In addition to this, the innovation voucher scheme (IVS) enables small and medium-sized enterprises to access funds, in-depth know how and expertise for resolving the challenges and meeting the needs of their business operations through the necessary innovation and pro-active experts from the academia and digital innovation hubs established in the framework of the project EU4DigitalSME.

Another outcome of the BOOST project is an online catalogue that is available on the website of INTERA Technology Park. The website enables academic institutions and digital innovation hubs to offer their tailor-made services to small and medium-sized enterprises.         

The services are provided for a maximum of three months, whereas the maximum voucher amount is 5,000 EUR. The voucher amount covers up to 90% of the service price, i.e. companies need to finance at least 10% of the cost of provided services.   

At the moment, more than 60 small and medium-sized enterprises with a dozen of different activities are registered for the vouchers. The scheme also includes 17 service providers that offer more than 130 innovative services and more than 100 experts from all fields. 95% of services or projects so far have been related to technological improvements and development of new products and production processes, as well as digital innovation and improvement of digital skills of employees of SMEs. The IVS also enables companies to hire intellectual property experts for the purpose of innovation, but also innovation commercialisation.

Given the great interest, the Innovation Voucher Scheme (IVS) was expanded using additional financial capacities, and companies can still apply for support in the sector of innovation and digitalisation using the following link: https://intera.ba/projekti/boost/

The IVS implemented in the framework of the BOOST project reduces financial obstacles and facilitates the cooperation between the industry and the academia, which was identified as the key cause for poor motivation for mutual cooperation. This ensures lower costs, faster product development and adaptation to varying market conditions, resulting in a faster economic growth and development.

The BOOST project strategy enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which play an important role in the economy, and academic institutions, which possess the necessary expertise, to achieve mutual benefits and develop new innovative products and services. As a result, they can develop networks and partnerships and thus become more competitive in the local and global markets.

The joint efforts have a positive impact on other important and challenging sectors, such as the industry, health, education, society and environment. The BOOST project will end on June 25, 2024, but its successful results will be promoted at this year’s CONNECTO Conference (www.connecto.ba).

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