The workshop on 22-23 April in Skopje (Macedonia) was organised within the one-year  KEP AUSTRIA Project Aim@Innovations aimed at strengthening national capacities for the provision of thematic trainings and consultancies in the area of innovation management to SMEs, start-ups and spinoffs in Macedonia. The project is co-financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation with 45.000 EUR.
The two-day event - taking place at the Knowledge Center (KC) in Skopje, KEP AUSTRIA recipient - was opened with a welcome speech from the CEI National Coordinator to Macedonia, Amb. Jon Ivanovski who expressed deep appreciation for supporting a project dedicated to training in innovation management which “is much needed to increase job creation and decrease the brain drain, strongly affecting our country”.
The morning session on day 1 was open to the public who received the results of a study on “Profiling Macedonian’s Innovation performance”, carried out at the beginning of 2015 by KC representative Andrijana Bogdanovska Djurovic and her team. Participants were from: the University of SS Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, the University American College Skopje, the State University of Tetovo, the University Goce Delchev in Shtip and the University St. Paul the Apostle in Ohrid; from think tanks such as the Finance Think; from Regional Development Centers such as the Center for Development of the East Planning Region, the Agency for Support of Entrepreneurship, and from a couple of companies in the area of Intellectual Property Protection.
The study revealed that 2/3 of companies in Macedonia invested in new products and services and new organisational processes between 2010-2013 and that more than half have abandoned innovation. The main obstacles resulted in a lack of financial resources, security market demand and in a lack of human resources in companies in the area of innovation.

The representative of the Austrian know-how provider, Brainplus, Wolfgang Schabereiter delivered a presentation on why innovation is important, highlighting that it needed to be addressed in all sectors.

Participants also had the chance to learn more about the CEI and its funding and networking opportunities from the CEI Executive Secretariat.

The workshop per se paid particular attention to innovation management, funding creation techniques and innovation marketing, which will serve as a basis for the pilot training targeting small-medium-sized enterprises, taking place in Skopje in September.

The main envisaged result of AIM@Innovations regards the establishment of an Innovations Lab (I-LAB) in Macedonia, a main hub for innovation management, which will mainly focus on providing consulting, mentoring and coaching services.
  *** The KEP AUSTRIA - part of CEI Know-how Exchange Programme - is financed by Austria, with funding provided by the Austrian Development Cooperation (based on an agreement between the Central European Initiative and Austrian Development Agency). The Programme aims at promoting capacity building and technical assistance through know-how transfer from CEI EU to CEI non-EU Member States.

For more information:

Interview with Andrijana Bogdanovska Djurovic from the Knowledge Center in Skopje  

from left: Wolfgang Schabereiter and Andrijana Bogdanovska Djurovic