The Western Balkans region advances over the years in terms of economic development and technological progression. North Macedonia and Serbia have been particularly successful in this regard. This development has been helped along in part by the expansion of the startup sector, which has seen a rise in the number of innovative companies that seek to innovate and disrupt more established industries.
However, despite this progress, the region still faces many challenges when it comes to fostering innovation and supporting the growth of startups. One of the key challenges is the lack of a supportive policy environment, which can make it difficult for startups to access the resources and support they need to succeed.
Policy advocacy refers to the process of influencing public policy to support innovation and the growth of start-ups. There are several key areas where policy advocacy can make a difference in terms of supporting innovation and start-ups in the Western Balkans. Governments may best keep up with market changes and demands by collaborating via expert working groups and ecosystem associations.
Additionally, policymakers can create a more conducive environment for innovation by providing tax incentives for investors, as well as supporting the development of incubators and accelerators to run start-up programs. Some economies in Western Balkans provide access to affordable capital and other resources for start-ups, as well as promote collaboration and networking within the start-up community.
Furthermore, policy advocacy can play a crucial role in raising awareness of the potential of innovation and start-ups to drive economic growth and development in the region. By highlighting the successes and potential of the start-up sector, policymakers can help to build support for policies that will enable innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive. Many good examples came from the top governments that put innovation and entrepreneurship on the high priority of their agenda.
Members of the Western Balkans Start-up Council in the Policy recommendation paper proposed actions for this section:
Working groups with field experts
Education of policymakers on start-ups
Regional association of startup-related organisations
In conclusion, policy advocacy is an important tool for supporting innovation and start-ups in the Western Balkans. By working together with policymakers, investors, and other stakeholders, the region can create a more supportive environment for innovation and drive economic growth and development.