Talents from Western Balkans get into the EIT Jumpstarter bootcamps 2024

Talents from Western Balkans get into the EIT Jumpstarter bootcamps 2024

The interest in EU pre-acceleration support in the Western Balkans is steadily growing. This year. 11,5% of applicants came from one of the Western Balkans economies, with North Macedonia and Serbia having the biggest share. 

The programme received a notable number of applications from the Western Balkans, underlining the region’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem – the total number of applicants per country, expressed as percentages of the total, is as follows: Albania 20.83%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4.17%, Kosovo 16.67%, Montenegro 16.67%, Republic of North Macedonia 27.08%, Serbia 27.08%.    

Several promising teams were selected to join the boot camp from these countries with the following split: Albania 14.81%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 7.41%, Kosovo 14.81%, Montenegro 18.52%, Republic of North Macedonia 29.63%, and Serbia 29.63%. 

The EIT Community’s efforts in the Western Balkans are yielding noticeable progress, for instance, in North Macedonia. The opening of the EIT Community RIS Hub in Skopje in June 2023 helped in centralising various opportunities that the EIT Community offers for different stakeholders interested in innovations. It acts like a one-stop shop for different thematic Knowledge and Innovation Communities. It helps keep talents and allows them to grow in the region by tapping into the EIT’s vast, international knowledge ecosystem. 

Agrifood ideas are the most popular 

The selected teams proposed ideas in agrifood, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, raw materials, urban mobility and New European Bauhaus. The most popular was the agrifood category, which may result from a strong focus on Smart Specialisation Strategies in Western Balkans on agriculture and agrifood. This has been confirmed by previous workshops and research emphasising the need for improved technical efficiency and innovation in this sector.  

Teams from Western Balkans join the horizontal cohort in the EIT Jumpstarter, which means that they can grow their ideas through seven thematic categories. Now, during the bootcamps the teams will find and validate the best business model for their innovative idea. The courses build on the lean start-up methodology from Silicon Valley translated to the European Environment. They will learn about how to refine their customer value proposition, market segmentation, financials, investment basics, legal basics and more.  

Since 2017, the EIT Jumpstarter has trained almost a hundred teams from the Western Balkans, representing 9% of all our students. This year, we see this number rise to 11.5%, reflecting the growing interest in the region to join our accelerator program. We are excited to support this enthusiasm and look forward to continuing our work with the talented individuals from the Western Balkans. 

Stay tuned for more updates on the progress and achievements of these ambitious teams as they embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.