The EIT Community in the Western Balkans

The EIT Community in the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans region is set to receive more innovation support, and the EIT Community has been aiming to fill in the past few years. With a new dedicated focus on the region within the EIT Jumpstarter programme, we opened our very first EIT Community Hub in North Macedonia in 2023. The Infrabooster initiative specifically targets the Western Balkans; here is an inventory of everything the EIT Community has done in the region in the past years.

In 2023, the EIT Jumpstarter programme received a total of 64 applications from the Western Balkans region, out of which 25 were selected to participate. Finally, four teams made it to the Grand Final, and two of them won their own category: Noxa Test took home first prize in food, while Neo Pill dominated the health category and also got the prize for the best team from the Western Balkans.

Noxa Test

The Serbian start-up, Noxa Test is developing a diagnostic panel for livestock that is reliable, fast, easy-to-use and affordable. Their cutting-edge technology can identify a wide range of bacterial species and, more importantly, antibiotic resistance mechanisms. In the current post-antibiotic era, where no matter how powerful antibiotics are, some microbes have evolved to become resistant to them. Noxa’s innovation aims to tackle the pressing global health crisis of antibiotic resistance that endangers the lives of not only animals, but also humans.

“We are grateful to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology for recognising our solution as this year’s category winner and to the facilitators and mentors for their great leadership and help. We would like to encourage more new teams to experience this and to apply for this type of programme in the future. The EIT Community’s support is viewed as a valuable asset on our journey to achieve this goal. This award is giving us strength and self-confidence, as well as the courage to go further and to be better over time, and importantly, to attract investors.” – said the representative of Noxa Test at this year’s EIT Jumpstarter Grand Final in Athens.

The next steps for Noxa Test are to apply for intellectual property protection for their innovation, to obtain a laboratory test certification and to reach their first customers.

Neo Pill

The winner of the health category at the 2023 EIT Jumpstarer Grand Final was another Serbian start-up, Neo Pill that develops an innovative oral cleaning product specifically targeting people with fixed dental braces. It is the only dental product in the world powered by electrolysis, and it is made from recyclable materials. Furthermore, this convenient solution requires no water or access to a bathroom.

“There is much more than the award itself, as it is the recognition of our project from the EIT Community that means a lot. Also, the support of the EIT Community in developing our start-up is huge and can take us to the top. The EIT Jumpstarter programme taught us the basic, but also the most important steps for setting up a healthy, lean start-up, how to be fast and how to be the first on the market. Perhaps the most important of all is how crucial the team and communication are for success and reaching the goal.” – added Neo Pill’s team.

As for the next steps, Neo Pill pointed out that they are continuing their cooperation with EIT Health InnoStars through partnerships and subsequent programmes, and as a result, they expect that their product will find its way to users around the world very soon.

The very first EIT Community RIS Hub opens

The first EIT Community RIS Hub was opened in Skopje, North Macedonia on 13 June 2023 with the goal to engage the Macedonian innovation ecosystem by providing detailed information on the services and opportunities offered by the EIT Community. Furthermore, the Hub will also offer policy support and expertise to local authorities. Strategically, the Western Balkans is a crucial region for the EIT Community, because of its economic strengths in smart agriculture, food processing as well as information and communications technologies.


2023 also saw the launch of a brand new initiative designed exclusively for research institutes with laboratory infrastructure in the Western Balkans. In the framework of the initiative, the EIT Community will facilitate the establishment of collaborations between research institutes and industry players doing research and development (R&D) activities. More specifically, research institutes will provide access to their laboratory infrastructure for industry, and in return, researchers may gain valuable insight into how they could commercialise the findings of their work. Collaborations of this kind are the perfect example of the knowledge triangle approach, one the cornerstones of the EIT, in which there is a fertile cross-pollination of ideas between business, research and academia.