Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum

 The first regional Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum exceeded high expectations of the Western Balkans’ innovation community.

It was structured to feature a wide range of participants spanning from high-growth globally recognised companies to small, early-stage innovative initiatives.

The Forum kicked off with an interesting remark:

On average, only 1 or 2 out of 100 caterpillars make it to become butterflies. Similarly, between 90% and 95% of start-ups worldwide fail within their first five years.

A great idea means little without focused efforts, perseverance, and adequate incentives. There is no innovation and creativity without failure.

Why Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum?

Although the region somewhat stepped up innovation efforts in the last several years, Western Balkans ranks behind the EU on the Global Innovation Index (scoring between 50th to 84th position).

This is not surprising given that only 1 in 5 enterprises from the Western Balkans received financial support for their innovative activities in 2020.

Despite that, many impressive improvements in food production, tourism, creative and manufacturing industries are testimonies of the region’s innovative potential.

However, to be able to assist fully the region’s industrial development innovation performance should significantly increase.

Whether we like it or not, the region has a long road ahead to catch up with more developed EU Member States.

The region’s governments picked priority fields to focus on in the next years within the Common Regional Market Action Plan and Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.

Some of these include digital transformation, automotive and metal-processing industry, agro-food, and green & circular economy.

Innovation Success Stories Towards Regional Innovation Ecosystem

The key idea behind the Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum was to add visibility to successful innovative teams (companies, initiatives, researchers) and assist networking with potential investors from the Western Balkans.

More importantly, they sought to encourage the viewers around the region to follow in the steps of successful practitioners with their innovative ideas and approaches.

During two full days, the Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum showcased successful start-ups, established innovative companies and early-stage innovative teams from the Western Balkans.

In total, the Forum has seen 11 interesting sessions that featured 31 panelists who shared successful innovation-related developments in the Western Balkans.

Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum

The first Forum Butterfly Innovation & Businesswas held in a hybrid format, both physically in Skopje (North Macedonia) and online on December 16-17, 2021.

It is conceived as a key annual event designed to take stock of the most exciting innovation endeavours over the previous year and help boost the regional innovation ecosystem.

The Forum was organised by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and Enterprise Europe Network, and supported by an online platform for access to finance for South-East European companies FINNO initiative and the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development of North Macedonia. 

The organisers announced the second Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum to be held at the end of 2022.

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