The Government of Serbia has recently passed a new Regulation offering significant subsidies for newly established businesses, and unlike the recently discussed Regulation on the Terms and Conditions of Attracting Direct Investments, this regulation aims at providing subsidies primarily to SME’s. The Ministry of Economy will be in charge of allocating subsidies in the amount equal to 30% of the total investment, primarily to new businesses, but also to some existing businesses which are in need of resources in order to become operative.
While deciding on the allocation of the subsidies, special attention will be given to enticing social entrepreneurship. In addition to his, all investment projects will have to fulfill certain objective criteria – they must relate to reconstruction/refurbishment of business premises, purchasing of new equipment, or of used equipment not older than five years. The minimum amount of investment is RSD 400.000 (approx. EUR 3.200). In addition to this non-refundable subsidy scheme, the Development Fund of Serbia also offers loans to businesses in the amount of RSD 500 million (approx. EUR 4.000.000) under favorable terms. This new subsidy scheme emphasizes continued efforts of the state to support investment in various branches of industry, not only of big investors, but also of newly established companies. Furthermore, startups in Serbia can soon also hope to benefit from resources offered by the Innovation Fund of Serbia, which primarily aims at supporting startup companies which are market-oriented towards use of new technologies and innovation.
Overall, the investment possibilities and the ease of setting up a business in Serbia are marked positively. In this field, Serbia has improved its position 7 places on the World Bank’s Doing Business list, and according to praise of the CEO’s of some of the world leading companies, is well on its way to becoming a true startup nation.