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Swiss EP

STP Čačak—improving the business landscape in Serbia

STP Čačak is operating in central Serbia for ten years now. In the last few years, they have increased activities helping business people and entrepreneurs develop their full potential.

Science Technology Park Čačak is the latest addition to the list of organizations Swiss EP supports in Serbia.

We talked with Filip Ilić, coordinator of the Startup Center in STP Čačak, and got to hear his perspective on the organization’s work, growth, and future plans.

Swiss EP: STP Čačak is an organization with a long track record, but we could see more of your activities in the last few years. What has changed in your work?

STP Čačak: STP Čačak, as an initiative, was launched back in 2011. The initiators and founders of the park were: the city of Čačak, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Faculty of Agronomy, Fruit Research Institute and two business associations, “Gradac 97” and “Unija 2000”. They recognized the institution's importance. In line with national strategies, the state invested more energy and resources in our development in recent years, directly contributing to the organization's accelerated growth. The importance of STP Čačak is visible through the impact we have on the local business environment and people's lives in theregion of western Serbia. Business founders, entrepreneurs, and other relevant actors recognize our efforts, which is the main reason for increased investments and activities of our organization.

Swiss EP: What would you point to as your most important activity last year?

STP Čačak: The opening of new production and office capacities, with a total area of 5,733 m2, is our most significant activity in 2020. On top of that, 90% of the total area is already filled out with companies and research centers working here.

Swiss EP: What were your plans for 2020? More precisely, what was 2020 supposed to look like, and how did it turn out? How much did COVID-19 disrupt your plans?

STP Čačak: Like other organizations, we quickly adapted to the new business conditions. We succeeded in implementing most of our 2020 plan with minor adjustments. The main change was transition to online business and organizing online events, meetings, and trainings.

Swiss EP: Speaking of online events - they aren’t limited by geography, and someone from Čačak can easily listen to events from Niš, Belgrade, London. What is your crucial competitive advantage compared to organizations outside of Čačak? What is the thing that only you can offer to Čačak and Šumadija entrepreneurs?

STP Čačak: You’re correct: people from Čačak can attend events organized elsewhere. However, the reverse is also true—others can follow the events organized in Čačak, too :) Our audience comes from all parts of Serbia. Our competitive advantage is that we understand problems and challenges that are relevant to our local businesspeople and entrepreneurs. On top of that, our good relationships and connections with city administration, academic circles, and business associations are also things that we see as a plus.

Swiss EP: What is your plan for 2021? What do you want to achieve this year?

STP Čačak: During 2021, we plan to continue with the organization's accelerated growth and development. Our goal is to fill in all the available capacities in our building and start negotiations for expansion. Also, we want to exploit the full capacity of the STP Čačak Startup Center and increase the number of innovative solutions launched by startup teams.

Swiss EP: How do you see the Swiss EP's role in your work? In which segment of your work is our help most valuable? How can we help you in 2021?

STP Čačak: First of all, we must emphasize our gratitude to the Swiss EP. The support we receive from you is very important for our entire organization. We would love to continue our cooperation in the same direction. The educational content you provide is strengthening our internal capacities and the capacities of our users.

Swiss EP: It is our pleasure to work with you. We wish you a lot of success in future!