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Ms Zoja Kukić, (Programme Director for Startup Ecosystem in the Digital Serbia Initiative), addressed the question of unicorn companies. There are over 300 hundred unicorns in the world, however, only about 20 are not located in the US or China, according to Kukić. She also referred to some of the biggest acquisitions in Southeast Europe, such as the acquisition of Outfit7, Telerik or Frame.
Kukić then focused on the start-up environment in Serbia, pointing to geographical discrepancies as the vast majority of start-ups are located in Belgrade. She also noted that Serbian start-up companies are really young, adding that 50% of them were founded in the last two years.
One of the biggest challenges that start-up companies encounter are related to the lack of funding, which needs to be adequately addressed.
Lastly, she mentioned several activities that governments should carry out to improve the start-up environment in the region, such as offering investment incentives, providing innovation-friendly ecosystems, investing in education and research and development, to name a few.
By Katarina Andjelković