Podgorica, PR press service – ICT Cortex is a real example of synergy and shows that it is a strong sector, which is moving on an upward trajectory and which is well worth investing in, it was announced at the ceremony marking the first year of operation of that cluster.

The president of the cluster assembly, Nenad Novović, said that a lot had been achieved in a very short time.

“The professional association of companies in Montenegro is not that common, but in this case, I think it turned out very naturally,” said Novović.

He presented the honorary accession to the cluster to the representative of the Ministry of Economic Development, Marijeta Barjaktarović Lanzardi.

The President of the Management Board of the cluster, Sanja Gardašević, said that more than a year ago, the pieces of what is today ICT Cortex began to fall into place and that work is being done to achieve the six goals that 11 companies gathered a year ago.

“First of all, we wanted to establish a professional inclusive organization, to implement education programs for both new and existing staff and to find a way to keep the existing staff, to work on the internationalization and strengthening of the potential of our products, to strengthen the innovation and competitiveness of the cluster members themselves, to influence the digital transformation of society and to implement programs of socially responsible business”, said Gardašević.

“We signed a memorandum on cooperation with the Central Bank of Montenegro, we also achieved cooperation with the Capital of Montenegro, we connected with numerous organizations, universities, schools and business associations,” Gardašević pointed out.

She also stated that an internship was conducted for high school students with the Vaso Aligrudić School of Electrical Engineering, and training was also organized for employed members of the association.

“The crown of our work in the field of education is the Cortex Academy, which managed to unite all the education programs of the cluster members and provide an additional online form of education in five areas. We are extremely glad that we had 1,292 applications, which speaks of the great need for a program of this type and the great impact we can achieve through projects like this,” explained Gardašević.

ICT Cortex today, as she said, has 29 members, and they have over 600 employees.

“We estimate that the export of member companies participates in about 18 percent of the total export of goods of Montenegro for the year 2021. It is a strong sector, which moves on an upward trajectory. Total revenues have almost doubled over two years. We see that profits have increased, that exports have almost tripled, and that the number of employees is constantly growing, which all shows that this sector is very much worth investing in,” Garadšević pointed out.

The executive director of the cluster, Tarik Zaimović, said that he is particularly proud because ICT Cortex is a true example of synergy.

“We managed to connect directors and owners of companies very well. What we did not succeed in, and what was not even possible for the year, was to connect the people who carry the work. That is our plan for this year. We intend to open three committees, namely the Committee for Human Resources and Education, the Committee for Internationalization and Sales, and the Committee for the Empowerment of Women in IT,” said Zaimović.

One of the capital projects, as he added, is a project to provide housing for 120 IT families, and the intention is to retain the best IT staff with this program, to provide them with savings of up to 45 percent for solving the housing issue, buying an apartment.

“Also, we received a serious grant for half a million euros, which was earmarked for equipment at the Vaso Aligrudić School. We intend to do the second phase of infrastructural equipping of schools and we will decide that for Nikšić and Bijelo Polje. For this year, we intend to educate 300 high school students. We do that in six municipalities. At the same time, we train 15 professors and educate an additional 250 participants, who are young people and students, who are trained in member companies. The goal is to have 80 junior staff produced, of whom we will most likely hire,” said Zaimović.

The plan, as he announced, is to visit Eastern, and Western Europe, and America in the coming period, all to find new jobs, and partners, open representative offices in Montenegro and increase exports.

“This year, we intend to apply for a large tender and unite a large force of the best companies in Montenegro. Together with the Central Bank of Montenegro, we plan to organize the second Fintech conference and Hackathon. We are making plans with the Central Bank of Montenegro so that this year the Hackathon will be on an even bigger, regional level, and there will be a significantly larger fund for the best team and idea for the development of Fintech”, said Zaimović.

The director of the Foundation “Čini dobro”, Aleksandra Bošković, said that “Čini dobro”, a non-profit association founded by ICT Cortex, aims to empower young people, invest in education, help with healthy innovative ideas and contribute to the digitization of society.

“I am proud that throughout last year and 2020, we focused our work on the local community and on the segments of society that needed it the most. In the coming period, the Foundation will be mostly focused on education and will provide support to ICT Cortex in all the projects it will lead,” said Bošković.

As she stated, the target groups are talented pupils and students, employees of the Foundation’s members, educational institutions, and organizations.

“In the previous year and a half, we donated over 80 thousand euros, launched the website cinidobro.me, and increased the membership by three new members. We helped socially disadvantaged families and donated over 50 thousand euros. We reached almost 200 families, and we helped in the distribution of school equipment, textbooks, clothes, shoes, and computer equipment,” said Bošković.

She announced that an online donation platform will soon be available.

“Our goal is to increase the number of donors, the activities of the Foundation, to increase visibility, charitable actions, support educational programs and strengthen the capacities of educational institutions and give strong support to talented pupils and students,” said Bošković.