The Cluster for Information Technology, Innovation, Education, Design, and Technological Development – ICTCortex, celebrated its third anniversary. The ceremony was attended by friends, partners, and associates, as well as high officials, including the President of Montenegro, Mr. Jakov Milatović, representatives from the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation, and the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Public Administration.

Cluster Cortex  today counts 40 members, including renowned IT companies that are dedicated to advancing the IT sector, digital transformation, and smart specialization of Montenegro.

ICT Cortex was founded with the aim of leading the digital transformation of the economy and public administration by a united ICT community. The opening speeches by cluster representatives and state institution officials provided an opportunity to summarize three years of operation and the achievements of the Cluster.

"The essence of our work and one of the key objectives is digital transformation. We are aware that we all need to work together on this across three areas, I would say: first, the digital transformation of citizens. We simply need to work towards preparing citizens to use and consume various electronic services, then of the economy, and of course, the digital transformation of public administration. Cortex is very dedicated to this, and it holds a very important place in our goals and work program. As the ICT sector, we can significantly contribute to accelerating digital transformation because it will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire economy, thereby improving standards for citizens and society as a whole."

The work of the ICT Cortex cluster has been significantly influenced by the selfless support of the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation, which, by promoting the development of smart specialization within the priority “Information and Communication Technologies,” has supported its operational functioning over the past three years, contributed to the strengthening of the cluster team, and stimulated program activities, as well as internationalization initiatives through the realization of several study visits.

The State Secretary, Ms. Marijeta Barjaktarović Lanzardi – Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation, emphasized that ICT Cortex is a result of policy measures implemented under the Strategy for Smart Specialization of Montenegro, which is focused on enhancing the country’s competitive advantages through innovation, with a special focus on the ICT sector. The main goal was to create an adequate framework for the functioning of the innovation ecosystem, which today includes strong cooperation between the public administration, the business sector, the academic sector, and the NGO sector. She pointed out that in the period 2022-2023, more than 7 million euros were invested in the ICT sector through innovation policy measures, which speaks volumes about the state’s commitment to development in this area.

"Our activities are focused on creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem, in which ICT Cortex, as an innovation infrastructure, is now very well positioned and has become a partner to almost all state institutions in their efforts to encourage, not only innovations, but also, as we have heard, digital transformation and the improvement of the educational system. Therefore, we believe that we will continue to work together in this direction in the coming period."

The transformation of information technologies into a vertical economic sector has been set as one of the key goals of the cluster. The path to achieving this goal would not have been possible without the support of the Ministry of Economic Development.

Dr. Goran Jovetić, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, emphasized that the state has demonstrated through its support for the ICT cluster how things should be done, how successful endeavors should be supported, and, conversely, how successful initiatives can reciprocate this support in the right manner.

"I will just remind you that our colleagues from ICT Cortex have taught us many things. Above all, they have taught us something we often hear in theory but struggle to see in practice: that healthy competition is a stimulus. You have 40 companies in the same industry functioning as one family."

Executive Director of the cluster, Tarik Zaimović, emphasized that synergy is the invisible capital with which the ICT community can work wonders. He reflected on the cluster’s work over the past three years:

"We have equipped four high schools worth €1,200,000. Personally, I believe these are among the most beautiful projects we have accomplished. In addition, we have donated over €100,000, which went to nearly 50 various initiatives. We have sent almost 100 company representatives to over 10 countries where we have achieved significant results. Some of our companies have opened branches in the Emirates, and serious collaborations have been established with companies in the region where companies already cooperate with each other."

Key collaboration with the government plays a crucial role in achieving the goals of both the cluster and its member companies. Over the past three years of existence, ICT Cortex has indeed received significant support from the government of Montenegro.

President of Montenegro, Mr. Jakov Milatović, congratulated the cluster on its 3rd anniversary and emphasized:

"It is my great pleasure to greet you and, at the outset, congratulate you on the 3rd anniversary you are celebrating today. As the President of the country, but also as a passionate advocate for innovation and technological progress, I am proud of the achievements made in the previous period, as well as the diligence of this successful community. I am additionally proud of the fact that I had the opportunity to, as the Minister of Economic Development, follow your work from the very beginning and provide support on the path to becoming a significant economic actor, as you are now in our society. The ICT sector represents one of the key pillars of modern society, and its competitiveness and innovation have a direct impact on the country's economic development. By coming together, a large number of IT companies have pooled their resources and knowledge to advance our IT industry, and thereby our country. I am confident that it is a true pleasure to know that you are leading the digital transformation and paving the way for some new companies to follow in your footsteps. Through your work, you are creating an innovative ecosystem and participating in the creation of policies and decision-making that concern a large number of companies in the IT sector."

ICT Cortex awarded acknowledgments to partners whose support and assistance were essential for achieving the mentioned results. Acknowledgments were presented to: the Central Bank of Montenegro, the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, NLB Bank, Eurozox, as well as Miloš Laković, a prominent individual in the community.

ICT Cortex continues to be a key player in creating innovative solutions, supporting education, design, and technological development. In the years to come, the cluster will continue to strengthen its role as a catalyst for progress in the IT sector of Montenegro and the region.