Jakov Milatović, the Minister of Economic Development, signed a co-financing agreement with the Executive Director, Tarik Zaimović, of ICT Cortex today. ICT Cortex is the recipient of the Competition for the Support of the Development of Montenegro’s Smart Specialization Strategy Strategic Priority – Information and Communication Technologies.

The total amount allocated for the realization of the ICT Cortex cluster’s work program over a three-year period exceeds one million euros. The program will receive support from the Ministry of Economic Development in the amount of over 500,000 euros, while IT companies that are members of the cluster will contribute the same amount.

“In the previous period, the government has made significant efforts to create both institutional and appropriate programmatic frameworks that will jointly enable the more adequate involvement of the innovation community in the planning and implementation of innovation policy. It will also create conditions for the continuation of the implementation of smart specialization in Montenegro,” stated Minister Milatović.

“In such a reformed, strengthened institutional, and programmatic framework for innovation, innovation infrastructures, including cluster organizations, undoubtedly play a significant role. Recognizing your role in the innovation ecosystem, we have opted for targeted support, representing an initial impetus for your further growth and development,” the Minister emphasized.

“I am particularly pleased to be here today and have the opportunity to support the ICT Cortex program. I am delighted that ICT Cortex is already operational, has received support through several projects, has a development strategy, and is gradually positioning itself as a niche technology company, which further encourages the Ministry. This story will be successful, and during our period of collaboration in this program, we will open up numerous other possibilities for cooperation,” said the Minister. On this occasion, he assured that the Government will continue to work on improving the framework and ecosystem necessary to ensure digital innovations in the industry and education, viewing ICT Cortex not only as a user of one of the programs but also as a credible partner in shaping government policies.

Milena Lipovina-Božović, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development, stated that this sector is both the easiest, as it does not have inherited problems, and the most challenging, as it is in its infancy, requiring a lot of effort from all community stakeholders to achieve significant progress.

“These are processes that require a lot of time, and the results cannot be visible in such a short period,” Lipovina-Božović said.

Regarding the innovation ecosystem, the Government aimed to strongly support the innovation community with the funds allocated for the Innovation Fund of one million euros.

“We see this collaboration with ICT Cortex as something that will provide additional strength and impetus to make everything we envisioned happen more quickly and with better quality in the near future,” Lipovina-Božović said. According to her, the program’s benefits involve strengthening the administrative capacities of the cluster organization, educational programs encompassing the enhancement of digital skills, participation in strengthening the innovation culture, and creating partnerships.

The Executive Director of the ICT Cortex cluster welcomed the attendees and expressed gratitude for the significant step the MER has taken towards creating an innovation ecosystem based on the synergy of public-private partnerships.

“I believe that the innovation community should be the main engine of our economy’s development and that it is our most valuable resource. I believe that every euro invested in knowledge, technological development, innovation, and young and capable people will be returned manifold,” stated Tarik Zaimović, the Executive Director of the ICT Cortex cluster.

The President of the Assembly of ICT Cortex presented the cluster’s previous results, which have gathered around four main objectives: education, business internationalization through export growth, digitalization of Montenegrin society, and philanthropy through the establishment of the Cortex Foundation.

“We are pleased to be able to open a new chapter through collaboration with the state by signing today’s agreement. Concrete results have already been achieved by doubling the membership, establishing the Foundation, tangible assistance in the digitalization process, as well as the launch of the large Cortex Academy,” said Nenad Novović, the President of the Assembly of ICT Cortex.

ICT Cortex was founded by the innovative IT community in March 2021, with the aim of leading in the digital transformation of the economy and public administration and improving the framework and ecosystem necessary for digital innovations in the industry and education.

The association will contribute to strengthening the IT sector and creating conditions for the IT sector to become the backbone of Montenegro’s future development and a robust economic activity that will create the country’s leading export products.

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