Podgorica, PR press service – ICT Cortex is a prime example of synergy and demonstrates that it is a strong sector that is on the rise and well worth investing in, according to a statement at the celebration marking the first year of operation of this cluster.

The President of the Cluster Assembly, Nenad Novović, said that a lot has been achieved in a very short period of time.

“Professional associations of companies in Montenegro are not so common, but in this case, I think it turned out to be quite natural,” Novović said.

He presented an honorary membership in the cluster to Marijeta Barjaktarović Lanzardi, a representative of the Ministry of Economic Development.

The President of the Cluster’s Board of Directors, Sanja Gardašević, said that more than a year ago, they started putting together the pieces of what is now ICT Cortex, and that they have been working on achieving six goals that brought together 11 companies a year ago.

“Above all, we wanted to establish a professional inclusive organization, implement education programs for both new and existing staff, find a way to retain the existing workforce, work on internationalization and strengthening the potential of our products, strengthen innovation and the competitiveness of cluster members, influence the digital transformation of society, and implement corporate social responsibility programs,” Gardašević said.

“We have signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Central Bank of Montenegro, established cooperation with the Capital of Montenegro, and connected with numerous organizations, universities, schools, and business associations,” she said.

She also noted that a practice for high school students was implemented in cooperation with the Vaso Aligrudić Electrotechnical School, and training was organized for employed members of the association.

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

ICT Cortex currently has 29 members, employing over 600 people.

“We estimate that the exports of member companies accounted for about 18 percent of Montenegro’s total goods exports for 2021. This is a strong sector on the rise. Total revenues have nearly doubled in two years. We see that profits have increased, exports have nearly tripled, and the number of employees is constantly growing, which all shows that this sector is well worth investing in,” Garadšević emphasized.

The cluster’s executive director, Tarik Zaimović, said he is especially proud because ICT Cortex is a prime example of synergy.

“We have managed to connect directors and owners of companies very well. What we haven’t managed to do, and what was not possible in a year, is to connect the people who drive the business. That’s our plan for this year. We intend to establish three committees: the Human Resources and Education Committee, the Internationalization and Sales Committee, and the Women Empowerment in IT Committee,” Zaimović said.

As one of the major projects, he added, there is a project for providing housing for 120 IT families, with the aim of retaining the best IT professionals, providing them with up to 45 percent savings in housing, and helping them buy an apartment.

“We have also received a serious grant of half a million euros, earmarked for equipment at the Vaso Aligrudić School. Our plan is to carry out the second phase of infrastructure equipping of schools, and we will allocate that to Nikšić and Bijelo Polje. This year, we plan to educate 300 high school students. We are doing this in six municipalities. In parallel, we are training 15 teachers and educating an additional 250 participants, young people and students, who are being trained in member companies. The goal is to have 80 produced junior staff, most of whom we will probably employ,” Zaimović said.

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

“This year, we plan to apply for a major tender and join forces with the best companies in Montenegro. With the Central Bank of Montenegro, we plan to organize the second Fintech Conference and Hackathon. We are planning with the Central Bank of Montenegro for this year’s Hackathon to be on an even larger regional level, and there will be a significantly larger cash fund for the best team and the idea for the development of Fintech,” Zaimović said.

The director of the “Čini dobro” Foundation, Aleksandra Bošković, said that “Do Good” is a non-profit organization founded by ICT Cortex, with the aim of empowering young people, investing in education, supporting healthy innovative ideas, and contributing to the digitization of society.

“I am proud that throughout the last year and during 2020, our work has been focused on the local community and segments of society that needed it most. In the coming period, the Foundation will focus most on education and support ICT Cortex in all the projects it leads,” Bošković said.

The target groups are, as she pointed out, talented pupils and students, employees in the foundation’s members, educational institutions, and organizations.

“In the past year and a half, we have donated over 80,000 euros, launched the website cinidobro.me, and increased our membership by three new members. We have helped socially vulnerable families and donated over 50,000 euros. We have reached nearly 200 families, and we have helped with the purchase of school equipment, textbooks, clothing, footwear, and computer equipment,” Bošković said.

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

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

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