Over a million euros for the development of the IT industry in Montenegro – MER and ICT Cortex signed a contract worth over a million euros

Minister of Economic Development Jakov Milatović, Ministry of Economic Development, signed today the contract on co-financing the ICT Cortex cluster with CEO Tarik Zaimović. ICT Cortex is the winner of the Contest to support the development of the strategic priority of the Smart Specialization Strategy of Montenegro – Information and Communication Technologies. The total amount foreseen for the implementation of the work program of the ICT cluster Cortex for three years amounts to over one million euros. The program will be supported by the Ministry of Economic Development of over 500,000 euros, while the same amount will be contributed by IT companies and members of the cluster.   “In the previous period, the government invested great efforts in creating both an institutional and an appropriate program framework, which together will enable a more adequate involvement of the innovation community in the process of planning and implementation of the innovation policy, but also create preconditions for the continuation of the implementation of smart specialization in Montenegro,” he said. Minister Milatović. “In such a reform-strengthened institutional and programmatic framework for innovation, innovation infrastructures play a special role, and cluster organizations are certainly among them. Aware of your role in the innovation ecosystem, we decided on targeted support that represents the initial impulse of your further growth and development,” the minister said. “I am particularly pleased to be here today and to have the opportunity to support the ICT Cortex program. I am happy that ICT Cortex is already operational, that it has received support through several projects, has a development strategy, and is slowly positioning itself as a niche of technology companies, which further encourages the Ministry that this story will be successful and that during the period of cooperation on this program to open up other numerous opportunities for cooperation”, said the minister. On that occasion, he said that the Government will continue to work on improving the framework and ecosystem that is necessary for providing digital innovations in industry and education, and that he sees ICT Cortex not only as a user of one of the programs but also as a credible partner in the creation of Government policies. The State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development, Milena Lipovina-Božović, said that this sector is the easiest because there are no inherited problems, but also the most challenging. After all, it is at the very beginning and a lot of effort is needed from all actors in the community to feel significant progress. “These are processes that require a lot of time and the results cannot be seen in such a short time,” said Lipovina-Božović. When it comes to that innovation ecosystem, the Government wanted to strongly support the innovation community with the funds it allocated for the Innovation Fund of EUR 1 million. “We see this story with ICT Cortex as something that will give additional strength and incentive to make everything we envision happen much faster and with better quality in the coming period,” said Lipovina-Božović. According to her, the benefits of the program relate to the strengthening of the administrative capacities of the cluster organization, education programs that will include the strengthening of digital skills, participation in the strengthening of an innovation culture, and the creation of partnerships. The executive director of the ICT Cortex cluster welcomed those present and expressed his gratitude that MER made an important step towards the creation of an innovation ecosystem that will be based on the synergy of public-private partnerships. “I think that the innovation community should be the main engine of the development of our economy 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 many times over,” said Tarik Zaimović, executive director of the ICT Cortex cluster. The president of the ICT Cortex assembly presented the results of the cluster, which gathered around four main goals: education, internationalization of business through increased exports, digitization of CG society, and philanthropy through the establishment of the Cortex Foundation. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to open a new chapter through cooperation with the state by signing today’s contract. Concrete results have already been achieved by doubling the membership, establishing the Foundation, tangible help in digitization processes, as well as the launch of the large Cortex Academy.” – said Nenad Novović, president of the ICT Cortex assembly. ICT Cortex was founded by the innovative IT community in March 2021, to be a leader in the digital transformation of the economy and public administration, and to improve the framework and ecosystem necessary to provide digital innovations in industry and education. The association will contribute to the strengthening of the IT sector and the creation of conditions for the IT sector to become the backbone of the future development of Montenegro and a strong economic activity that will create the country’s leading export products.