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SUCCESS STORY: Strategic partnership for accessing European research programmes with the support of the Enterprise Europe Network

ICT sector is one of the main contributors to innovation and growth to both, the Macedonian and overall European economy. At the same time, the sector faces several challenges including the need for intensifying the RDI (research, development and innovation) activities within the companies.

One of the Macedonian companies that builds its competitive advantage on such activities and development of innovative solutions is 4Virtus, software developer with expertise in web solutions, mobile applications, Internet of Things solutions and digital marketing services. Being awarded with several international awards in the field over the last years, the company has already established itself as an example of an innovative and successful IT company in Macedonia. For the purpose of better utilizing its innovative potential and increasing its international activity, 4Virtus is a respected client of the Foundation for Management and Industrial Research, one of the 600 branches of the largest network for SME support, present in 66 countries – the Enterprise Europe Network (http://een.ec.europa.eu/).

„We support SMEs to commercialise their innovative solutions through providing advisory services, partner search activities and facilitating access to programmes for research and development” – explains Aleksandar Filiposki from Enterprise Europe Network in Macedonia. Network’s clients are offered a broad range of services including support for participation in EU projects, brokerage partnering services for establishing business collaboration, technology transfer and research cooperation, as well as organizing educational and B2B events.

With the support of the network, in October 2015 4Virtus participated in the SICILY4EXPO Brokerage event in Milan, Italy, having meetings with numerous companies from different parts of Europe. One of these companies was PFM SRL, an Italian company specialised in e-learning, knowledge management technologies and semantic web services. Their initial meeting held during this network event mark the beginning of a strategic partnership between the companies, nowadays jointly focusing on accessing the European funds for research and development, suitable for SMEs. Having no prior experience in this regard, 4Virtus allowed the Italian company to lead the overall process for project preparation, including creation of the consortia, a project that was submitted under the SME Instrument from the programme Horizon 2020, the largest EU programme for supporting R&D activities in Europe.

„Thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network we were given an opportunity to find new strategic partner who has opened new horizons for us. We have never before explored the possibility or have been fully aware of the opportunity of reaching international markets through the support programmes of the EU”, stated Igor Hristov, owner and CEO of 4Virtus.