Today, the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) and SID Bank, the Slovenian Export and Development Bank, establishing the first regional platform for launching a fund to finance the commercialization of innovative technological and scientific solutions in Croatia and Slovenia. universities, research institutes and centers worth at least 40m euros, HBOR said.
EIF Executive Director Alain Godard, President of the Management Board of SID Bank Sibil Svilan, President of the Management Board of HBOR Tamara Perko and Member of the Management Board of HBOR Hrvoje Čuvalo signed an agreement today in Ljubljana on the establishment of a regional platform for technology transfer - CEETT) from universities, research institutes and centers to the economy.
The funds of this platform, financed by HBOR and SID Bank each with the amount of EUR 10 million and the EIF with EUR 20 million, will be invested in the establishment of a regional technology transfer fund, ie a venture capital fund that will finance research projects, technology development and intellectual property. with potentially high commercial value to the economy. It will be possible to finance projects developed by Croatian or Slovenian universities, research institutes and centers, which are in the "Proof of Concept" phase and need financial resources to assess the feasibility of the concept and transfer the research results to the process. commercialization. At least 15 million euros will be invested in projects of Croatian scientific institutions from this fund.
According to the EIF analysis, it is estimated that in the next 5 years, universities and research institutes in Slovenia and Croatia will apply for more than 350 patents and 100 spin-off companies that could be financed through the technology transfer fund.
"This is one of the most important days for Slovenian and Croatian scientists, the scientific and research community since Slovenia and Croatia became independent," said prof. dr. sc. Igor Emri, Head of the Department at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana.
"Croatia is not lagging behind in the development of patents and new solutions, but it is lagging behind in their application in the economy. Namely, the Croatian as well as the Slovenian market lacks a link in financing due to which many valuable patents and technological solutions never experience their commercialization. This is the most risky form of investment and therefore private capital is rarely invested in such projects. Therefore, our role, as development banks, is to compensate for this shortcoming and enable a strong link between science and entrepreneurship. This will encourage not only the commercialization of the achievements of our scientific institutions, but also the growth of our economy based on the application of new and innovative solutions of high added value, "said Tamara Perko, President of the Management Board of HBOR.
"Sustainable development of the Slovenian economy and Slovenia will strongly depend on whether Slovenia will be an innovator, ie it will depend on investments in science, research, development, innovation and human capital. SID Bank has been active in this field for many years with its programs for financing research, development and innovation, as well as financing technological and development projects in the economy. In cooperation with the EIF and HBOR, existing programs for financing the company's equity and quasi-equity (EUR 100 million: SEGIP in Slovenia; EUR 80 million: CROGIP in Croatia) will be improved and a CEETT platform will be established to ensure funds through the venture capital fund for technology transfer in the amount of at least EUR 40 million through the financing of research projects, scientific achievements and intellectual property of universities and research institutes in Slovenia and Croatia which are estimated to have potential for market commercialization and application in the economy. for support in establishing innovative spin-off companies. In this way, ties between research institutions and companies are strengthened in order for Slovenia to become one of the leading countries for innovation and increase the competitiveness of the economy, which SID Bank will continue to encourage with its financing and insurance programs, "said Sibil Svilan, President of SID Bank.
"By launching CEETT, EIF, SID Bank and HBOR are creating a financial history in the European Union, Slovenia and Croatia. It is the first multinational technology transfer platform in the European Union. At the same time, CEETT in Slovenia and Croatia is the first long-term solution for funding research projects and protecting the intellectual property of local universities and research institutes and, equally important, for financing technology transfers. We at the EIF are extremely proud of our contribution to the further progress of scientific research in these two countries, and I would like to thank our partners from SID Bank and HBOR for their energy and hard work in launching CEETT, ”said Alain Goddard, EIF Executive Director.
The EIF will conduct a tender to select a technology transfer fund management company that will be open until October this year, and the selection will be completed in the first half of 2022, after which the fund will start operating and making its first investments.
The establishment of this fund is a continuation of HBOR's activities in developing the capital investment market. In cooperation with the EIF, HBOR has launched four funds in the last two years, one for startups and three for more mature companies, whose total size is expected to reach almost EUR 300 million, the statement said.