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UNECE promotes innovative entrepreneurship in Southeast Europe

Published: 05 June 2013

Innovation is a key driver of sustainable prosperity, and entrepreneurs are key driving forces behind innovation. To promote innovative entrepreneurship, particularly in Southeast Europe, UNECE and the Croatian Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts jointly organized an international conference on “Innovative Entrepreneurship – Making Things Work Better” in Dubrovnik on 23-24 May 2013.

Some of its key policy messages included:

  • The importance of education and awareness initiatives to promote an innovation culture.
  • Policy instruments to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation are most often based on the collaboration between the private and the public sector. The policy challenge is how to devise instruments that provide effective support but also do not distort incentives.
  • Finance is often a problem but it is not the only problem. Initiatives to address financial issues are more effective when they are integrated into strategies to strengthen the innovation eco-system as a whole.
  • The power of entrepreneurship can be unleashed to address social and environmental issues. Entrepreneurship policies can contribute to achieve policy goals in other areas. Hence the importance of policy coordination.
  • Cross-border policy learning (from the success of others but also from their failures) facilitates designing effective policies. But solutions cannot be automatically replicated and each country needs to use international experience in a way that suits its national context.

The conference, which is part of UNECE’s program on knowledge-based development in transition economies, brought together over 100 experts from over 30 countries, as well as representatives of UNDP, UNESCO, the European Commission, OECD and OSCE.

In his opening remarks, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary Andrey Vasilyev identified the policy environment, the innovation competence of research organizations and firms, and the quality of the linkages between them as three key factors determining success in innovation. He called for the transfer of knowledge, experience and best practices across countries in order to reduce the vast differences in the capacity of countries to generate innovations.

On behalf of Croatia, Ms Dijana Bezjak, Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, said that Croatia shares many of the innovation challenges faced by other EU member countries and beyond. The National Innovation Strategy 2013-2020 aims to orient Croatia’s economy towards more knowledge-based activities and boosting productivity and international competitiveness by raising the innovation capacity of Croatian firms, improving the skill profile of the labor force and encouraging the interaction between industry and academia.

In a high-level panel and three sessions, the conference discussed how to effectively link the often disparate policies aimed at promoting entrepreneurship on the one hand, and innovation on the other; how to improve linkages and cooperation between the various innovation actors from the public and private sectors; and innovative social entrepreneurship, i.e. initiatives which bring to bear entrepreneurial approaches on problems which have traditionally been addressed in “non-entrepreneurial” ways either by government agencies or by charities and other NGOs

For more information, please visit: www.unece.org/index.php


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