Bregu: We hope Butterfly Innovation Award will shine a light on the regional innovation community and its undiscovered potential
- 28 Jun 2022
RCC supports research & innovation in the Western Balkans: Six winning innovation ideas from the region awarded at a ceremony in Tirana last night
Tirana – “This spring we launched the first Regional Butterfly Innovation Award. ‘What is now proved was once only imagination’- this Blake’s quote fits perfectly the 154 ideas in six competing categories - largely exceeded our boldest expectations. Women led almost half of the teams or most team members were women. This competition proves that innovation can bring together many bright and courageous minds. The RCC has started slowly to support research and innovation in the region and we hope the Butterfly Innovation Award will help the winners take their solutions to another level and shine a light on the regional innovation community and its undiscovered potential. Congratulations to the winners!” said Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), presenting the winners of the Regional Butterfly Innovation Award in Tirana last night.
The winners of the first Regional Butterfly Innovation Award are:
1. Industry Innovation Award: Orjon Rroji, Albania - with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and herbs treatment project with the idea of brain stimulation technique for treatment of chronical conditions;
2. University Innovation Award: TiPy-AIR University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina - with the idea to degrade dangerous gases using chemical compound incorporated in building facades;
3. Green Innovation Award: GoBeyond, Kosovo* - with the idea of using insect protein for the future of food and animal feed;
4. Youth Innovation Award: GuesTool, Montenegro - with the idea of digital service designed to help tourists get all relevant information quickly; but also hospitality industry to optimise their operations while reducing costs.
5. Women Innovation Award: WISE Group, North Macedonia - with the idea of a multifunctional grape pomace additive enabling food manufacturers to create “clean label” products at a cost-effective price, thus creating new jobs and modernising the entire industry.
6. STEM Innovation Award: BIOIRC, Serbia - with the idea of a software enabling a sophisticated diagnosis of patients with heart disease thus revolutionising this field.
All six innovative solutions have the potential to create new jobs and modernise their entire industries.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it. A regional innovation support mechanism would bring a change to the development of region’s innovation ecosystem. That’s what we have tabled two years ago to the economies of the WB. Such an initiative would focus on supporting early-stage innovation teams to develop their potential through soft skills and small funds. Only 1 in 10 (11%) businesses in WB said they received assistance from their governments to experiment with innovation, while a mere 6% received assistance from the EU or other donors. A good news is that we do have very good friends of WB in EU such as Commissioner Mariya Gabriel that has always pushed to close the gap between EU-WB. Recently, EU has increased significantly their innovation assistance for the WB. It would be ideal if our governments could match additional funds to create true waves around the region. If we join forces to plant the smart seeds and nourish their growth around the region, our regional potential will grow,” added Bregu.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, European Commission joined the RCC Secretary General Ms Bregu in opening the event.
“The high level of participation in the Butterfly Innovation Award, over 150 applicants, is an outstanding marker of the engagement and dynamism of the region when it comes to innovation. Innovation is and will increasingly become a key driver towards climate-neutrality and technological sovereignty. With this in mind, I am developing a new European Innovation Agenda. Its goal is to unlock the potential of European innovators by removing the hurdles they are facing. It will address the financing, the regulations, the link between regional ecosystems, the talents and the cooperation between European, national and regional initiatives.I call on all the actors of the Western Balkans to engage in this agenda and to continue our great collaboration.” said Gabriel.
All winners will get an opportunity to promote their solution through the RCC’s network of contacts and media presence, receive technical mentorship support and a chance to meet potential investors, including 5,000 EUR support. The award ceremony, co-organised by the RCC and the European Commission, took place on the side-lines of the Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Steering Platform on Research and Innovation & Education and Training, hosted by the European Commission.
Later today, the RCC Secretary General will take part at the Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platform on Research and Innovation within the Round Table Discussion on Research and Innovation “Academia-Business cooperation for synergies in the knowledge triangle”, together with Ronald De Bruin, Director of COST Association, and Signe Ratso, Deputy-Director General, EC DG for Research and Innovation as moderator.
Find out more about the Butterfly Innovation Award at https://www.rcc.int/regional-butterfly-innovation-award-2022
The award ceremony is a highlight of a longer process that was officially launched last December during the Butterfly Innovation & Business Forum. The Regional Butterfly Innovation Award has been funded by the European Union. More info: https://www.rcc.int/regional-butterfly-innovation-award-2022
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.