Being a small country, North Macedonia may not be the first name that comes to mind when envisioning tech hubs and innovation centers. However, this small yet ambitious country is quietly making a mark on the global tech map. With a rapidly increasing community of startups, a focus on education, and a commitment to fostering innovation, North Macedonia is emerging as a hidden gem in the world of technology. If you have doubts about that, let us show you some of the key players driving this transformation and explore the unique offerings of each tech hub.
Here are 6 known tech hubs in North Macedonia:
- Kasarna Hub – Ohrid
- Get Innovation – Bitola
- SEEU Tech Park Tetovo
- European Institute of Innovation and Technology
- INNOFEIT – Center for Technology Transfer and Innovation – Skopje
1. Kasarna Hub – Ohrid
Nestled on the beautiful Lake Ohrid’s shores, Kasarna Hub is a center of innovation. Housed in a renovated military barracks, this tech hub in Ohrid offers more than just a picturesque workspace. It’s a collaborative haven for tech enthusiasts, startups, and freelancers. Beyond providing co-working spaces, Kasarna Hub hosts many events, workshops, and networking sessions, creating an energetic ecosystem that fosters a mix of ideas and fuels the entrepreneurial spirit.
As one of the most active tech hubs in North Macedonia, Kasarna Hub recently welcomed The Knowledge Caravan of Semos Academies as part of its diverse collaborations. Visitors had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the programs offered by Semos Academies and learn about the most sought-after professions, along with the essential skills needed for a successful career.
As an institution dedicated to education and innovation, there are continuous activities at Kasarna Hub, such as hosting a business competition within the framework of Global Entrepreneurship Week, where they provide an excellent platform for high school students and teachers to come together, share their knowledge and skills, and collaborate on different projects.
2. Get Innovation – Bitola
Located in Bitola, Get Innovation emerges as a dynamic non-governmental organization on a mission. It’s not just a hub; it’s a catalyst for change. Dedicated to promoting technology and innovation, Get Innovation extends its reach through diverse local and international projects. With a particular focus on the younger generation, this hub has become a nurturing ground for tech enthusiasts. Its goals extend beyond physical spaces, aiming to educate young minds about technology, offer hands-on training on various internet tools, and inspire fresh, innovative ways of utilizing internet technology. In the heart of Bitola, Get Innovation is sowing the seeds of a tech-driven future, one project at a time.
One of the international projects Get Innovation took part was the Erasmus+ program “Partnering for Refugees. Europe for you,” where Get Innovation was the project partner.
Additionally, one of the latest projects of Get Innovation is the Youth Exchange in Campina, Romania. The “In Harmony with Nature” project addressed the pressing issue of climate change, emphasizing the need for immediate attention. The initiative aimed to boost voluntary action and assist people through the transition, helping them understand and accept climate change while encouraging appropriate adaptation actions. Get Innovation is committed to making a positive impact in the realm of technology and addressing global challenges such as climate change.
3. SEEU Tech Park – Tetovo
Situated within the South East European University campus in Tetovo, SEEU Tech Park has also been one of the most popular tech hubs in North Macedonia, since it came to life on May 15, 2013. Its primary aim is to cultivate an environment that stimulates the birth of new startup companies, establishing a seamless synergy between these ventures and nurturing the growth of existing SMEs (small and medium enterprises). By doing so, SEEU Tech Park envisions creating job opportunities and forging lasting bonds between academia and industry. The ultimate vision is to transform knowledge and expertise into tangible actions, production, and investments, shaping a future where innovation thrives within the academic realm.
In addition to its continuous training and services, SEEU Tech Park has successfully executed various projects, including the Entrepreneurship Education Conference and the ICT and Innovation Conference. Noteworthy efforts also include the Social Entrepreneurship project, addressing youth unemployment in the EU through innovative solutions and awareness campaigns. The Startup Map, a Web-Based tool, showcases all startups in Macedonia.
Looking forward, SEEU Tech Park is organizing the workshop “Smart Specialization, innovation and intellectual property protection in the manufacturing industry” on November 24, 2023. This workshop aims to enhance participants’ skills in smart processing, innovations, intellectual property protection, entrepreneurship, and project realization, fostering networking and collaboration. SEEU Tech Park continues to drive innovation and economic growth in academia and entrepreneurship through such initiatives.
4. European Institute of Innovation and Technology
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is Europe’s largest innovation network for strengthening innovation that launched its first joint lab in North Macedonia, signaling a significant leap in regional innovation. This pioneering EIT Community, the first of its kind, aims to strengthen cooperation among leading business, education, and research organizations, fostering sustainable economic growth. The hub represents EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), focusing on engaging North Macedonian participants in EIT Community activities. The hub connects local innovators with Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, addressing regional disparities and propelling the country’s tech scene to new heights.
The EIT has been associated with numerous successful initiatives and projects. Here are a few examples:
- Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community)
Climate-KIC, one of the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities, has successfully fostered innovation to address climate change challenges. It has supported numerous startups and projects focusing on sustainable technologies, clean energy, and climate resilience.
- EIT Digital
EIT Digital has played a pivotal role in advancing digital innovation in Europe. It has supported projects and startups in areas such as cybersecurity, digital infrastructure, and digital industry. Success stories include the development of cutting-edge technologies and solutions for various industries.
- EIT Health
EIT Health focuses on innovation in healthcare. Success stories include the development of novel medical technologies, digital health solutions, and initiatives that improve healthcare delivery and outcomes.
5. INNOFEIT – Center for Technology Transfer and Innovation – Skopje
Positioned within the esteemed Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies (FEEIT) at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, INNOFEIT, stands as a testament to excellence in scientific and engineering realms. Recognized nationally and globally, FEEIT has earned its reputation as the country’s premier engineering faculty. Renowned for its extensive involvement in international and national research projects, the faculty’s staff boasts global recognition through highly cited publications, patents, and awards.
In response to the evolving landscape that demanded a closer union between academia and industry, FEEIT took a significant step by establishing the Centre for Technology Transfer and Innovations – INNOFEIT. This visionary initiative aims to bridge the gap between academic education and practical expertise, equipping students with the skills to tackle industrial challenges. Serving as a dynamic hub for collaboration among FEEIT staff, students, and industrial partners, INNOFEIT facilitates the exchange of technology and innovative ideas.
INNOFEIT extends a range of tailored services for companies committed to R&D and investing in innovative solutions. This includes matching skilled scientists with entrepreneurs, contract research, collaborative projects, and exclusive access to 2 million euros worth of FEEIT laboratories. Additionally, co-working space is provided, creating an environment conducive to collaborative innovation.
For students, INNOFEIT offers opportunities to work on relevant industrial challenges through internships and entrepreneurship skills development. This hands-on experience enhances their practical knowledge and readiness for the professional world.
In supporting FEEIT-associated startups, INNOFEIT operates in refurbished state-of-the-art premises. Through its extensive partner network, the center provides pre-incubation services, access to FEEIT laboratories, mentoring, coaching, and connections to finance and markets. This comprehensive support system positions INNOFEIT as crucial in nurturing innovation and collaboration between academia and industry.
This supportive tech space is carefully designed to spark creativity and collaboration. Offering a range of amenities, Netaville provides a dedicated code area equipped with ergonomic chairs, flawless network connectivity, and just the right ambient noise to create the perfect coding zone. Additionally, a collaborative area with well-equipped desks fosters a professional atmosphere for co-working. Beyond the workstations, Netaville is a place where IT events come to life, and a cafeteria with discounted prices caters specifically to the tech-savvy student community. It’s not just a workspace; it’s a dynamic ecosystem where tech enthusiasts come together to innovate and shape the future.
Netaville offers 15 bookable seats, two private offices for teams, and meeting/call booths for flexible usage. They offer spaces for different activities. They have the code zone, which is always open and free, but the first to reserve has the right to use it first. In the realm of co-working, Netaville takes professionalism to the next level. Their co-working space is available for booking by freelancers and teams, providing a seamless and inspiring environment for collaborative work.
As part of its commitment to supporting the tech-savvy student community, Netaville offers a cafeteria with discounted prices exclusively for students. You can simply download their app to unlock daily pass discounts and enjoy a vibrant space designed to inspire the next generation of tech leaders. At Netaville, it’s not just about a workspace; it’s a dynamic ecosystem where tech enthusiasts converge to innovate, collaborate, and shape the future.
These dynamic tech hubs in North Macedonia help the country make a mark on the global tech map. Despite being a small country, it’s fostering innovation, education, and collaboration, creating a vibrant ecosystem for startups and tech enthusiasts. With diverse projects, international collaborations, and a commitment to addressing global challenges, North Macedonia is emerging as a significant player in the global tech scene, contributing to technology advancement and entrepreneurial growth.