Nebojsa Djurdjevic, CEO of Digital Serbia Initiative, spoke to EDC’s Samee Zafar.
In Eastern Europe, there seems to be a trend towards digitisation and a race to grow local digital businesses to be successful at the international level. In this sense, what are the goals of Digital Serbia Initiative?
Any industrial revolution brings the opportunity for countries to get a better position in the global economy. The latest industrial revolution based on digital technologies brings, for the first time, a very good chance for smaller countries to produce global leaders as the development and distribution of digital products is much less capital intensive than ever before.
Digital Serbia Initiative is a non-governmental non-profit organisation founded by leading digital players, with the goal of ensuring that Serbia develops a strong digital economy and accelerates the growth of leading digital business at the global level. We are doing this through investing in strategic programmes in the areas of education, start-up ecosystem development, legal/regulatory frameworks, and digital infrastructure.
What is the state of Fintech in Serbia? Is it a good place to invest in financial technology?
There are several promising Fintech start-ups here, and this may come as a surprise that, according to Startup Genome, the Serbian Belgrade & Novi Sad start-up ecosystem is the second fastest-growing ecosystem in activation phase globally. Tech start-ups enjoy accelerated R&D deduction (2x) and IP Box (3%) tax regimes, meaning that they pay almost no corporate income tax. So, Serbia is definitely the place to make Fintech investments.
What are your hobbies? How do you spend your spare time?
I am a petrol-head and a classic car collector, so I spend quite a bit of my spare time motoring. My other passion is, of course, working with start-ups. I love spending time with entrepreneurs, and I am currently mentoring and advising four start-ups.
What are your long term “personal” goals?
To drive a classic car across the Alps, taking at least one mountain pass in each of the countries.
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