YES Foundation runs a business incubator in Skopje, Macedonia for supporting youngentrepreneurs in the starting phase of their business, focusing on the ICT sector. YES works on stimulating entrepreneurship among youth and improving the local economic growth in the country. From year 2007 up until now, YES has supported 55 companies and help creating over 200 job opportunities.
The organization offers pre- incubation services such as developing business idea, consulting services, entrepreneurial and ICT trainings and creation of business plan, incubation services such as well-equipped office space at affordable rents, use of common space, consulting services for all aspects of running a business, promotion of the clients, networking, matchmaking of the member companies with potential business partners etc. YES also offers virtual incubation, which includes all the services, mentioned excluding the office space.
YES is a CISCO Entrepreneur Institute and is licensed to provide trainings for Starting Business and iExec essentials. There is also a project implementation component and the organization has implemented over 25 projects in the field of entrepreneurship, fight against poverty and unemployment, social and corporate responsibility and rights of minorities and gender equally, from various donors such as EC, US embassy, Norwegian Embassy, SPARK, UNDP, USAID local donors etc.
MIR was been established in 2002 by SINTEF, one of the largest R&D institutes in Europe. For six years MIR was the main local partner to SINTEF’s projects in Macedonia for support of SMEs in different fields such as: operations management, supply chain management, vocational training, support to start-ups, building academy-industry partnerships for transfer of technology and know-how, practically oriented seminars for SMEs and undergraduate and post-graduate students etc. Active involvement in the development and implementation of SINTEF’s projects has provided MIR with technical capacity and expertise in different management fields and with an extensive network of SME clients, strong partnership with the academic sector and other innovation and business related stakeholders in the country. Using the knowledge and methodologies developed by SINTEF and NTNU (Technical University in Trondheim), the Foundation has created its generic toolbox for support of SMEs and for facilitating the technology transfer between the academic and private sector.
With the support of SINTEF, the MIR started the initiative for establishing of so-called Innovation Relay Centre (IRC) in Macedonia, as part of large European network for trans-national technology transfer (TT). This initiative resulted in the establishment of European Information and Innovation Centre in Macedonia (EIICM), a centre that since 2008 operates in the scope of the largest business support network in the world – Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) ( www.enterprise-europe-network.ec.europa). EIICM is project based initiative funded by EU and the Government of R. Macedonia, implemented by national consortium of 4 partners, coordinated by the largest university in the country (Ss. Cyril and Methodius – UKIM) and with MIR as the leading TT partner. This project is of strategic importance for MIR, representing a corner-stone in its development and enabling positioning of MIR. as suitable partner for EU funded projects.
From 2010 IDN has taken over the SINTEF engagement in MIR and are now appointing the BoD. IDN and MIR have a strategic cooperation and senior staff from MIR are engaged as associates/experts in IDN projects.
The main objective is to identify the external conditions and a joint platform between the three partners for establishing a commercial ICT incubator in Skopje, including development of business concept/model and finally an implementation plan.
The overall goal for a commercial ICT incubator in Skopje should be job creation based on commercial business ideas with significant growth potential, accelerated by the incubator services including adequate access to financial capital and international partners.
YES Foundation has one main component, the business incubator for supporting micro, small and medium enterprises in the ICT field, through the process of business incubation, offers access to services for accelerating their growth and development.
The tenant start-ups benefit from:
• beneficial price for office space,
• use a meeting room, a computer lab and a room for trainings and presentations,
• advice and tips for daily operations,
• trainings to strengthen the capacities for managing the business,
• mentoring by domestic and foreign experts, entrepreneurs and consultants,
• intermediation for funding,
• connecting with potential clients,
• organizing events for networking and internationalization.
The Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM) mission is integration of Macedonia within as a prerequisite for EU integration.
FOSM was founded in 1992 as a foreign entity representative office, and in 1999 as a national legal entity – foundation, in accordance with the Law on Associations of Citizens and Foundations. FOSM is part of the Soros network in Central and Eastern Europe.
Dedicated to the promotion of an open society, FOSM initiates supports and implements a wide spectrum of programs. The Foundation addresses its objectives by:
Mr. Stølan holds a M.Sc. degree at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH), within technical-economic planning in regional and urban areas. Master thesis focused on Regional and Local Economic Impacts of Petrochemical Industrialization.
Presently he is the President/CEO of International Development Norway. He was a Research Director at SINTEF, one of the largest Scandinavian research institutes , in the period 1997-2003, and 2004-2008, as well as scientist in SINTEF Industrial Management, Economics and Logistics. As a researcher on “commercialization of technology” he was engaged at Surrey Technology Centre, Surrey University, Guildford UK, 2003-2004. He also has experience as assistant professor, Department of Managerial Economic and Operations Research, at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
Mr. Stølan has extensive international experience in project development management and consulting, local economic development, innovation and trans-national technology transfer. More than 20 years of practice experience in delivering and managing SME innovation and competitiveness actions. In total more than 12 years of experiences in building up and manage research activities in SINTEF and proven competences in terms of R&D and innovation within Norway, Europe and developing countries. Direct access to numerous institutions and networks regarding technology innovation, innovative SMEs, regional development and science and technology policy. Experience in managing projects funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA), EU funded: Framework Programmes, Competitiveness Innovation Programmes (CIP), EEA grants, but also private clients (industry).
Of significant importance is his engagement at the projects with technology transfer and commercialization of technology, innovative solutions in solar energy and their contribution to decentralized robust solutions and job creation (project Technology & Business Cooperation Norway-Uzbekistan), Waste Treatment Solutions (2011-2013 Serbia), Process and Supplier Industry Development based on Natural Gas in Uzbekistan (2010-2011), Local Innovation and Business Development in Bioenergy and Plastic Recycling, Romania (2009-2011¬). In the period 2008-2012 he also provided support in Technological Innovations in Micro Combined Cooling Heating Power Romania (mCCHP Innovation), WEEE Technology Transfer and Promotion between Norway-Poland, as well as Environmental Technology Transfer Mid-Norway Poland and Joint Applied Research and Economic Cooperation between Norway and Kharhov Region.
Mr Torkel Ystgaard is a 62 years of age engineer with profound knowledge and experience from several development and leadership positions in the Norwegian innovation ecosystem.
His long work experience include developing new technology in Norwegian R&D institutions, management of food processing industry, executive positions in the mass media sector and in several private and public institutions supporting innovation.
Mr Ystgaard has devoted a large part of his career to regional development and has been instrumental in designing and implementing several successful programs for regional economic growth in Norway. He invented the Norwegian Technology Incubator Program, and the very successful network of rural innovation centers called “Næringshager” (literally “Business Gardens”).
In addition to his work in Norway Mr.Ystgaard has been active internationally as well. In cooperation with various Norwegian governmental entities, he has designed and implemented aid financed programs for support of innovation and economic growth in countries like Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Ukraine, Latvia and Moldova.
Mr. Ystgaard is retired from his position as Executive Vice President of the Norwegian state owned corporation Siva. (The Industrial Development Corporation of Norway). He is now acting as a Special Advisor within Innovation support systems to IDN – International Development Norway AS.