Regional Competitiveness Initiative (RCI)


RCI wins 2013 European Projects Award

The Regional Competitiveness Initiative won First Prize in the 2013 edition of the European Projects Awards encompassing EU-financed initiatives, held by the European Projects Association. Monday 7 October, Mr. Alan Paic, Head of the OECD Investment Compact, and Mr. Milan Konopek, Senior Policy Analyst, traveled to Brussels to accept the award on behalf the OECD Investment Compact team at an Awards Ceremony at the European Parliament.

Alan Paic, Head of the OECD Investment Programme, accepting the European Projects Award at the European Parliament, 7 October 2013

The Initiative’s goal is to increase productivity and output by helping Western Balkans economies improve the development of human capital, and boost innovation in manufacturing and services firms.

To work towards this, three of the economies chose to develop a comprehensive approach in the form of a National Innovation Strategy, while one chose the Initiative's support for a specific policy -- the small-and-medium entreprises voucher scheme. Three other economies chose projects on the ground. Each project is described in more detail below.










Regional Competitiveness Initiative Pilot Projects


In Albania, entrepreneurs were inspired to innovate and establish new businesses through the Albania Business Plan Competition. From business plan submissions, three entrepreneurs were chosen to receive OECD support to launch their business plans in the form of business consulting support, feasibility studies, and market research assistance.


In Bosnia and Herzegovina, collaboration in the agro-food sector was supported through Triple Helix Partnerships between the private sector, researchers and local government. Following a series of seminars to explore the Triple Helix approach, particpants submitted proposals for collaborative innovation projects. Three projects were chosen to receive implementation support from the OECD.

Read the Policy Handbook: Triple Helix Partnerships for Innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina:


In Croatia, Kosovo* and FYR Macedonia, the Investment Compact supported the development of each economy’s National Innovation Strategy. In depth research on national innovation systems was carried out, and guidelines and action plans developed to help governments build and implement the strategies.

Read the Project Insights: Assessment of the Kosovo* Innovation System: [ENG] [ALB]


In Montenegro, the Investment Compact developed a model for an small-and-medium entreprises Voucher Scheme with the Directorate for SMEs, Ministry of Economy, and other stakeholders from the business and academic community. The results of the pilot project led to a voucher scheme being launched by the Montenegrin government in July 2012.

Read the Project Insights: Implementing a Pilot SME Voucher Scheme in Montenegro: [ENG] [MON]


In Serbia, the feasibility of Establishing a Competence Techonology Centre in the biomedicine and agri-food sectors was explored by the OECD and the Serbian government. A review of centres OECD was conducted, followed by research within Serbia. It was concluded that there was potential for a biomedicine oriented technology centre in Serbia, and the work from this project will be used by the Ministry of Finance and Economy to advance national competitiveness projects in these sectors.

Read the Policy Handbook: Establishing a Competence Technology Centre in Serbia: [ENG] [СРБ]

In parallel to the seven pilot projects, the Initiative also delivered two regional Working groups on Innovation and Human Capital, which enabled policy makers to experience peer learning through an exchange good practices. The two Working Groups, which are important regional components of the RCI project, are designed to support regional learning and sharing of best practices between policy makers, experts and representatives of the business community from the Western Balkans. 


The Regional Competitiveness Initiave is led by the Regional Competitiveness Initiative Steering Committee, which includes senior government representatives from all the beneficiary economies.




For more information please contact Milan Konopek at

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence



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