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South Moravia wants to lead in innovations

The South Moravian region wants to become a leading area within the Czech Republic in the field of the innovative entrepreneurship. What's more, it wants to be ranked among top 50 regions in the whole European Union it that category.

The experts from the South Moravian region are now working out already second version of strategic plans, so called Regional innovative policy of South Moravia. However, thinks started moving already in last year when the ground for the project - service company South Moravian Innovative Centre (JIC) and its Technological Incubator- were launched. Since its opening in September 2003 the incubator attracted eleven firms, which occupy 95 percent of 1,000 square meter space, employ 55 staff and have altogether 74 patents, utility designs and trademarks. "The sense of the incubator is to concentrate several support tools for starting entrepreneurs at one place, explained Jiøí Hudeèek, director of the JIC. At present JIC activities are funded mostly by the money of the South Moravian region and this year's budget is about Kè 8 million. For several projects JIC also wants to use the money from structural funds. Moreover JIC earns money from provided services.,Firms based in the incubator relish the support. "The incubator and JIC create an environment, which innovative firms need a lot, said Václav Muchna, CEO of the software developer Y Soft. "JIC provides for us very useful services, we also gained a very advantageous loan from it, he added. JIC´s vision is according Hudeèek to build a complex infrastructure for supporting the innovative enterprise in the region of South Moravia, to connect science and research with commercial practice and to gain enough financial means for it. One of key parts JIC activities is building of new incubators to support promising firms. In the 2007 there should be incubators with the total space of 7,000 square meters. One of the new buildings should arise in the so called Medipark - Masaryk University's new university campus focused on biotechnology and life science.,The park will host laboratories, technology transfer center and Inbit an incubator supporting promising biotechnology firms. The first building which is a technology transfer center should be launched already next year. The park should be in the full operation in 2007.,Biotechnology, one of the key technologies of the 21st Century, is currently enjoying a boom in Europe and south Moravia doesn't want to fall behind. On the contrary, it wants to concentrate on it. ,Nevertheless this choice wasn't made at random. South Moravian region is the most promising region in the Czech Republic from the point of biotechnologies according comparative study of the market research and strategic marketing consultancy firm Brand Brothers. The study has compared several regions in the Czech Republic and in Germany. "One of advantages for the region is, that it possesses about 42,000 university students, says the study. "The region has a great potential for biotechnology entrepreneurship. We recommend construction of an incubator of 2,000 4,000 square meters.,Now, biotechnology sector is massively supported by the local regional and municipal authorities, added Hudeèek. JIC itself prepares Biotech cluster, which should group biotechnology firms, their suppliers and another subjects creating needed infrastructure on the regional basis. The project will start next year and full operation of the cluster should start in 2006. Its rule models of good working clusters could be for example areas around Italian towns Montebelluna where are based firms producing 75 % of world production of ski boots or Castel Goffredo with around 200 firms having 60 % share of European socks production. JIC in co-operation with Austrian agency Life Science Austria organize the Best of Biotech (BOB) the life sciences business plan competition, which is held this year in five Central European countries. BOB's aim is to encourage the implementation of scientific discoveries in business, and to raise the number of new business ventures in the life sciences in the region. The competition should assist in the identification of innovative business ideas and give researchers an incentive to translate these ideas into business plans. The very ambitious project is also the Internet portal http://www.gate2biotech.com. It was launched in January 2005. Its aim is the connection of the international experience and the outcomes of research in the area of biotech and to become the main spot for biotechnology information in the Central Europe. Organizations, universities, firms and representatives of R&D from the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia can share their know-how, knowledge and experiences in the field of biotechnologies. Portal offers a lot of useful contacts and links as well.

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