Two years ago, Societe Generale Bank in Serbia launched Generator – a platform dedicated to support entrepreneurship and innovation. After the enormous success of the first Generator competition in 2017, which awarded 40 entrepreneurial innovations, in November last year Generator 2.0 was born, this time with the ambitious goal – to help small businesses digitalize.

In a world changing rapidly thanks to the new digital revolution, in which startups and tech companies are taking the lead while corporations play catch up, the Bank wants to empower the SME sector to transform and grow.

The mission of the Generator 2.0 program is to raise awareness among SMEs about the importance of digital transformation and to proactively support the further development of SME through tools and knowledge which will help them to evolve their business in a digital economy.

The program was divided into the following phases:

  1. November – December 2018Application phase and countrywide campaign – 116 applications received. To further raise awareness about the program and the importance of the digital transformation, a series of events for entrepreneurs was organized throughout Serbia. Small businesses had the opportunity to register on the program website generator.rs and provide an overview of their business, identify the segment in which they need support and where they saw the most significant barriers to digital transformation in their business. They also had to indicate what distinguished their business, the most significant innovations that they had already implemented and subsequent results. The participants answered a question about their role models, how they saw their business in the future and in what segment they would invest in if they decided to invest in the digital transformation of their business.
  2. January -February 2019Design Thinking Workshops. 20 semifinalists were selected for this stage to take part in creative workshops and work with the Generator 2.0 team of experts (both the Bank’s representative and third-party providers from the creative startup ecosystem) to further define the direction of their business, identify new business opportunities and acquire different skills to develop businesses in the digital economy.

3. March 2019Online voting for the businesses. For each semifinalist, the Bank provided video material which was presented on the program website and shared on the most visited news portal in the country. During the voting phase, more than 23,000 votes were recorded, and the winner chosen by the public was a goat farm – Carpe Diem. Their business underwent digital transformation.

4. April 2019Final event and announcement of the winners – 10 finalists were selected in the next stage with two more winners selected by jury, and will also undergo a digital transformation during the second quarter of this year.

Societe Generale Bank will support companies in implementing digital solutions in their companies by:

  • Offering consulting support in business transformation using digital technologies – analysis of the current situation and preparation of a set of recommendations along with an action plan;
  • Assistance of up to EUR 5,000 in implementing one of the proposed recommendations in partnership with the digital solution provider Digital Transformation Team;
  • Assistance in carrying out a marketing transformation and media campaign for the company’s customers.

SME companies – the semifinalists represent the following sectors of the Serbian economy, including both traditional and innovative economic sectors:

  • Agriculture – production of the finest fruit and vegetables for end customers
  • Dairy farming
  • Equipment supply
  • Production of recycled polyester for sport clothing
  • Beauty salon
  • Production of water heaters
  • Gluten-free food
  • Packaging
  • Textiles
  • Production and engineering of electrical materials and LED lighting
  • Publishing house
  • Proper nutrition and preventive medicine
  • Dental clinic
  • A distribution hub for vegetarian product suppliers
  • Ketchup production
  • Natural cosmetics
  • Production of children’s clothes.

Each company will also enjoy opportunities to increase sales or optimize costs, or both, due to the digitalization of their businesses.

Societe Generale Bank in Serbia is ranked 4th on the market in terms of total assets with 8.5% of the market. The SME segment is one of the priorities set by the Bank for the nearest future.

Source: Bank website, https://generator.rs/