Competition for the best technological innovation - an opportunity for product development and placement on a foreign market

Doctors of biochemical sciences Ivana Beara, Nataša Simin and Marija Lesjak, professors at the Faculty of Science in Novi Sad, are both entrepreneurs and innovators. At last year's Competition for the best technological innovation, they won second place. The foreign market is also interested in their innovation.

The research started more than 8 years ago. At that time, they were participants in an international project whose goal was to find new natural compounds that can be effective in eliminating Helicobacter pylori. They did not want the results of their research to be only quoted in some scientific circles. They also wanted to apply those results. They continued their research and perfected the formulation. After a few years, the product was registered as a dietary supplement. In the meantime, their combination has been tested in international laboratories. They named the product - HerbELICO.

"The preparation is a combination of three essential oils that are obtained by a special distillation process from medicinal aromatic plants. It is a complex mixture of a large number of compounds that together have an antibacterial effect on Helicobacter pylori," explains Natasa Simin.

Because of acquiring entrepreneurial skills, they took the "book in hand", and only when, as they say, they mastered the basic entrepreneurial skills, they were able to build their business model and present it to the public. They founded the company in 2018 and named it HerbElix.

In the development of innovation and newly established companies, they invested time and savings, but also earned money. They applied and received 90 thousand euros from the Fund for Innovation Activity. Last year, they entered the Competition for the best technological innovation, and won 2nd place. The financial part of that award, 750 thousand dinars, was invested in product development.

The competition for the best technological innovation is primarily learning, because free training and work with mentors from various fields was organized for all participants. You can use what you learn at the Competition to improve your business model. Although the competitors go through different levels of reviewing and judging, and there are fewer and fewer teams in the competition for prizes, they all get extremely good training - Ivana Beara points out.

They now face a new challenge. In addition to the great interest of domestic distribution companies, the foreign market is also interested in the innovation that won second place at last year's Competition.