The Slovenia Times

Startups to Be Offered Seed Capital


The scheme was announced as a two-day business conference got under way in Maribor with PM Alenka Bratušek pointing to entrepreneurship and innovation as "light at the end of the tunnel".

The funds, EUR 2.5m in 2014 and as much in 2015, will be distributed through two open calls, which will come out for the first time in June. The scheme is being launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology because of a lack of seed funds, which startups seek abroad.

"We've found that existing subsidies are not enough for the phase in which companies want to enter the global market. They don't get loans yet, while risk capital funds are waiting for companies in the phase of fast growth," Enterprise Fund director Maja Tomanič Vidovič told the press on the sidelines of PODIM conference.

One call (SK 50), offering convertible loans of EUR 50,000, is intended for startups in the earliest phase, and will also feature a mentorship programme involving experts from home and abroad.

The other call (SK 200) will target companies that have proven their value in the market or have customers for their innovative products but need extra capital for fast global growth.

These will be offered EUR 200,000 in equity investments through the Entrepreneurship Fund directly on the condition that a private partner also enters the company.

The accompanying monitoring and mentorship programme will help entrepreneurs in organisation of the company and expansion to foreign markets, as well as getting in touch with venture capital funds for further investment.

Along with a mechanism introduced in 2006 which offers up to EUR 74,000 in startup subsidies, individual innovative startup company will be able to compete for up to EUR 324,000 in seed capital.

Through select venture capital funds in private-public partnership, the Enterprise Fund has also been offering equity funding since 2010 in which the most successful and promising companies can get up to EUR 1.5m a year.

So far EUR 18m has been invested in such companies together with the venture funds, while about as much is available until August 2015.

Meanwhile, chairman of NKBM bank Aleš Hauc noted a lack of venture capital funds needed for the development of startup companies, announcing the bank would present a special fund it was currently working on next year.

The 34th annual PODIM entrepreneurship conference is being attended by more than 600 participants, 200 of them from abroad, including many acclaimed experts.

Addressing the opening of the event, outgoing Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek underscored the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation, arguing that the purpose of reforms was to create an environment and encouragement for young people to become financially independent.

A step in that direction is the new strategy of smart specialisation, which State Secretary Andreja Kert, who is charge of EU cohesion policy, would be completed by the end of next month and would comprise three elements: a transfer and application of expertise, entrepreneurship and internationalisation.


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