If you don’t jump, you’re not enterprising!

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“If you don't jump, you're not Slovenian!” This is the most famous chants sung by Slovenian sports fans, dating back to the golden era of Slovenian football and the 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, and which peaked in 2017 when the Slovenian basketball team – with Slovenian NBA players, Goran Dragić and Luka Dončić – earned the title of European Champions.

If the Slovenian golden football team had not been enterprising, ambitious and confident, they would never have made it to the European and World Championships. If Goran Dragić and Luka Dončić, together with their team, were not enterprising, combative, determined and grandiose, Slovenians would never have been basketball champions and the two would never have been as successful as they are in the NBA. If ski champions, Tina Maze and Ilka Štuhec, were not enterprising, bold, fearless and motivated, they would never have been the ski champions they are today. If Edvard Rusjan was not innovative, creative, enthusiastic and visionary, he would never have flown above the clouds as he did 110 years ago.

It seems that Slovenians value superior sportsmen and ground-breaking inventors, but less so entrepreneurs. In fact, entrepreneurship is valued too little, and yet responsible entrepreneurship is actually one of the key values of the developed world.

With his Akrapovič exhaust system brand, Igor Akrapovič has made it to the very top of the world. Joc Pečečnik and Goran Miškulin have taken over the casino industry in Las Vegas and Macao with their brands, Interblock and Spintec. Marjan Batagelj has brought the Postojna Cave to the world map of the most attractive landmarks. Jore Knez’s products have conquered the space industry. Marino Furlan is co-creating the artificial sun of the future with his Intra Lighting luminaires. Hubert Kosler has partnered with Yaskawa to create the robots of the future, in Slovenia.

These are just some of the top-notch Slovenian entrepreneurs – world champions in their niches. If they were not as enterprising, high-spirited, innovative, agile, open-minded and resourceful, as were the hundreds of other entrepreneurs who preceded them, their companies would never have become world champions.

But it is not just famous names that matter. Many Slovenian entrepreneurs are ordinary people, unknown in the public eye. They are not as well-known as the said entrepreneurs or sportsmen and sportswomen, primarily because the public finds their discipline less interesting than football, basketball, skiing or volleyball. But there are hundreds of them in Slovenia, and we are not talking just sportsmen, inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs – there are also innovative employees, young farmers, creative artists, scientists, teachers, students and so on.

If more was heard about them, Slovenia would be a much better place to live in. The public would be far more aware of the benefits brought by entrepreneurship.

At the Slovenian Business Club, we have found that the Slovenian public pays too little attention to entrepreneurship as a value and the benefits we can all reap from it. This is why we decided to launch the campaign “ZA podjetno Slovenijo” (“FOR an Enterprising Slovenia”). Through this campaign, we want to tell the public that we can all live better lives if we become more enterprising. If we increase the level of entrepreneurship, we can develop and sell better products, get higher salaries, collect more taxes and provide higher pensions. With women being more enterprising, we can achieve a better gender equality… We can become stronger. We can create more and better jobs.

If we become stronger, our highly educated youth will not be as inclined to more abroad. They would know they can lead beautiful lives in their home country.

In the past several years, Slovenia has managed to get its economy back on solid ground. With high economic growth since 2014, Slovenia has become a model country. But, on the other hand, productivity and added value per employee are still too low. If Slovenia increases the level of enterprise, then things can change for the better. Once this is achieved, Slovenia will be closer to the prosperity enjoyed by the most developed countries that we all look too.

Therefore, may the chant “If you don’t jump, you’re not Slovenian” also be accompanied by “If you don’t jump, you’re not enterprising.”