Centre for European Perspective hosted a group of young entrepreneurs for a three-day training in the field of entrepreneurship and transfer of good practices from Slovenia. The participants visited Maribor, Jable Castle and Ljubljana and had a chance to get to know Slovenian entrepreneurial ecosystem and existing start-up initiatives.

We hosted 40 young entrepreneurs from the Western Balkans, 10 start-up teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and 10 from Kosovo at the PODIM Conference, one of the leading start-up meetings in the region. They were selected on the basis of the PODIM Challenge call that initially received more than 70 entrepreneurial ideas, 48 from Kosovo and 27 from BiH. Young entrepreneurs had to present their idea, team and business plan. Among over 200 start-ups from Slovenia and the region, two teams from BiH, AOX Earth and Koola, got into the semi-finals where 20 best start-up ideas pitched in front of the experts and investors.

Participants had a chance to listen to the inspiring and content-rich speeches and workshops, delivered by serial start-upers, investors, initiators from all four corners of the world. They met with the investors through one-on-one meetings, they widened their horizons at the consulting and coaching sessions and discussed their ideas with the young people with a similar entrepreneurial mindset.

The last day of the training was devoted to the wrap-up session at Jable castle. Participants discussed their experience at the conference and addressed the potentials of cooperation inside their home countries and among the countries of the Western Balkans. Urban Lapajne from Start:up Slovenija initiative talked about the Slovenian experience of the country-wide cooperation and coordination between the incubators, universities, technological parks. In BiH and Kosovo, there is no such coordination platform, which is why the idea was discussed with our young participants. The need for such cooperation was supported also by Ana Anžej from SAŠA Inkubator and Start:up Slovenia. The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peter Grk and Alenka Košir discussed Slovenian and EU efforts in the Balkans and the Positive Agenda for Youth in the Western Balkans. In conclusion, the participants visited the ABC Accelerator where they got a chance to present their idea in 1 minute and got a professional pitching feedback from the experienced ABC Team.

The project is part of our program activities, financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Slovenia in the framework of Slovenia’s development cooperation.