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Innovation and an innovation culture are key factors in the success of companies. The development of new technologies, the shortening of product life cycles and increasing global competition are increasing the importance of innovation not only for the future growth of companies, but also for their long-term survival.

Innovation makes an important contribution to tackling key societal challenges, from the environment, security, access to food, ageing populations and health. They often involve large investments and, consequently, risks. 

The State encourages innovation in the economy in various ways, through public tenders for companies, tax relief for investment in innovation, and a supportive environment for innovative companies.

Innovation of Slovenian Enterprises

In Slovenia, just under 40% of all companies include innovative-active enterprises, i.e. more than 77,000 companies. Latest available data Eurostat show that half of these firms are innovative in both technological and non-technological areas, just under a third of these firms are innovative in the way that they have introduced a technological innovation, and the remaining 20% of firms have introduced a non-technological innovation.

In Slovenia, the share of innovation-active enterprises is higher among large enterprises, and in terms of activity, it is also higher in enterprises registered for manufacturing activities. European Innovation Scoreboard 2019 ranks Slovenia and our companies as moderate innovators.

Award-Winning Innovations

Innovation is any new development whose usefulness is confirmed in the market. It can be a new or significantly improved product, service, process or procedure that adds value, solves a problem, meets a need, reduces costs. 

Slovenia's companies are highly innovative, as shown by the national innovation prizes awarded each year by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS). In 2019, 199 innovations and over 1000 innovators participated in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry's competition for national awards for the most innovative companies and innovators in companies and public research institutions, 8 gold awards, 2 special awards for young companies, 26 silver awards, 4 bronze awards, 4 awards for contribution in the field of innovation and 2 special awards for development and innovation cooperation between business and knowledge institutions were awarded.

In 17 years, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has rewarded more than 9,000 Slovenian innovators and more than 2,600 innovations. 

Innovation as an Asset for Companies

Companies recognise that innovation is an asset that has value and thus impacts the value of the whole company. With the right strategy, they can make a significant contribution to the growth and reputation of a company, thereby strengthening its market position and, in turn, its negotiating, marketing, development and, above all, financial strength.

Positive trend in applications for industrial property rights  Intellectual Property Office shows that Slovenian companies are increasingly aware of the value of innovation. Optimal management of intellectual property helps to position a company among the leaders in its industry, increase the visibility of its products or services, open up new business opportunities, give it a commercial advantage over competitors and ensure the freedom to operate in the market.

Electronic applications for filing intellectual property rights.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from the Intellectual Property Protection Voucher. A voucher of up to €9,999 allows you to co-finance eligible costs:

  • drafting patent, design and trademark applications;
  • registering and/or maintaining and/or disseminating applications abroad;
  • translation of applications.

Public incentives for Innovation in Enterprises

Slovenia encourages corporate investment in research, development and innovation through various measures:

Government action to promote research, development and innovation focuses on the priority areas set out in the Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy 2014–2020 (S4).

S4 identifies 3 content pillars: digital, circular and Industry 4.0, and within these, 9 priority scopes are identified, namely:

  1. Smart cities and communities;
  2. Smart buildings and homes, including wood chain;
  3. Networks for the transition to a circular economy;
  4. Sustainable food;
  5. Sustainable tourism;
  6. Factories of the future;
  7. Health and medicine;
  8. Mobility;
  9. Materials as finished products.

Most of the measures to promote innovation in enterprises are implemented by the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport through the implementing institutions SPIRIT Slovenia and the Slovenian Enterprise Fund. The Ministry supports:

  • innovative, research and development projects by undertakings or consortia of undertakings relating to the development of new or improved products, processes or services with high added value and market potential;
  • integrating highly educated professionals into companies to foster innovation, strengthen companies' competences through interdisciplinary skills, build an effective innovation infrastructure and strengthen companies' R&D departments;
  • co-financing of innovation and development projects for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have been awarded the “Seal of Excellence” by the European Commission after applying for the SME Instrument under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon 2020, but have not been selected for co-financing due to the exhaustion of available funds under Horizon 2020;
  • encouraging Slovenian companies to participate in international EUREKA projects, in the form of grants for R&D activities;
  • the implementation of pilot/demonstration projects aimed at the development for testing or demonstration of new or improved products, processes or services in a real environment, which may be included in the focus areas of the SRIP Action Plans under the Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy;
  • Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships (SRIPs) or strengthening of research, development and innovation (RDI) cooperation between otherwise independent stakeholders: companies, research organisations and other relevant development stakeholders operating in a specific field of application of the Smart Specialisation Strategy 2014–2020, with the aim of systematic integration into international value chains and ensuring a comprehensive support environment in Slovenia.