About the Go:Global Slovenia programme

Due to globalisation, the success of national economies is ever more crucially dependent on the success of local companies in breaking through to global markets. One of the key goals of new types of innovative globalized companies is their successful breakthrough and subsequent operations on global niche markets. In economically developed countries, such companies are an ever more important and significant part of creating added value, while their emergence and rapid growth are systematically encouraged.

Global competitive pressure and new technologies motivate innovative and penetrating start-up companies to seek for new business opportunities, financing, teams, partners and global markets. Existing companies are also creating new global product and service undertakings and turning to international internal entrepreneurship as a source of business opportunities and global breakthrough and growth. Since we are currently facing the challenges of managing the controlling forces of globalisation and creating successful partnerships with global stakeholders, such companies should receive all support they need. In light of the best practices of developed economies, Ljubljana Technology Park has designed an all-encompassing support programme for start-up companies aiming to breakthrough onto global markets, in partnership with the Venture Factory (Tovarna podjemov) and as part of the Start:up Slovenia initiative. The aim of the programme is to provide all the support services start-up companies need to grow on global markets. The Go:Global programme is comprised of seven modules, all of which complement and build upon each other.

The seven modules of the Go:Global Slovenia programme:

1. Entrepreneurial management programme aimed at professionalising the organisation of start-up companies

Every start-up company faces the challenge of making the transition from a garage company and becoming a professionally organised business. Therefore, we have developed a systematic and practical course in entrepreneurial management aimed at start-up companies where entrepreneurs bring organisation, products and processes to their companies based on a well-thought-out curriculum and continuous activities. Experts for particular business processes (global marketing, finances, production and service processes, etc.) are included in the programme. They actively advise the selected companies, allowing them to acquire the entrepreneurial knowledge they need to operate on global markets and grow their companies. The training for each business function takes either one or two weeks. We have successfully organised this programme several times and it has proven to provide extraordinary added value to young companies aiming to grow their companies on global markets.

2. One-to-one mentoring programme and entrepreneur & mentor networking

We have learned that in the initial stages of growth, start-up companies need the professional help of experienced mentors. Therefore, an intensive networking programme for entrepreneurs and their mentors is an important part of the Go:Global Slovenia programme. The aim is for entrepreneurs and mentors to meet and agree to work together in depth in a mentoring relationship. The Go:Global Slovenia mentoring programme boasts 150 select mentors from Slovenia (with some from abroad). As part of one-to-one mentoring, mentors help programme participants overcome their own specific problems. Several rounds of one-to-one mentoring have been organised for the finalists of the Start:up Slovenia competition and for other entrepreneurs that participated in activities of the Start:up Slovenia initiative. To date, over 100 entrepreneurs have taken part in the programme. Their feedback reflects their great satisfaction with the programme and reaffirms its necessity as part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Building a community of entrepreneurs is also an important part of the mentoring programme. We actively encourage mentors, advisors, other stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and of course entrepreneurs to get involved in the Go:Global Slovenia programme, and to socialize and exchange experience at various events, informal meetings and excursions.

3. Training start-up entrepreneurs in state-of-the-art entrepreneurial methodologies (lean and agile product development)

Over the past few years, so-called modern methodologies of building start-up companies have emerged that are taught at the best business schools in the world such as Stanford, MIT, Berkely and others. We are referring to the “Business Model Generation” and “The Lean Startup” methodologies which are aimed at the best companies aiming to achieve rapid global growth on dynamic markets.

These methodologies represent an alternative to traditional company development concepts (waterfall development, business planning, etc.), where such methodologies can allow companies to more rapidly position themselves and grow on the market, as well as help reduce unnecessary and ineffective costs. Such methodologies are mostly aimed at so-called Silicon Valley type companies with a new disruptive technology and the potential to incredibly rapidly achieve global growth on completely new markets. This know-how must be disseminated in order to help companies break-through and grow on the global market.

The Go:Global programme also comprises workshops dealing with this topic, the Master of Start:ups systematic programme, as well as incompany seminars and advice for mature companies developing new global products and services. Through this module of services we also advise companies and assist in the international marketing and promotion of their new products.

4. Training entrepreneurs to become investment-ready

Experience shows that Slovenian start-up entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with the potential routes of company financing, and at the same time do not have the know-how to prepare the documentation and pitch to investors. All Slovenian venture capital investors stressed the fact that more effort must be put into providing such training with a view of ensuring companies become investment ready. To this end, part of the Go:Global programme is aimed at systematically training entrepreneurs to acquire an investment, providing related counselling and organising investor networking activities.

5. Programme for including Slovenian start-up companies in foreign accelerators of enterprise

Over the past few years, entrepreneurial accelerators have appeared on the market offering entrepreneurial groups access to global markets and additional capital. Entrepreneurial accelerators are thus an important tool of Slovenian start-ups aiming to break through onto global markets.

Slovenian teams can access the US market through US-based accelerators Y Combinator and TechStars, while the London-based Wayra accelerator provides access to the UK and Latin American markets. Accelerators have allowed many Slovenian start-up companies such as Zemanta, 2nd Sight and Zeppelin to do business globally.

Being admitted to a global entrepreneurial hub is never easy, since only a few percent of the many thousand that apply (usually a few dozen out of the thousand applicants) are accepted. Thus entrepreneurs need to diligently apply for admittance to such accelerators, which is also an aspect covered by the Go:Global programme.

6. Monitoring start-up companies (mainly after receiving state funding)

The monitoring programme comprises an advanced, practical and comprehensive system of monitoring all start-up companies that have received funds either through the P2 scheme or any other public grant. The monitoring programme provides most added value when the entrepreneurs are included in the mentoring and other Go:Gobal programmes and in combination with semi-annual meetings with each company's administrator. On a semi-annual basis, the company administrator prepares his or her opinion on the company's progress compared to its business plan. Such an opinion can impact the decision to provide additional funding or even serve as the basis to demand repayment of the public funds. The monitoring programme allows us to build a single database of all start-up companies and their progress.

7. Platform for global product marketing on key markets

Mature companies already receive support in breaking through to foreign markets (provided by the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, SPIRIT, SID Bank, etc.), whereas there is no single national programme aimed at start-up companies, despite the fact that their potential to achieve market breakthrough is extremely strong. However, it is true that start-up companies operate according to different principles and paths when looking to break through to foreign markets.

Start-ups need to rapidly and effectively become part of their local entrepreneurial hub as well as the community they are interested in breaking through to. Entrepreneurship accelerators are part of the solution, although they only operate in some areas, only admit a small number of companies, and their scope of activities is also limited.

As a result, the partners of the Start:up Slovenia initiative and Go:Global Slovenia programme have agreed to coordinate and build support services for young companies seeking global growth. Together we have organised a platform for the global marketing of products on key markets (North America, South America, China, India, Russia, the EU), where individual entrepreneurial hubs have specialized for covering particular global markets.

The platform provides a one-stop-shop for practical information about global entrepreneurship hubs and infrastructure networks providing entrepreneurs with the chance to immediately begin doing business abroad. Such a platform allows companies eager to enter a certain market to join forces. Together with companies we co-organize working visits abroad allowing the companies to take the first specific steps to breaking onto a foreign market.

Contact point:
Go:Global Slovenia / Technology Park Ljubljana
Tel.: +386 (0)1 620 34 03
E-mail: info@goglobal.si