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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Slovakia

Slovakia

3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs

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  1. Access to information
  2. Access to capital

Access to information

At present the National Business Centre (Národné podnikateľské centrum) founded by the Slovak Business Agency has several programs focused on initial stages of entrepreneurship:

  • The Acceleration Program is designed for future entrepreneur who has business ideas with the aim to set up own business. The program offers individual personal or online consultation, workshops and co-working centre, through which is possible to develop a business or meet new business partners.  
  • The Incubation Program encompasses, except for the usage of offices within the incubator, also a wide scope of services resting in individual coaching, professional consultations and networking.
  • The Growth Program offers individual consultancy and wide a range of group events focused on growing companies on the local and international market.  
  • The Internship program includes several options of travelling abroad and gaining knowledge on a global level: internship opportunities in a foreign business incubator, professional institution, technology park or attending events focused on start-up community.  
  • The Creative Point is a creative space providing new technologies suitable for prototyping - such as 3D printers, laser, CNC milling machines, scanners and plotters to develop skills and creative ideas. The aim is to support entrepreneurs by making attractive free technical and technological services available by accessing to these machines. 

An initiative Startup Sharks is based on The Scheme for Support of Start-ups (scheme of support de minimis) and supports innovative and technological start-ups. 

The program consists of 3 parts: 

  • The Start-up Pool within which entrepreneurs could visit international startu's events.  
  • The Start-up Sea offers counselling service or training courses aimed at diverse entrepreneurship - related themes. 
  • The Start-up Ocean proposes an internship programme within the National Business Centre.

EIT RawMaterials provides funding and entrepreneurship coaching to early stage start-ups with a focus on idea-to-market/early-stage start-ups with relevance for the partners.

 The activities are composed:

  • Start-up and SME Booster – supports promising Start-ups and SMEs at regional Innovation Hubs (Co-Location Centres) to validate their business models and connects with the networks of partners.
  • RawMaterials Accelerator – RM Accelerator activities improve the success rate of market entry of scalable start-ups, focusing on addressing market risk. The Accelerator also includes coaching and instructions on a pan-European level to partners of the EIT RawMaterials. RM Accelerator supports scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs in developing their concepts for raw materials innovations into market-ready products and services.

Business and Innovation Centers (BICs) are institutions for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. It is an initiative of European Commission, the private and public sectors to promote economic development and innovation potential in the European region through the following offices:  BIC Banská Bystrica, BIC Bratislava, BIC Prievidza, BIC Spišská Nová Ves and BIC Košice operate in Slovakia. For example, BIC Bratislava offers services such as business consulting, financing, technology transfer, regional development, investment consulting, advice on EU programs and networking.

The main aim of the The Technology Transfer Centre (Národné centrum transferu technológií) at The Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information (Centrum vedecko-technických informácií)  is the complex support in the technology transfer of institutions like universities, institutes at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and other public research institutions.

SIEA Slovak Innovation and Enery Agency (Slovenská inovačná a energetická agentúra) throught the project inovujeme.sk  ("we innovate") created regional consultation centres aimed at providing advisory services to target groups, especially business entities, which are specialized on innovation and technology.

Access to capital

Start-ups can use a relatively wide scope of financial sources either from the risk capital (it is a situation, in which the capital-provider becomes one of the co-owners of the enterprise), debt financing (credits, microloans) or bank guarantees.

In the area of risk capital they can acquire the needed capital for their start from several private or public sources. The National Holding Fund /NHF/ (Národný holdingový fond), whose founder is the Slovak Business Agency, dominates among the public sources. This company provided financial sources to more than 140 firms in a total amount of 10 million Euros. Under the National Holding Fund there are several funds, from among which it is the Fund for Innovations and Technologies /FIT/ (Fond inovácií a technológií) that focuses itself on start-ups. This fund invests from 20 000 to 1 500 000 Euros and it reaches its investment horizon between 4 – 6 years. It specialises itself mainly in the area of environment, sustainable energy sources, industrial innovations, e-commerce, information technologies, telecommunications and software solutions.

Except for the aforesaid fund, there are funds in Slovakia, which came into existence within the JEREMIE initiative (Common European Sources for Small and Middle Enterprises). It is a common initiative of the European Commission (Directorate General “Regio”) and the European investment fund (EIF) aiming to enhance the access of small and middle enterprises to the external financing. Funds, which originated from the JEREMIE-sources, are administered by two administrators:

Neulogy Ventures - they offer the initial capital from 50 000 to 200 000 Euros and the starting current capital from 300 000 to 1 500 000 Euros for enterprises operating mostly in the area of information and communication technologies, power engineering and medical diagnostics.

Limerock - maximal investment amount in one company reaches 2 750 000 Euros and the investment horizon varies from 4 to 6 years.

Another group of sources form private funds and then finances from entrepreneurship angels. Several entrepreneurship angels are associated in the Club of business angels (Klub podnikateľských anjelov), founded by the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Slovakia (Združenie mladých podnikateľov Slovenska ), SLOVCA (Slovak Venture Capital and Private Equity Association) and Slovak Business Agency.

Credit financing for starting enterprises is offered by the Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank /Slovenská záručná a rozvojová banka (credits for young entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs, young farmers etc.). As for microloans the Start-ups have the Microloans Programme (Mikropôžičkový program) available within the Slovak Business Agency. The minimum loan is 2 500 Euro and the maximum is 50 000 Euro. The payment should be paid from 6 months to 4 years.

As for providing of bank guarantees the entrepreneurs are allowed to use mainly the service provided by the Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank (Slovenská záručná a rozvojová banka). Bank guarantees are provided also for the reason of fostering formation, development and stabilisation of the Small and Middle Enterprises in the Slovak Republic, or of the sustainable energy sources.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) operates within the scope of financing for beginners entrepreneurs, which falls under the Slovak Guarantee and Development Fund (Slovenský záručný a rozvojový fond), dealing with provision of bank guarantees and risk capital.