OSS partners met again in Slovenia

In hopes to develop an attractive tailor-made ecosystem for start-ups through OSS – One Stop Shop project – the partners have been gathering yearly to assess, plan and visit best practices that could be implemented in our own environments. Meetings have been mostly held online for the past two years, and it’s was a pleasure to meet in person after a while: in Slovenia, May 10th – 13th.

We kicked off the regular program with Pilot Day for our Norwegian colleagues, presenting CEED Network Slovenia in a study visit. The environment is created by a dedicated, goal-oriented team which believes that there is no entrepreneurial problem that cannot be solved.

The partners have continued to discover problem-solving spaces in ABC Hub Ljubljana, an innovative multi-purpose centre where start-ups develop their solutions, connect and educate. In addition to its exceptional coworking infrastructure, the ABC Hub also hosts a variety of events in order to introduce participants to the latest trends in the business world.

Next morning, OSS Project Meeting Day 1 began with a partner meeting, discussing the action plan and its progress, and in preparation for the final conference in Antwerp. The rest of the day was dedicated to the best practice case of Kovačnica in Kranj, opening with Rok Starič, crowdfunding expert, taking us through his entrepreneurship story that led him to mentor first time entrepreneurs in Kovačnica Business Incubator among other things. Since his products are nut butters, all of us were excited to taste them and end the presentation in a bit more relaxed atmosphere.

Star of the day was the local coworking space, business incubator and support centre for both first time and seasoned entrepreneurs, and overall, the coolest entrepreneurial place in Gorenjska: Kovačnica (en. “smithy”). They pride themselves on the fact that they are not just a coworking space, but offer administrative support, host informative and/or educational events (organized over 70 events last year, attended by over 2.000 people), several incentives and projects to help jump-start careers in business or explore foreign practices through exchange programmes, etc.

Thursday, May 12th, was OSS Project Meeting Day 2. Partners travelled to Škofja Loka and visited SORA Development Agency focused on supporting and developing entrepreneurship in rural areas. One of Kovačnica and SORA’s common success stories is “Pouhn cekar” zero waste store, a product of Kovačnica’s PONI incentive that helps first time entrepreneurs realize their ideas. Hosts brought visiting partners to the store for a coffee break where we saw first-hand how the concept works - customers bring their own packaging (cloth bags, glass jars, bottles, boxes, etc.) in which they load selected local foods and products in order to avoid unnecessary plastic waste.
As the trip began with young entrepreneurs, the logical next stop was Gymnasium France Prešeren Kranj, a local high school with a high success rate in implementing business and entrepreneurial education into their curriculum. From Olympic medallists to well-known entrepreneurs, this school seems to be the playground for the best of the best.

From actual playgrounds to digital ones – the day concluded in a coworking centre and digital nomad hub in Kranjska Gora, showing us how they harness the potential of digital nomadism in one of the most popular tourist places in Slovenia. The Hub’s main task is to operate as an educational centre,

where alternative education and workshops (e. g. robotics, computer science, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, etc.) take place for young people and anyone who would like to enter the world of digital.
Project partners have left the host country happy to have met such warm and pleasant people, excited to implement witnessed best practices in their environments, and looking forward to both coming back and meeting again, that time in a different setting.