Startup-Hub Velenje

Velenje city is with a population of over 25.000 and the sixth largest city in Slovenia and the leading city of the Salek Valley area. Velenje sits on the banks of a lake by the same name only 85km from the capital of Ljubljana and is surrounded by green hills of the Salek Valley with the Pohorie Mountains in the east and the Kamnik-Savinia Alps in the west. It is making a triangle with roads and influence between Ljubljana and Maribor, opposite Celje. It is connected by road, bus, and train, but it does not have an airport. Due to history and natural resources, it is one of the strongest economic centers in Slovenia, equipped with modern infrastructure. The main development is based on energy, metal-processing, and construction industries. The city is a strong industrial center with companies like Gorenje and Premogovnik Velenje, covering almost half of the employment size in the area. With other companies included, a total of 704 companies in 2018, the income of companies was over 1.521 million € out of which 929 million € was from export, which is very important information. It is showing that the region is very international orientated, especially into export. Due to this, it must compete with global competition and continually work on improving the development of companies, the city and also the broader population within Savinjsko-Saleska area.

Biggest companies have their innovation and design centers, where creativity is being used in the development, transformations, new business models, etc. That is especially true for Gorenje company, where creativity and design are one of their main competitive advantages in global markets. Another nationally well-known company is Plastika Skaza, where innovative plastic products for home are developed and manufactured.

SAŠA incubator is a regional entrepreneurial incubator, covering the Savinjsko-saleska area and is creating a supportive environment for the development of entrepreneurship. It is connecting young entrepreneurial talents, freelancers, start-ups, fast-growing companies, managers, and corporations. It is supporting start-ups with free consultations, mentorship programs, workshops, and organizing meetups with successful entrepreneurs. They give support also with incubating tools, co-working space, and additional programs, where they cooperate with other start-up stakeholders from the local, regional, national, and international environment. With more than 4.000 m2 of facilities and 60 startups it is one of the biggest incubators in the region. For early-stage startups they are open for all industries and in the scale-up phase, they are specialized for companies related to Industry 4.0 solutions. They are strongly connected to the regional environment and they are the facilitator of the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

They are also organizers of the traditional international Future 4.0 industry conference where a match between big corporations and startups is being made. Very well-known program of theirs is also “Podjetniški trampolin” where start-ups gain 6 weeks intensive consultations, mentorships, and full support in developing an idea to the level of gaining first customers, business partners or investors.