The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC), hosted the second regional learning meeting of stakeholders of the Innova-FI project, aimed at exchanging information in the field of financial instruments. Representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, SID Bank, Eco Fund and the Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia attended the meeting to discuss financial instruments.
Mrs. Alenka Marovt (Ministry of Economic Development and Technology) hinted the role of MEDT as a managing authority for ERDF and non-ERDF funds and Simona Hočevar (Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy) clarified the history of FI’s on the ERDF from 2004 onwards, i.e. how they were developed and why, and what will have to be done in next financial period 2021-2027.
Participants were unanimous that there are many financial instruments in Slovenia that promote innovation, research and development available to start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. They agreed that, from the point of view of the transparency and usability of financial instruments, a single inventory of all available financial instruments would be welcome, based on experience and good practices from abroad. Also, worth considering is the introduction of new financial instruments and the digitization of certain procedures in order to facilitate their access.
Furthermore, the stakeholders suggested certain recommendations / drafted certain conclusions in terms of which information should be acquired from the project partners. These can be summarized as follows:
- Austria and Germany have introduced FIs, where they involved institutionalized investors. So far this is not the case in Slovenia, but it is worth considering. Does any project country have such FIs?
- Slovenia should focus more on revolving funds (particularly equity and quasi capital), this because SMEs still prefer grants and other forms of subventions.
- Based on last discussions with the EC, Slovenia can compare itself with most of EU member states in terms of FIs diversity.
- There is a recommendation from the EC to make such FIs that could cover investments in renewable energy.
Within the framework of the Interreg Europe project, Innova-FI, together with its partners from Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Spain and Lithuania, are exploring existing financial instruments to finance innovation for small and medium-sized enterprises. The project partners will prepare a review of financial instruments and a proposal for policy improvements in this area.