The sixth Exchange of Experience of Innova-FI project on-line event, which was held on the 15th and 16th of September 2020 was hosted by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy of Slovenia. The workshop brought together seven different partner regions to discuss funding sources, financial instruments, and ways to attract and work with international private investors in order to boost the innovation potential of start-ups and the SMEs.

The online workshop was attended by 30 participants, including the eight project partners, representatives from managing authorities and banking sector. The diversity of the participants indicated a high level of interest in the financial instruments Slovenia has put in place.

The opening speech was delivered by Mr Zvone Černač, Minister without portfolio, competent for Development and EU Cohesion Policy. Following the opening speech, the state of play of financial instruments in Slovenia was presented by Mrs Alenka Marovt from Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. Moreover, participants had the opportunity to learn more about financial instruments offered by the Slovene Enterprise Fund and SID Bank (Slovene Export and Development Bank), as well as how financial instruments work in practice by the ABC Accelerator.

The topic of the final discussion was about preparing the Operational Programme for the implementation of the cohesion policy 2021-2027, where the high level of interest in financial instruments in Slovenia was expressed. The attendees also welcomed the potential support of financial instrument to 5 policy objectives: Smarter Europe, Low Carbon and Green Economy, Integrated Europe, Social Europe and Europe closer to its citizens. The advantages of financial instruments compared to grants were appreciated and a recommendation to move toward increased use of ESIF financial instruments in the next programming period was made.