Providing effective financial incentives for internationalisation of SMEs
Slovene Enterprise Fund (SEF), public financial fund, owned by Republic of Slovenia, financially supports internationalisation of SMEs with seed capital and venture capital.
1. Seed capital is for young enterprises in second development phase (from MVP- Minimum Viable Product to market), with growth potential and potential of creating new jobs. Product is implemented in two forms:
- convertible loan of € 75.000 for micro and small enterprises, existing minimum 6 months, with prototype or MVP, funds needed for further product development and testing (min 2-year grace period on loan repayment)
- capital investment of € 200.000 for young enterprises with completed product on market, that want fast expansion and market growth (payment of the capital investment in four parts).
In both cases recipients of funds receive financial and non-financial incentives. Non-financial incentives are organised in cooperation with initiative Start up Slovenia. Participation in start-up accelerator is obligatory. For obtaining seed capital the company has to apply to the public tender.
2. Support in form of venture capital included entry into the ownership structure and management of the enterprise in cooperation with capital investments from private investors (venture capital and mezzanine capital). Between 2010 and 2015 SEF, in collaboration with four supported venture capital companies, which had 49% of public and 51% of private funds, enabled young SME entering global markets.

Resources needed

Public tenders for 75K & 200K:
2016: €1.05mio of convertible loans and €800K of capital investments
2015: €1.5mio convertible loans and €1mio of capital investments
2014: (50K & 200K): €1 mio convertible loans & €400K of capital investments
Venture capital 2011 – 2015: €29,04mio

Evidence of success

Public tender for 75K and 200K:
2016: 18 projects, fostering implementation of investments in value of € 2.,9 mio.
2015: 25 projects, fostering implementation of investments in value of € 2,02 mio.
2014 (50K and 200K): 22 projects, fostering implementation of investments in value of € 2,8 mio.
Venture capital 2011 – 2015: 29 SMEs, 291 new employments (as of 31.12.2015)

Potential for learning or transfer

Practice, implemented under Priority Axis 3 of OP for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the Republic of Slovenia 2014 – 2020, offers a combination of financial and non-financial incentives, tailored to the need of enterprise in different developmental phase, to support their internationalisation efforts.
Practice is transferable in terms of organisational model / implementation process and specific tools.

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Main institution
Slovene Enterprise Fund
Vzhodna Slovenija, Slovenia (Slovenija)
Start Date
January 2010
End Date


Borut Jurišić Please login to contact the author.

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