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Ljubljana Start-up Ecosystem and the Technology Park Ljubljana (Slovenia)

This research publication is part of a series on Place-based innovation ecosystems that was born in 2017 from a fruitful collaboration between the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and DG Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) on promoting the importance of evidence-based policy development for regional and urban policy makers. In particular, this case study focuses on the catalyser role played by the Technology Park Ljubljana and other intermediary bridging organisations for the cohesion and development of a collaborative innovation ecosystem that supports the nurturing of new innovative companies – notably start-ups, but also scale-ups and spin-offs – in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and beyond.
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Abstract

This case study focuses on Ljubljana/ Slovenia's start-up ecosystem and its main actors and orchestrators (or "innovation process entrepreneurs") like the Technology Park Ljubljana. While Slovenia has kept its place as a strong innovator (EIS, 2017), the only CEEC in this group, it lacks an effective governance structure for research and innovation and true collaboration between actors. Taking advice from more experienced countries and applying policy and funding instruments prescribed by the EU could have speeded up the process of developing a more advanced innovation system, but frequent changes of the instruments and the support provided to different stakeholders did not help. Against this background, one of the interesting phenomena that can be observed in Ljubljana’s start-up environment is a growth of various kinds of new initiatives, some bottom-up from entrepreneurial activity, others stimulated by public policy, but all aimed at providing stimulating support to start-ups, from co-working spaces, geek house, Hackathon, etc. All together they create a dynamic network, which spreads beyond Ljubljana’s Region across Slovenia, but also much wider across Western Balkans and to EU and USA. This network is developing in parallel, with or without the support of formal institutions and/or governmental support.