Ljubljana, 17 September (STA) - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) conferred on Thursday awards on the country's best innovations in 2008, with seven companies receiving the golden prize in the competition of 185 innovations by more than 500 inventors. The main prices this year went to steelworks Acroni, valve maker Danfoss Trata, electronics components maker Domel, home appliance maker Gorenje, steel fittings maker Kovinoplastika Loz, chemical company Melamin and home appliance maker BSH Hisni aparati. The number of competitors increased compared to the last year. "The number and the quality of applicants and awarded innovations are a clear indicator that Slovenia has a great potential for increasing competitiveness of its economy," the GZS said. However, more innovation would not save Slovenia from the crisis, said GZS director general Samo Hribar Milic, offering Japan as an example. However, it would contribute to a faster way out of the crisis and higher competitiveness of the Slovenian economy, he added. Prior to the award-giving ceremony, the GZS organised a conference on the introduction of innovation culture in Slovenian companies, which agreed that Slovenia does not take full advantage of its innovation potential and to a lesser extent compared to other EU members. Borut Likar of the Koper-based Faculty of Management noted that more should be invested in young people and that more attention should be paid to research and its links with the economy if the state wanted to improve the situation in the long run. Matjaz Mulej, a professor at the Maribor-based Faculty of Economics and Business, added that the ongoing crisis was proof that the two-generation cycle of neoliberal values has ended. He believes that the changed circumstances are an opportunity for restructuring the basic concept of socio-economic practice. Focus on products, services and business techniques should be directed to social responsibility, he said, adding that private and social lives should be preferred to increasing business results and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.