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Slovenia Has Potential to Become Hi-Tech Hub, Panel Agrees

Ljubljana, 20 September (STA) - Slovenia has a number of successful hi-tech companies, but it can become a hi-tech hub only if it can connect the knowledge and technology with the market, participants of a tech investment panel as part of the FDI Summit 2012 emphasised on Thursday.

According to Marko Jaklič from the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics, the world is facing the beginning of the third industrial revolution that will transform people's lives in the coming years, not least by helping countries find a way out of the economic and global social crisis.

The future will present many opportunities for small and medium sized companies, Jaklič believes. Slovenia has a number of promising IT companies, he stressed, pointing to the likes of Outfit 7, a mobile applications developer, and several robotics companies.

However, to achieve success, the gap between science and technology and the companies will have to be closed, Jaklič stressed. "Those who won't be able to reduce this gap will be the losers of the future," he said, adding that Slovenia needs innovation in all segments, including in education, business and technology.

CEO of Centre of excellence Polimat, Mateja Dermastia, said that the knowledge and research is here, but what Slovenia is not so good at is bringing the knowledge to the market. What small companies can do is learn from the multinationals in this field, she stressed.

CEO of Centre of excellence EN-FIST Matjaž Polak pointed out that that their primary philosophy is that "if you want to learn to swim, you need to jump into the water". He urged a link between knowledge, science, development and the market.

Matjaž Oven from pharma company Lek meanwhile pointed to the benefits of their policy of cooperation with local academic institutions. "Partnerships are now improving to the point that institutions come to us and ask what the company needs," Oven stressed.

The panel was part of the international investment conference FDI Summit 2012, which will be running until Friday. Day one will conclude with a reception at Ljubljana Castle and the 2012 Foreign Investor of the Year ceremony.

With about 200 participants expected, the FDI Summit 2012 conference focuses on foreign investment trends, the changing economic situation in Slovenia and the measures the country will have to take in response to the new conditions.

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