Mentoring support is becoming an important pillar of any mature entrepreneurial ecosystem. Startup and scaleup companies are increasingly aware of the importance, value and role of a good mentor.
“Experience has shown that financial incentives for startups alone are not enough for their successful development. It is important for them to get the so-called 'smart' money, which means not only financial incentive but also knowledge from successful entrepreneurs, network, and integration into the ecosystem,” Maja Tomanič Vidovič, M.Sc., director of Slovene Enterprise Fund, says.
Mentoring is one of the most important elements of the content support of the Startup Plus Program, which the Slovenian Entrepreneurship Fund (SPS) provides to companies receiving financial incentives P2, convertible loans SK75 and co-investments SI-SK. Each of the recipients of financial incentives can choose one or more mentors from the list of verified startup mentors.
Slovene Enterprise Fund, as a part of the Startup Plus Program, is strengthening the mentoring program, which has been an important part of the substantive support of recipients of financial incentives from the very beginning. More than 140 mentors are included in the mentorship process and the mentor-mentee matching is carefully curated based on the best fit.
Mentor Rok Stritar points out: "A mentor must be aware of his role in the process. He is not someone who solves problems for his mentee, nor is he someone who works for him or does the work for him, but is someone who guides him through the entrepreneurial process, ensures that the entrepreneur goes through the various stages as smoothly as possible and prevents him from 'nonsense' that could harm his company or himself."
Urban Lapajne, coordinator of the Start: up Slovenia community, who is also responsible for curating the matchmaking process, says: "A really good mentor can change the direction of the company at the right time, it can influence whether the startup will succeed or not.”
Receivers of the financial incentive P2 and the co-investment SI-SK are entitled to 10 hours of mentoring each year and receivers of convertible loans SK75 are entitled to 25 hours of mentoring each year.
Content support for recipients of P2, SK75 or SI-SK financial products under the "de minimis" scheme is co-financed from the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. This is implemented on the basis of the Content Support for Funds Recipients (SMEs) Programme in the 2018-2023 period, under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.