Fostering entrepreneurship

Such collaboration is useful, as it improves the economic status of the University and the relevant member, which translates into better equipment, attracts students and staff of higher calibre, enhances the institution’s reputation in society and enables more stable development.

​The Office strives to establish as many long-term partnerships as possible, basing them on open communication and honest practices.

What is a spin-out company?

The term spin-out company is used for a company founded by one or several employees of the University of Ljubljana. The term spin-out company is used for a company founded by one or several employees of the University of Ljubljana. The purpose of a spin-out company is to further develop and market the knowledge created due to employment at the University, and the transfer thereof to a new company either by granting a licence or selling the intellectual property rights.

Founding a spin-out company is sometimes the best way of transferring knowledge into the business sector. The University of Ljubljana encourages founding such companies, as we believe this is a good way of transferring knowledge to industrial use.

How can the Office and LUI help as you take the first steps into entrepreneurship?

The role of the Knowledge Transfer Office

The role of LUI

Consultation about an entrepreneurial idea

Basic counselling before setting off on an entrepreneurial path

Preparing consents to establish a company

Help in preparing a business model

Preparing licence and other contracts

Brief and effective training in the marketing, financing and running of a company

Legal protection of intellectual property

Mentorship in developing and growing a company

Collaboration with the business sector

Spaces, offices and conference rooms for rent

Preparation for pitches to be given at events, such as the Rector’s Award, Falling Walls, etc.

Networking with other entrepreneurs, investors, developers, visionaries, etc.

Organisation of training in entrepreneurship and intellectual property

Consultation on suspension of rights arising from an employment relationship

How can I realise my entrepreneurial idea?

Not all business ideas are necessarily good business opportunities. Before beginning to implement any idea, it is therefore necessary to check its feasibility and market potential. Your business idea will become a business opportunity once you determine that:

  • it could achieve long-term market success,
  • it is unique,
  • it can be realised and
  • the competition cannot easily imitate it.

You can do this by conducting market research, analysing existing providers, presenting your idea to other researchers (confidentially) and consulting people with expertise and an unbiased outlook (confidentially).

Do I need a team to realise my entrepreneurial idea?

By increasing the number of participants in your project, you can significantly increase the chances of your idea succeeding. If you do not choose the right people to work with, however, they can become an obstacle. The number of members in your team is extremely important. Ideally, a good start-up team consists of four to five members on average. Later on, expand the team in line with the growth of your company. You can still continue working with external colleagues that possess the competences you need.

Successful directors agree that the precise division of work and tasks by individual team members is essential for good team functioning. The key to achieving the best results and teamwork is common to all good teams: collaboration, adequate communication and the constant flow of information.

Upon establishing a spin-out company, we advise you to choose a project/team member early on. This can be a researcher, one of the inventors or the chosen director.

Who can help me on my entrepreneurial path?

Knowledge Transfer Office

The Knowledge Transfer Office has an important role in fostering entrepreneurship at the University, and in providing assistance at the very beginning of venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.

Ljubljana University Incubator

The mission of the Ljubljana University Incubator (LUI) is to act as “a personal entrepreneurship coach” that helps entrepreneurs and all those who wish to become one to test and realise their ideas on the market. They focus on raising the entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge in the University and broader environment.

Support for entrepreneurship through counselling, training and other forms of assistance is also offered by:

How do I obtain the capital for a start-up?

In terms of financing, you can apply for various forms of state aid in Slovenia, which are granted through public tenders.

The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia prepares policies and implements programmes and measures that promote entrepreneurship. In addition to the Ministry, related programmes are also being carried out by the Slovene Enterprise Fund.

Slovene Enterprise Fund (SEF)

Every year, SEF opens an invitation to tender for state aid for development and expansion investments aimed at small and micro enterprises in Slovenia. Within a programme entitled “Young Enterprises”, the Fund has devised a range of products for young and innovative enterprises. These products accompany the enterprise from start-up or the beginning of product development to the stages of checking market potential, entry in the market and expansion to new markets.

The most notable incentives include those for P2 product development, for entry in the market SK75 and SK 200, and micro-credits for further growth. For more on current tenders, please see SEF’s website.

In addition to SEF, support for the financing and development of companies is offered by:

In addition to the above possibilities of raising capital, there are also subsidies and other forms of state aid:

The Knowledge Transfer Office is in contact with international investors and investment funds specialised in various fields. We can connect them with researchers who offer potential innovations, and establish connections for potential collaboration.

What is a business plan and how to write one?

A business plan is a document by means of which you will check the appropriateness of your entrepreneurial idea, define your company’s vision, mission and goals, and determine the operational strategy. To write a business plan you must possess solid knowledge about the problem you are trying to solve with your business idea, knowledge about the solution as well as about the fields of finance and marketing. You can help yourself in the process by using “business models”. These enable setting a mechanism through which a company can obtain money.

The most up-to-date business model is called the Lean Canvas Model. It comprises only one page and can be adapted as you go along. This summarises the essence of your product. The greatest problem of newly-founded companies is that they focus too much on the product, while often neglecting other points. New companies are tasked not only with managing the product, as they must also ensure transition to the market and commercialisation.

The Lean Canvas Model and a description of the key points can be downloaded from this link.
These points are described in detail in a book entitled Running Lean.

How do I establish a company?

Once you have conducted market research and checked whether your entrepreneurial idea could be implemented, you must then establish a company. A company (sole trader or a simple limited-liability company) can be established at one of the physical SPOTs or online. If you would like to establish a multi-member liability company, the establishment procedure must be conducted at a notary public.

Once you decide to establish a company, it makes sense to learn about the differences between the various organisational forms of companies. More information about this is available at the Slovenia Business Point website.

How do I regulate the relationship between the University and the spin-out company?

The University of Ljubljana strives to nurture a culture of innovation, openness, cohesion and willingness to take the risks that come with setting out into the world of entrepreneurship. Before establishing a company, University employees must obtain the University’s consent, and the newly-established company must obtain permission to use the University’s knowledge by signing a licence contract or a contract on the transfer of intellectual property rights. 
For more information, get in touch with us.

Do I need a consent to establish a spin-out company?

If you plan to establish a spin-out company and take on a managerial position or act as a procurator in it, you must go through the Knowledge Transfer Office to obtain consent from the University and the member at which you are employed. The consent-issuing procedure begins by completing a form on the establishment of a spin-out company.
The University and its member grant consent if the activity the company is to engage in does not constitute competition for the University.

Read more about “avoiding conflict of interest and conditions for performing work outside UL”.

Can I work at the University and in the spin-out company simultaneously?

Due to a potential conflict of interest, it is not desirable for an employee to simultaneously perform work in the spin-out company, which is by its nature or content similar to the work they perform at the University of Ljubljana (e.g. research work or expert counselling on topics similar to those engaged in within their employment at the University).

If you would like to work in a spin-out company and be employed by it, you can come to an arrangement with the University whereby your employment contract is suspended. This way you remain in an employment relationship, but your rights arising from the work relationship are suspended for a definite period of time. This lowers the risk for you as you have the option of returning to your job at the University once the agreed-upon period expires.

If you would like to keep your employment at the University and also own the company or occupy a managerial position in it, you must adhere to the rules described in detail in the related guide that are in line with the rules on avoiding conflicts of interests and conditions for work outside the University of Ljubljana.

Get in touch with us

Learn more about knowledge transfer at the University of Ljubljana


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Guide to knowledge transfer at the University of Ljubljana.

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