Slovenian Startup of the Year Award

We are looking for, highlighting and awarding ambassadors of Slovenian startup entrepreneurship. Those startup companies and teams whose achievements, actions, reputation and development potential present the new generation of Slovenian innovative entrepreneurs.


All-inclusive package for the Pioneers festival and, personal consultation by Marvin Liao, partner of the elite American accelerator 500 startups are this year’s prizes for the “Slovenian Startup of the Year 2017”

Project of the Slovenian startup community 

Slovenian Startup of the Year is the project of active stakeholders of the Slovenian startup ecosystem. Their role is to participate in the nomination of candidates for the award as well as national and international promotion of finalists and the recipient of the title. The main organizer of the project is Initiative Start:up Slovenia, joined by the ABC Accelerator as the co-organizer in 2016. Already traditionally, the award is organized with the support of the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.

The Slovenian Startup of the Year award can be won by a Slovenian innovative startup company with potential for growth on the global markets. With the award, the key stakeholders of the Slovenian startup ecosystem wish to highlight and reward companies and teams whose persistence, globally recognizable achievements and a bold development vision are a role model in the national and international startup environment.
The recipient of the title Slovenian Startup of the year is an ambassador of the Slovenian startup community. Organizers of the award give active PR and other support to the recipient of the title, and the received crystal statue will remind the winner that they aren’t promoting only their successes in the media and at events at home and abroad. They’re also promoting the Slovenian startup community. 

5 nominees  

5 startup companies will compete for the title Slovenian Startup of the Year, namely:
  • Three nominated startups in the earliest development stage or the so-called young challengers from the Start:up Slovenia competition. Five highest-ranked startup companies as part of the Start:up Slovenia competition, where startup companies in the earliest development stages compete for the best possible grade in the pre-selection procedure of the competition, the DEMO Day presentation. We especially encourage, reward and promote this youngest group of startup companies, forming the category of “young challengers”.
  • Three startup companies nominated by the ecosystem. Five startups in different development stages will be nominated by different stakeholders of the Slovenian startup ecosystem.   

The nomination process

The process of nominating young challengers of the Start:up Slovenia competition 

Start: up Slovenia seeks to identify the best start-up companies in the earliest development phase (problem - solution) and offer professional and media support. To participate in the pre-selection process is required to submit requests until tender deadline. All participating companies are evaluated by an expert committee, with the help of the application documentation submitted and the required personal presentation at DEMO day.

Three best-ranked startups will be nominated to participate in the finals for the competition Slovenian Startup of the Year, where they will compete as “young challengers”. 

The process of the ecosystem nominating startups 

Organizers publish a public call for collecting nominations for startup companies that suit the criteria of the award. Every active member of the startup ecosystem can nominate only one startup company. The deadline for submitting nominations is 12 April 2018! They justify their nomination in written form through answers to pre-determined short questions, concerning the nominated startup company and the proposer of the nomination. The nominated company has to be informed about the nomination and agree with it. A company that already received the Slovenian Startup of the Year award can’t be nominated.
All received nominations are treated by the nomination committee, consisting of a Start:up Slovenia representative and other active members of the Slovenian startup ecosystem who implement or participate in implementing private and public programmes for supporting startup companies. Every member of the nomination committee submits their vote and ranks five nominees from the joint list, whereby they can’t vote for their own nominee.
Three best-ranked startups are placed into the award finals. 


Conditions for nominated companies 

Startup companies fulfilling the following conditions can participate in the selection:
  • The company was founded in the Republic of Slovenia, and its core team is working in Slovenia.
  • The company was founded 1. 1. 2015 or later.
  • At the date of the nomination, the company has not yet received a larger A investment round (the reference amount is up to half a million EUR of cumulative investment, can also be a bit bigger). 

Nomination justification

The justification for participation is reflected in answers to the following questions:

Which achievements, contributions or vision make the company into a role model in the Slovenian and international startup environment?
How is the company a part of the Slovenian economy (employment, partnerships, participation in support programmes …)?  

How will choose the winner?

Evaluation committee 

The members of the award’s evaluation committee are renowned Slovenian and international entrepreneurs, connected to the functioning and development of the Slovenian startup ecosystem. The task of the committee is to choose the winner from amongst 5 startup finalists. 

Evaluation criteria

The evaluation committee for the Slovenian Startup of the Year award will evaluate the finalists according to 4 criterions:
  • Product: The company has successfully confirmed the value of their products on the market and is solving a big pain or problem of the target user group. Successful value confirmation is reflected in the number of first users and their growth, where the most important ones are paying customers, of course.
  • Investors: The company’s product and business model have managed to get confirmation from national or international investors who added additional capital as well as other resources to the company. Experienced and internationally renowned investors are especially valuable in this.
  • Team: The company is led by a competent, dedicated and well-organized team with a clear vision and complementary knowledge and experience (technical, organizational, sales skills) that will enable further successful building of the company.
  • Potential for making a good business and growth (comprehensive business model): a comprehensive business model is innovative, designed on logical and market-tested hypotheses that don’t show visible weaknesses. The company has at least some unfair advantage. The company has the potential to develop good business on a promising, sufficiently big and growing market. The results reflect or will reflect in high revenue, the number of employees, profitability and even the possibility of disrupting the industry or a certain market niche. 
The award committee evaluates the candidates according to the criteria above, getting the information from the application form and other publicly accessible information.  


Announcement of the winner and the award!

The members of the evaluation committee will meet prior the conference where they will hold session and chose the winner who will be announced at the evening gala ceremony on the first day of the PODIM conference.
The recipient of the title “Slovenian Startup of the Year 2018” receives:
  • Personal consultation by Marvin Liao, partner of the elite American accelerator 500 startups.
  • All-inclusive package for the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.
Competition organizers will choose the winner as well as four startup companies that will also receive the all-inclusive package for the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. All ten finalists will receive the all-inclusive package of the PODIM Conference and other awards.

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