If you’re looking for yet another opportunity to meet and mingle with the known and yet-to-be-known names of the European startup scene, then you should be aware that it’s right around the corner. Or more like in Slovenia. PODIM is the largest entrepreneurship and innovation conference in the country, and last year alone, it attracted over 500 participants, mostly from Slovenia and the Southeast European (SEE) region. Its 33rd edition will take place in Maribor on 15-16 May, and you still have until the end of the week to sign up.
Rewind for a moment – the conference is happening for the 33rd time? That does not sound like your usual informal startup-meets-VC event. So,
What’s the trick and what’s in it for you?
The PODIM Conference is indeed one of the major annual events in Slovenia. It brings together the key stakeholders in technology business – big firms, startups, developers and IT experts, VC and investors, researchers and academia folks, government representatives, and even students. The conference comprises two days of lectures, roundtables and workshops, social and networking events, and is devoted to a different topic each year. Miroslav Rebernik, professor at the University of Maribor and the Conference Chair, explains that this year’s PODIM “will focus on talent as the main component of entrepreneurship and career success“ – hence the conference theme From Talents to Global Entrepreneurs!
Everyone with an interest in Slovenian tech business will find their thing in the program. Included are topics for startups but also for well-established businesses. According to Rebernik, “the conference will focus on topics such as mechanisms for encouraging and empowering talent, the importance of an inter-disciplinary approach and teamwork, the concentration of talent in entrepreneuship hubs around the globe, limiting brain drain, global networking, and increasing mobility,“ among others. The event will take place partly in English, partly in Slovenian (For more information, scroll down to the end).
How they do it in Maribor?
The formats available include talks and workshops by both Slovenian and international speakers. Urban Lapanje of Venture Factory, the main conference organiser, shared some of the highlights with inventures.eu: “All the keynotes speakers are high-level well-known entrepreneurial experts (Paddy Cosgrave, Gregory Bernarda, Jeff Skinner, Stephen Taylor) or successful entrepreneurs (Miha Mikek).” Lapanje himself will chair one of the sessions on venture capital and investment in startups, featuring Pekka Santeri Mäki and Jure Mikuž – the managers of active regional VC funds.
If you feel like testing your business idea in the battle for cash, do so by joining another of the conference’s sessions, Podim Challenge: Pitch your idea to investors and get burned!
The event will also offer plenty of opportunities for networking, especially during lunches, breaks and… award sessions! Each of the conference nights has one – awarding the Start:up Slovenia, or the best startup of the year, on Day 1, and the Tehnovation 2013, the award for best innovation in the sustainable technologies field, on Day 2.
If interested, make sure to:
- Apply quickly, because registration closes at the endof the week
- Check out the discounts on registration fees
- Check the language with the organisers – all keynote lectures on the first day will be translated and on the second day Jeff Skinner, Stephan Taylor will speak in English, but the workshops on second day will be in Slovenian only!