Mikropis Presented the Possibilities and Challenges of Obtaining EU Funds to Tradesmen

October 10, 2013

To celebrate the 40th Regional Chamber of Craft Maribor anniversary, a business forum was held in the City Hotel in Maribor entitled ‘How Can Tradesmen Obtain Financing Resources?', which also included Janez Uplaznik, Mikropis' director and the conceptual architect and originator of @life. During the discussion participants represented different practical examples from Slovenia and other countries and the challenges their realizers faced when obtaining funds either from the side of the country, bank, EU funds or completely independently with the help of projects such as ‘Start-Up' or ‘Kickstarter'. Co-speakers were also Gerhard Wohlmuth, Division Chairman of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Peter Hasslacher, Ph.D., the Austrian Commercial Attaché, Andrej Plos, the President of the Sparkasse Bank Slovenia, Violeta Jelić, Chief Secretary of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, Elvis Halilović, the Co-Founder of ONDU d.o.o., ant the host, Aleš Pulko, the President of the Regional Chamber of Craft Maribor.

Janez Uplaznik represented the possibilities and challenges of obtaining funds for the @life project, which is partially financially supported by the European Union due to its positive note. The representation also touched the issues regarding projects co-funded by the EU funds, saying, "The biggest problem of projects financed by the EU funds in my opinion is that the most of the good projects end up ‘in a drawer' after the pilot realization. EU funds only help to realize an idea but a lot of own will an also funds are important for the project to apply in practice."   

The starting point for the forum discussion was stressing the critical conditions mostly for small tradesmen in Slovenia, who reminded about their role, which is too often overlooked in the economy. Trade today is an irreplaceable part of the economic structure in the line of production and service activities. Almost 93% of all Slovenian companies represent micro and small companies employing 43% of all employees and creating more than a third of the country's total value added. Despite this fact the county still doesn't support its tradesmen and small businessmen the way it should. In participants' opinion the country should invest money in rehabilitating the companies and not banks, like the successful EU countries are doing, such as Austria that invested 20 billion euros and Switzerland 40 billion euros. The manner of getting these available financial assets is also very complicated, from the country's side and the EU. The alternatives young businessmen usually reach for are the independent financing sources and web platforms.