Project head Mojca Skalar Komljanc of the SPIRIT agency for entrepreneurship told the STA that the "project is 100% funded by the Economy Ministry, while the Labour Ministry and the Employment Service provide EUR 5,000 in subsidies for each participant."
The participants must attend the 100-hour programme in its entirety, to be eligible for the funds. They learn how to develop their ideas and design a good business model, and also get some legal advice.
"They get equipped with entrepreneurial knowledge to help them start their own entrepreneurial path," Skalar Komljanc said.
The sixth generation of future entrepreneurs is about to complete their programme at the moment. Two generations have gone through the programme every year since its inception.
Marlen Skarlovnik, the head of the Entrepreneurship Sector at the Economy Ministry, told the STA that Slovenia had been faring very well in pay gap rankings. However, the country is doing very poorly when it comes to entrepreneurial activity of young women.
The fact that this is a joint programme of the Economic Ministry, SPIRIT, the Employment Service and the Labour Ministry allows the organisers to provide complementary courses, she added.
They were very proud of programme alumni, as nearly 90% of them had started their own business. "Only 9% of first-generation entrepreneurs are no longer in business," said Skarlovnik.
After completing the programme, the participants also have access to a number of free-of-charge assistance services provided by the state, according to Irena Meterc, the head of technology and innovation promotion sector at SPIRIT.
Most of the entrepreneurs that complete the programme depend either on their "know-how or their hands" to make a living, said Skalar Komljanc. "These aren't very innovative products, which means that there is less risk" in launching them.
Among the attendants of today's event was also Mateja Čibej whose company produces bras for cancer survivors who had to undergo mastectomies. She told the STA that the programme had helped her a lot when she was launching the company. "Every entrepreneur faces setbacks at the beginning, so such advice is very useful."