34. Slovenia

This country profile highlights recent policy actions related to entrepreneurship by women, youth, seniors and immigrants. It also benchmarks key self-employment and inclusive entrepreneurship indicators for Slovenia against the average for the European Union and reports on entrepreneurship conditions.

The overall conditions for entrepreneurship are similar to most of the European Union (EU) Member States. The share of the population with entrepreneurship skills and the level of administrative burden on new start-ups are well-above average, while the share of the population of who intend to start a business and SME lending levels are on par with EU average. These improvements may be the result of national level initiatives to foster the business environment, such as the national online business portal e-VEM which simplifies procedures and reduces costs related to starting a business. Much progress has been made in making entrepreneurship more inclusive over the past decade but this progress may erode in the coming years because some notable initiatives have ended, including the start-up subsidy for the unemployed.

The overall early-stage entrepreneurship rate (7%) was slightly above the EU average (6%) between 2016 and 2020, largely due to higher activity rates among youth (18-30 years old) (10% vs. 7%). Almost a quarter of all new entrepreneurs reported starting their business out of necessity relative to 19% on average in the EU. This was true across all target population groups - women (32% vs. 21%), youth (20% vs. 16%) and seniors (50-64 years old) (26% vs. 26%). However, more early-stage entrepreneurs (7%) anticipated job creation than on average in the EU (6%), notably senior entrepreneurs (7%). Eliminating the gaps in entrepreneurship activity rates across population groups (i.e. applying the early-stage entrepreneurship rate of men who are 30-49 years old to the whole population) would result in 59 000 more entrepreneurs. About 75% of these “missing” entrepreneurs are female and 60% are between 50 and 64 years old.

Self-employment rates remained stable at about 12% over the previous decade yet remained below the EU average (14% in 2020). Among the self-employed, most are registered as private entrepreneurs followed by farmers and own-account workers. There is a noticeable gender gap among the self-employed as women are more than half as likely to be self-employed than men (32% vs. 68% in 2020).

The government announced a range of measures to support the self-employed and SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the postponement of loan payments, unemployment aid and liquidity support for the self-employed and SMEs. Moreover, the SME Invest Romania programme offered loans to help enterprises maintain their liquidity, working capital and investments. This programme granted 451 loans totalling to LEI 332 million (EUR 67 million) within the first three weeks.

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