“Technology is fundamentally changing our society, our economy and the way we work, and it is connecting us digitally in all areas of our lives. It is changing our ways of learning, communicating, business management, socializing, shopping, traveling, etc. Classic telecoms are being surpassed by communications via Skype, and classic banks are being threatened by services such as PayPal, Transferwise, BitCoin and other innovations in the financial system that have been made possible through digital innovation. As old systems are crumbling, many new opportunities are opening up. At the same time, digitalization is also changing other aspects of our society that we need to be careful about. While other professions are slowly dying out as a result of digitalization, other, completely new professions are emerging: “Social Media Manager”, “Digital Manager”, “Chief Innovation Officer”, “Engagement Manager”, “Digital Content Manager” – these are all professions of the future that we have little knowledge about. In the past, we guided young people towards seeking secure jobs. Today, we are encouraging them to search for opportunities,”
– CEO of the CEED Slovenia business network, Barbara Bregar-Mrzlikar
“To comprehend all of the changes that are happening around us, we need to be open and cooperate, which is also the main goal of WorldChicago, an organisation that will accept 20 entrepreneurs or representatives of the entrepreneurial environment over the next three years, with the key purpose of setting up long-lasting connections between Chicago and Slovenia”
–Executive Director of WorldChicago, Peggy Parfenoff
In early March 2016, CEED Slovenia partnered with WorldChicago organisation to host an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit. At this Summit entrepreneurs and business leaders discussed and exchanged experiences on how to build an innovative and entrepreneurial economy. Those from Chicago shared their insights about how things work in Chicago and The Slovenes identified their strengths and areas for improvement based on the Chicago examples.
During the first day of the two-day conference, the Chicagoans learned about the Slovenian business ecosystem and visited the Technology Park Ljubljana, Marg company, the co-working area Poligon, ABC business accelerator and CEED Slovenia. They also met with representatives of the University of Ljubljana and the GZS (Chamber of Commerce and Industry), members of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Slovenia) and members of the Ypsilon Institute. The second day was focused on knowledge exchange and the business people discussed topics like how to run the business you desire and not allow it to run you, how to reach a higher level of personal productivity, how to network and connect effectively and how to take advantage of the power of social networking. The conference was part of a wider program: WorldChicago Central European Economic Empowerment Fellowship, whose key partners are WorldChicago and CEED Slovenia.
Over the next three years, 60 entrepreneurs or representatives of the entrepreneurial environment will undergo a one-month practice in Chicago at start-up companies, public government agencies, university departments or non-profit organisations, all of which work in the Chicago techno-entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition, 30 experts from the Chicago techno-entrepreneurial ecosystem will visit Slovenia and other countries in South-Eastern Europe with the aim of a mutual exchange of experiences and practices between Chicago and the region in question. The aim of the project is to build strong, long-lasting relations and to develop cooperation projects that encourage the technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem and form new international business connections between Chicago and Slovenia.