Innovations in Slovakia: What do we need to change to catch up with the world?

At KInIT, we care about the future of Slovakia in the digital age, which is why we are part of the initiative called “Za inovatívne Slovensko” (For Innovative Slovakia). More than 50 Slovak companies and organizations have joined forces in this campaign to bring the innovation ecosystem in Slovakia to the next level. The primary goal is to create an environment where innovative technology companies can thrive.

Unfortunately, Slovakia has neglected the preparation for the digital age. We have long focused on the manufacturing industry and the technological infrastructure is insufficient. If Slovakia is to remain competitive in the present and in the future, it is time to take action. We need a new economic model based on science, innovation and the creation of high added value. As a matter of priority, we must deal with the current brain drain situation in Slovakia that mainly concerns the young talented people. We do believe that Slovakia is capable of creating attractive job opportunities for the most skilled talents.

Za inovatívne Slovensko” (For Innovative Slovakia) proposes legislative and regulatory changes that will also be helpful in the transformation of more traditional industries. Among the proposed changes, there are measures which are supposed to attract and retain workforce, support research and development, streamline and speed up bureaucratic processes or develop an innovative ecosystem. Increasing public-private partnerships will also be crucial.

Specific proposals to improve the situation include, for example, facilitating the acquisition of startup visas for non-EU citizens, electronic document signing, strengthening the development of business skills at all levels of education, state support for incubation and acceleration programs and changes to support research and development. More information on the proposed measures can be found on this website.

The ambassadors of the campaign are Marián Porvažník (Vacuum Group), Michal Kardoš (SAPIE), Peter Kolesár (Civitta), Matej Ftáčnik (Vacuumlabs) and Mária Bieliková, a KInIT representative. . 

Mária Bieliková about the campaign:

“Focusing on innovation is critical for a country like Slovakia. And innovation needs strong research. We see the countries around Slovakia being ahead of us because they manage to carry out projects with high added value and have a well-connected academic sector with everyday business life. We also see how skilled people are leaving the country and innovations are almost impossible without them.

Despite all the problems, we see great enthusiasm for transformation at various levels and great support for change in the Slovak public sector.

We need quick solutions in the form of facilitating access and employment for experts from abroad and enabling equal conditions for the employment of researchers in non-public non-profit research organizations.
However, we must also consider the long-term perspective, especially by creating the conditions for linking all sectors with research, particularly to increase the involvement of the private sector in research. For such a change, we must not be afraid of the different forms and types of organizations as it is common in many other countries. In this context, state aid for research and development should not be linked to a specific legal form, but to the activity carried out by the organization and the results it achieves.”

You can also watch this video where Marián Porvažník explains how the initiative’s come to life and what should its result be: