Supporting or building vibrant communities of innovators and entrepreneurs is a crucial component of the process. If well supported and nurtured, sector-specific innovation communities can drive our regional economies’ growth, competitiveness, and attractiveness.
Sector-specific communities of entrepreneurs can help retain and attract talent, create meaningful linkages between startups, corporates, and universities, or make the regional R&D base more attractive and investable. They can also facilitate more tailor-made support for early-stage entrepreneurs by aggregating valuable sector-specific knowledge, streamlining growth opportunities, and engaging the local or regional economies.
The automotive factories located in Slovakia are among the most advanced production facilities globally. This constitutes a window of opportunity for Slovak tech companies to offer solutions, further improving the manufacturing processes, especially regarding the ongoing adoption of fully automated and digitalized production solutions. The broader changes in the automotive and mobility sectors offer other opportunities for diversification. Also, efforts to achieve carbon neutrality push car producers to adopt new ecological types of vehicle propulsion.
To capitalize on these opportunities, a complex sectoral collaboration is needed among foreign multinationals, Slovak startups, and the R&D ecosystem. Achieving such collaboration could be formed around innovation & mobility labs that connect traditional stakeholders currently grouped in the Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic, smaller specialized clusters with startups and entrepreneurs, and the university R&D environment. With much of the automotive industry located in Western Slovakia, building such mobility labs should be more than feasible.
Automotive manufacturing has gradually matured into a dominant segment of Slovakia’s industrial production and export. Over the past decade, the number of cars manufactured in Slovakia increased fivefold and is expected to grow steadily to 1.35 million cars produced in 2020. The industry is employing over 277,000 people and is the most important employer of the Slovak economy. Unlike any other industry, the automotive offers Slovakia an unprecedented opportunity to become a technology champion in such a massive and global market.
- JLR Innovation Lab
- The Slovak University of Technology
- Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO)
- The Ministry of investment, regional development, and informatization of the Slovak Republic (MIRRI)
- Bratislavská integrovaná doprava (BID)
- Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic (AIA SR)
- Industry Innovation Cluster (IIC)
The urgency of challenges Slovakia faces as a country creates room for innovative technologies to improve the health outcomes of Slovak patients and increase the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment for healthcare providers. The real opportunity will be to create a favorable environment for developing, validating, and commercializing innovative healthcare products and services in the highly regulated healthcare market.
Examples of healthcare innovation clusters from other countries illustrate that these clusters usually emerge around knowledge centers that create added value for patients, focus on unmet medical needs, and attract key local private stakeholders.
According to the European Commission, Heart disease and stroke account for 30-35% of all deaths in Slovakia, followed by lung and colorectal cancer. The current healthcare system is already strained due to inherent inefficiencies and administrative burdens. Moreover, The Slovak Medical Chamber indicates that the system may face a severe shortage of trained workers in 10 years if significant educational reforms are not implemented. By 2030, Slovak healthcare could be short as many as 3000 doctors and 9900 nurses to meet patient needs.
An aging population will exacerbate the problem in the upcoming decade. The number of people aged 65+ is projected to increase from 16% to 21% by 2030 (Infostat). Such demographic changes will put much pressure on the healthcare system and increase overall expenditure since elderly patients require more frequent medical attention and have a higher incidence of more severe diagnoses, including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and cancer.
- The University of Zilina
- Jesseinus Faculty of Medicine in Martin, Comenius University
- Institute for Research and Development at the Ministry of Health
- Siemens Healthineers
- Biohub SK
- Roche Slovakia
- STEMI Global
- Powerful Medical
Digital & Creative
Creative and cultural industries present an opportunity to strengthen and expand the local economy for three main reasons: First, the City of Košice was the European Capital of Culture in 2013, and large investments of over 70 million EUR were made into cultural and creative infrastructure. Second, a strong push to develop the creative industry by CIKE as a public organization is complemented by the emerging gaming cluster and design community. And third, the local creative community benefits from the active Faculty of Arts of the Technical University of Košice with its prominent Department of Fine Arts and Intermedia.
The 2019 OECD Economic Survey on Slovakia shows that more than 60% of jobs are at risk of automation, which is the highest number of all EU countries. Košice region has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the country (8.11%), and, according to OECD, new jobs in East Slovakia are predominantly created in occupations with a high risk of automation, hence fundamentally more unstable. The dominant sectors in the local area are undergoing structural changes and are already showing signs of a slowdown. US Steel, the largest employer in Košice, plans to lay off 25% of its workers by 2021.
- Creative Industry Košice (CIKE)
- IT Valley
- Game Dev Košice
- Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia
- Východné pobrežie
- Technical University of Košice (TUKE)
- ANTIK Telecom
- Games Farm
- East Works
- Inlogic Software
The global financial sector is undergoing a significant transformation. The industry that was traditionally known as an oligopoly of just a few companies has been challenged by newcomers aiming to disrupt them. Regulators, especially in the EU, supported the sector’s transformation with new legislation that eases market entry barriers. Yet, bringing real innovation into the financial world remains a daunting challenge that very few can do alone.
Slovakia is internationally perceived as a rapid adopter of fintech solutions on several fronts. In comparison to other EU countries, Slovakia ranked above average in contactless payments (in 2014, it was 64% in Slovakia vs. an average of 15% across the EU), and almost 85 % of Slovakia’s population has an account in a financial institution. We are recognized as a good testing ground for new financial solutions, and many banks frequently use Slovakia’s competitive environment to test or pilot experimental projects on a smaller scale.
The fintech community in Slovakia benefits greatly from the level of effort and enthusiasm of its members. Slovakia has a strong potential to turn the fintech ecosystem into a real driver of economic growth. However, achieving that vision requires a unified and substantial commitment from multiple stakeholders.
- Národná banka Slovenska (NBS)
- Tatra Banka
- Booster Lab
- EIT Digital
- Slovak Technical University (STU)
- Slovak Banking Association
- Slovak Fintech Association
- Elevator Lab
- Zlty melon
- Papaya Pos
Greentech & Sustainability
Compared to other innovation communities, the success of stakeholders addressing rising urban challenges naturally depends on the fixed physical and institutional framework of a particular city or a region. Cities and their institutions can remain conservative and reactive to other actors or become pro-active coordinators of urban activists, innovators, or entrepreneurs. The latter approach can result in a more self-aware, organized, and goal-unified grouping of stakeholders who jointly resolve urban challenges.
With the progressing climate change, Bratislava will find itself in a subtropical climate suffering from extreme weather occurrences while struggling to accommodate a growing and aging population and the need to develop new economic avenues. All cities will be pushed into climate change mitigation measures like decreasing emissions using alternative energy sources, offering new mobility options, smart waste management, planning public spaces, and building energy efficiency.
After the 2018 municipal elections, the new administration of Bratislava is moving towards a very active role, setting several guiding principles manifested through new municipal institutions. Innovation-related activities were given more attention through the formation of a new role of Chief Innovation Officer. Participatory planning became the primary agenda of a newly established Metropolitan Institute, and data became the domain of the Data Analytics and Policy Department.
- Municipal Companies
- Metropolitný inštitút Bratislavy
- Bratislavský samosprávny kraj
- HB Reavis
- Nová Cvernovka
- Slovak Academy of Sciences
- Slovenská rada pre zelené budovy
- Manifest 2020
- Inštitút urbánneho rozvoja
- BROZ – Bratislavské regionálne ochranárske združenie
- Chcem smart mesto
- Proptech Slovakia
- Circular Slovakia
- Nice Visions
- GA Drilling