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The second edition of the Future 4.0 conference, aimed at connecting start-ups and corporations in any way connected with the 4.0 industry, exceeded all the organizers’ expectations. The event in Velenje, in the old Gorenje warehouse, was attended by over 300 participants from all sorts of start-ups and industrial corporations, along with more than 20 established international speakers. The conference attendees came to Velenje from Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, B-H, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and Slovenia and sought out collaboration opportunities at more than 130 pre-scheduled One2One meetings.

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As Karla Sitar, director of SAŠA incubator, the main organizer of the event, commented at the meeting with journalists that the formula of “mixing the blood” of the old established industry and young breakthrough start-ups proved to be correct, as it can provide excellent results in developing new high-tech solutions and their breakthrough into global markets.

The key players for the restructuring of the coal region

Peter Dermol, the deputy mayor of Velenje, believes that connecting start-ups with corporations is a win-win formula and is extremely pleased that at an event like Future 4.0 it is possible to gain insight into the futuristic dimensions of the industry and learn about all state-of-the-art technologies and good practices in one place. “The municipality of Velenje is a co-owner of the SAŠA incubator, which wasn’t easy to justify to the locals, but the decision has proven as the right one at the conference, as more than 50 new companies have emerged from the incubator, together creating more than 70 new jobs. At the same time, it is a community of young people with great new ideas, that can play an important role in transforming our coal region” explained Dermol.

A community with hidden start-up gems

Mateja Lavrič, director of Kolektor Ventures, explained that finding suitable start-ups for industrial environments is a difficult task since not many attend general start-up events. Future 4.0 helps solve the very pressing problem of finding the partners to develop breakthroughs for smart factories of the future, while also building a community, where one often comes across a start-up gem that would otherwise go unnoticed. The representative of Gorenje and GZS, Blaž Nardin, added that events such as Future 4.0 are important in that they bring new knowledge, which can help corporations remain competitive in the future.

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