The story of Podim began in 1980, when it was established to support the innovative potential of employees in successful companies in Maribor and Slovenia. The conference, organized in Maribor by various stakeholders as an event celebrating Innovators’ Day, answered the need to achieve more organized collaboration and exchange of innovators’ experience and to boost innovation. In the years that followed, the conference outgrew the borders of Slovenia as an important crossroads of innovators in former Yugoslavia (Western Balkans). Božidar Hribernik, Magda Tovornik, and Matjaž Mulej, together with their colleagues, were the main force of evolution in that period. With the breakup of Yugoslavia and the economic crisis that has followed, the interest in Podim was diminished. In 2001, Miroslav Rebernik and Matej Rus, the co-founders of institute Tovarna podjemov (Venture Factory), took over the conference and gave its program a general make-over. In the last decade, with Urban Lapajne joining the team and all relevant members of the regional startup ecosystem, especially entrepreneurs, giving their support to the conference, Podim has become the most important gateway from & to the region for startups & scaleups, investors and business executives, who come to Podim to make new business deals and learn from the best international speakers.
Cooperation between research organizations and business brings good results, which is also confirmed by the experience of the Consortium for Technology Transfer from Public Research Organizations to the