Professor | Entrepreneur | Consultant
I am a professor of Entrepreneurship and Head of the entrepreneurship Department at UP, Faculty of Management, Slovenia. My expertise is in entrepreneurship, internationalization, innovation, design thinking and marketing. Specifically, I’m an expert related to international entrepreneurship, early stage company development, innovation management, startup branding and energy efficiency & optimization.
I have finished my education and studies at the Faculty of Economics, UL (Slovenia) and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland). Prior my academic career, I was first an entrepreneur and I worked in different marketing positions in health insurance, and lastly as Deputy General Manager of ARC d.o.o., a medium-sized company in distribution and wholesale of Fast Moving Consumer Goods.
I’m/was a Visiting Professor at Griffith University (Australia), BI in Oslo (Norway), Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences (Austria) and University of Rijeka (Croatia). I hold a European Energy Manager Certificate and I am also partner of a fast growing startup Amibit, operating in the IT & energy sector.
My research efforts have resulted in several published scientific papers, conference contributions, scientific monographs and practical oriented books. I am very active in applied research, where I have led or cooperated in a variety of research and consulting projects, both national (basic research projects) and international (Cross boarder territorial cooperation projects, Central EU projects, H2020 projects), often as project leader, the recent one Nuvolak2.
I dedicate my free time to family and several hobbies (running, cycling, skiing and fishing). I speak English, Italian and German fluently. My excellence in scientific work, entrepreneurial thinking style, working experiences in practice, international cooperation and interdisciplinary working areas, are the attributes that appear in my multilevel working activities and result in my mission of connecting science with business.
Principals of Entrepreneurship
Brand development for startups
I taught various courses at different universities, sometimes giving just as guest lecture on certain topics. My preferred topics include; SME internationalization, Entrepreneurship (R)evolution, design thinking, new business models in energy management and startup branding.
Some of my published books include:
Marketing for Entrepreneurs and SMEs (Edward Elgar Publishers), co-authored with Robert D. Hisrich and Maja Konecnik Ruzzier and, Startup Branding Funnel , co-authored with Maja Konecnik Ruzzier. The latter, coined as “SBFUNNEL”, combines an interdisciplinary approach of marketing and entrepreneurship by proposing a new approach for developing new startup companies as startup brands. The SBFUNNEL approach was also the theoretical base of the Interreg Italia- Slovenia project NUVOLAK2.
I am especially proud of published article "SME Internationalization Research: Past, Present, and Future” developed out of my doctoral research, which was awarded with the “Emerald Literati Network 2007 Outstanding Paper Award” for scientific excellence, published 2006 in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 13(4), 476 – 497 and co-authored with Hisrich, R.D. and Antoncic, B. The article has had an outstanding recognition with over 1000 of citations (by Google Scholar, December 2019) and is being used as seminal work in many courses of international entrepreneurship and SME internationalization around the world. For more information about my research, visit these websites.
SICRIS | Google Scholar | ResearchGate
I also hold different workshops related to innovation management and design thinking.
My consulting areas include strategic management, company transformations, startup and big company’s cooperation and innovation management.
- 4 basic research projects (The meaning of the human and social capital for innovativeness and internationalization of Slovenian SMEs, Personal characteristics of the entrepreneurs, establishment and growth of Slovenian enterprises, The influence of network characteristics of entrepreneurs and managers on business results in Slovenia; Personality and sociological background of entrepreneurs and start-ups, internationalization and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises - team member).
- 4 target research projects (The system of self-employment for Slovenian soldiers, who leave the army, Deregulation of professions – between public interest and competitiveness, Analysis and suggestions for facilitation and higher efficiency of science in Slovenia, Diversity management in Slovenian companies; team member)
- 1 research programme (Management of education and employment in knowledge society; team member)
- 1 postdoc project (The role of human capital in innovativeness, growth, development and internationalization of Slovenian SMEs; principal investigator)
- 2 bilateral cooperation projects SLO-USA; principal investigator
- CEBBIS (Central Europe territorial cooperation project, 2010 -2012, project member) CEBBIS- Central Europe Branch Based Innovation Support is a network of 11 partners from the Central European region with a common interest in trans-regional, branch based, demand-led solutions to improve technology transfer to SMEs.
- Nuvolak (Slovenian Italian territorial cooperation program, 9/2012-12/2014, principal investigator) The bilingual entrepreneurial internet platform is an upgrade of the successful Slovenian web-based platform MIKROBIZ.net
- ClusterPoliSEE (South East Europe transnational cooperation project, 9 /2012 - 9 / 2014, project member) - Smarter Cluster Policies for South East Europe focused on enhancing the capacity of regional policy makers to confront, prevent and anticipate change, developing smart specialization strategies for cluster improvement, thus accelerating differentiation and structural change towards a knowledge-based economy in which there is a place for all SEE regions to position themselves.
- CASI (FP7 Program, 1/2014 - 6/2017, project member) – project focused on developing a methodological framework for assessing sustainable innovation and managing multi-disciplinary solutions through wider public engagement in the RTDI system by ensuring the commitment of a broad spectrum of societal stakeholders into its implementation, including industry, policy-makers, research organizations and academia, civil society organizations and the general public.
- Nuvolak2 (Interreg Slovenia-Italia - 9/2017-6/2020, principal investigator). Upgrade of project Nuvolak, focused on development, introduction, and dissemination of innovative marketing tools with on-line support of the Mikrobiz platform, in order to increase the innovation level of start-ups and SMEs in an international and multicultural environment, as well as the development of marketing skills, cross-border cooperation, and networking among the main actors in the field of innovation.
Professor of entrepreneurship
Faculty of Management,
University of Primorska