The Titans of Tomorrow: Scale-up Study for Slovakia published by SAPIE

This scale-up study is the first of its kind in Slovakia and provides an insight into the world of fast-growing companies through the most successful Internet companies based in Slovakia. The existing data across the world suggest that a small number of high-growth firms may generate significant social and economic benefits. One company that grows to 100 employees in five years can better serve its stakeholders (employees, shareholders, and government) than 50 stagnating. Scale-up companies have not only become leaders in their areas but also a significant proof of globally successful Slovak businesses. There are 10871 companies founded between 2000-2016 that are active in the field of the Internet Economy and 253 of them are considered scale-ups based on the OECD definition used in this report.  In 2013, 253 scale-ups in the Internet economy generated 1% of turnover of all active companies in Slovakia.

The recipe of a successful scale-up has many ingredients. Based on international research and interviews conducted with successful Slovak scale-ups, there are three key factors: experienced entrepreneurship and leadership capacity (entrepreneurial spirit and ability to inspire others), timing, and ability to scale.

Key Conclusions:

  1. Scale-ups lack experienced business people with international exposure who can drive their companies’ growth forward. Even the most promising scale-ups understand the lack of skilled employees in the labour market.

  2. There are no strong links between scale-up companies and universities in Slovakia which can help students  choose study programs, learn the latest industry trends and have hands-on business experience.

  3. High-growth firms need  to develop leadership skills and business education programs to help them scale.

  4. A strong brand and company culture are drivers for growth and attracting talent.

  5. Business processes in play are important to be able to effectively scale. At some point every scale-up need to automate and professionalise its structure.

  6. Experts and consultants from abroad can help to setup the company for growth including complex processes in HR management, organisational structure, internal communication, culture and other crucial processes.

  7. Legislation and business environment can hamper or encourage growth, incentivise hiring and export activity of scale-ups.

A list of recommendations includes:

  • Lowering overall bureaucratic burden for the fast-growing firms

  • Provision of growth capital

  • Activating talent

  • Growing globally

  • Powering Innovation

  • Three golden rules: Monitor, Measure, Evaluate

Adela Zábražná
Executive Manager
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