NUVOLAK2: The Art of Pitching, Teamwork as Key to Success, and Opportunities for Young People



Innotalks are enabled by the Nuvolak project, co-financed under the Interreg Italy-Slovenia 2014-2020 program from the European Regional Development Fund, to promote innovation, sustainability, and cross-border governance in order to create a more competitive and integrated life-friendly environment.


Any good pitch means that when preparing for it, a lot of attention was given to making sure that the other side, i.e. the audience, would understand the person delivering it, said the CEO of ABC Accelerator, Bernard Grum, in mid-November when speaking to students of the Faculty of Management, University of Primorska, Slovenia. According to Grum, the average start-up delivers as many as hundred pitches before it is well-trained. “Once a start-up has given a hundred pitches, it can do it confidently, once it has delivered three hundred, this is when it really masters the art,” he said. – Read also about the opportunities currently provided by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.


Bernard Grum: “The pitch is a costly, but potentially powerful tool”


Bernard Grum; FOTO: Siniša Kanižaj / ABC pospeševalnik

“When people see how much effort a good pitch takes, they usually start to consider hiring somebody to do the job. But this is when one should also consider the position of the candidate within the company: if the person ultimately delivering the pitch is not credible – this is often the case with start-ups – nobody will want to invest,” said Grum, adding that teamwork is key to success in start-ups. And the team leader should be credible.

When giving a pitch, one should avoid “creating barriers between themselves and the people they are pitching to”, continued Bernard Grum. For a start-up, pitching its business is essential as a very good way of defining its vision – at the same time, the market must support this vision. “A pitch is a start-up’s business plan, and no good pitch is possible without first-rate substance.” On the other hand, as Grum admits, many start-ups still manage to win investors over on a good team.

Alenka Žumbar Klopčič; FOTO: Siniša Kanižaj / ABC pospeševalnik


Use the opportunities provided by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology!

Innovative ideas and innovation are the among the key drivers of progress in the society. Within the EU, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) supports them by bringing together the leading players in higher education, research and business for collaboration that results in dynamic, cross-border communities – communities of knowledge and innovation. And these include EIT Digital and InnoEnergy.

Needless to say, many opportunities are available out there for young people and students, in terms of coaching as well as product development and funding, said Špela Jovanovič Gaberšek, who manages ABC Accelerator’s activities that are part of its partnership with EIT Digital, and Alenka Žumbar Klopčič, who works on activities that the accelerator – InnoEnergy’s local hub in Slovenia – runs in relation to InnoEnergy’s projects.


Špela Jovanovič Gaberšek; FOTO: Siniša Kanižaj / ABC pospeševalnik

Jovanovič Gaberšek strongly recommended young people to use the network that the EIT has to offer: for companies and organisations, as well as for individuals, being part of such a support system is a highway to reaching their development and business goals. Meanwhile, Žumbar Klopčič invited them to take part in PRIMER, InnoEnergy’s pre-acceleration programme for early-stage start-ups, which also welcomes individuals who want to test their entrepreneurial ideas.

The main goal of the programme – which is free-of-charge – is to get innovators to hone their entrepreneurial skills and prepare their businesses to enter acceleration and investment programmes. It also aims to teach participants how to choose the right business models and adapt them, how to raise funds, and how to develop marketing and sales strategies. In addition, the programme features training in soft skills, which includes leadership skills and team management.



Inno is a result of the Nuvolak2 project and co-financed by the Interreg V-A Italy-Slovenia Cooperation Programme.