Perhaps you would like to start up your own business, but you may not know where to start. Perhaps you are a foreigner without support or financial stability. Choosing the right bank regardless of whether you are a foreigner or someone who wants to start up a business is a crucial decision. You will need an efficient, business-friendly account provider to give you support and, preferably, generous loans, useful business tools and helpful advice. See how Slovenska sporitelna can help you to start your business.
If you are a foreigner residing in Slovakia, looking for financial support for your own business, you may take advantage of the benefits of the Program for starting entrepreneurs, which Slovenska sporitelna has been running since 2015. Within the program bank specialists give feedback to starting (with an existing company, max. one full tax year) and future entrepreneurs (no company registered yet) on their business plans, help them set a feasible cash flow plan, or teach them how to check their potential and existing suppliers and clients. In case of viable plans and shortage of own finances, starting entrepreneurs can receive an investment loan or an overdraft to implement their business plans on the market.
Slovenska sporitelna understands the challenges of starting up a new business. It has brought together a wealth of practical guidance and comprehensive guides to help you plan ahead and get off to the right start. We asked Tigran Aleksanyanin charge of the Program for starting entrepreneurs in Slovenska sporitelna, a couple of questions that you may be asking yourself right now:
- Do I need to demonstrate that I have some capital already available or is it ok to start even with zero capital?
The program supports various types of businesses and/or different fields, be it hardware/software, crafts, micro works, freelancing, or service providers such as gastro, health, sports etc. The bank requires the starting entrepreneurs to have their own capital depending mainly on:
– the experience and expertise of the core team
– the type of business
– the business stage of the business plan
– the testing results of the plan on a sample of future customers
– the existing customer base or signed contracts
– own finances (including nonfinancial contribution) that have been invested in the business plan
For example, freelancers with an existing client base who want to start their own microbusiness and need to set up their own office or buy a newsoftware for a few hundred or thousand euros will actually not be required to have a large amount of their own investments at their disposal. Neither will the entrepreneurs applying for an overdraft or a bridge loan to sustain their business until their invoices are paid. On the other hand, IT companies that are still developing a newsoftware without a minimum viable product would be required to use their own finances to finalize the product and test it on a few clients to have some relevant results.
- Can I spend the money that I get asa loan in every country or is it fixed to Slovakia?
The initial activities of starting entrepreneurs supported by our program should take place in Slovakia. However, once the company has verified partners abroad with signed contracts, the finances provided by Slovenska sporitelna can also be used to go beyond the Slovak market.
- Do I need to have fixed income/real-estate to get a loan?
This depends on the development stage of the business. Bank specialists consider the corporate/business cash flow and the individual’s/family budget. So if the business is not going to generate enough profit in the first few months, the clients are required to prove how they will cover their family expenditures as well as their monthly company loss.As for the real estates, the bank considers this kind of property only as a secondary return tool. It means that the bank will ask if the loan provided to the company is going to be repaid primarily by revenues generated by the business. If the starting entrepreneur can secure the loan with a real estate, the bank can reduce the interest rate of the loan up to 4% annually.
- I am a non-EU national, what are the differences?
Only Slovak companies and self-employed entrepreneurs registered in Slovakia can participate in this program=. Except for company owners who are Slovak or Czech nationals, the bank requires applicants with any other citizenship to have a core team member of Slovak nationality to co-sign the loan. The reason for this condition is simple– the loan application form and all contractual documentation is in Slovak, and naturally, the applicants should understand what they are signing. Besides, if the company is not able to pay the loan, we would request the foreigner and the Slovak person to pay the loan as natural persons.
- Are these loans purpose-based? I mean, can I spend the funds on both services and products? Are there any limitations? For example, could I usethe loan to pay the yearly rent of EUR 15,000 formy business premises?
There are certain limitations for the loan applicant to be aware of. There are some areas that are excluded from financing, such as gambling or weapons. The applicant has up to 6 months to make use of the investment loan and the loan is, in fact, purpose-based, which means the bank knows in advance (thanks to the business plan) what the starting entrepreneur needs the finances for. If the contract with the landlord requires a one-time payment of the yearly rent and there is no other way to proceed, naturally, the bank can also pay the rent in full. As for the overdraft, clients are free to use it for operational purposes whenever and however they need.
- If I die, how will the loan be repaid?
Since Slovak nationals also sign to the co-ownership of the loan, their commitments pass over to them and/or their heirs.
- Can I repay a loan earlier?
Yes, in fact, there are no additional charges for an early full or partial repayment of the loan.
- What should I do if I can’t make my repayments?
A very good question. There are a few scenarios that might happen. If it is impossible to keep up the business, the loan may be repaid by a consumer loan. If entrepreneurs want to re-boost their business, they can ask the bank to adjust their repayment schedule, or increase the loan or turn to mentors and social networks to gain some valuable support and contacts to increase their sales.
- Can I get a loan if I’m unemployed?
Yes ☺. We also cooperate with labour offices and combine the state support programs with our loans to finance business activities.
How does the application process work?
The applicant fills in the contact form available at www.zacinamepodnikat.sk. The specialist in charge of the region where the applicants are based contacts them, gives them basic information about the program, explaining how it works, and provides them with a business plan to be filled in. They later meet to discuss the details of the business plan, or even to prepare and finalize it. After the specialist validates the application, the loan application is sent for approval. In some cases the starting entrepreneur is asked to take part in the evaluation committee meeting to address the issues raised by committee members. In case of approval, the client can open a Business account in the bank (which is free of charge for the first 12 months, starting the day when the company was established) and the loan contracts can be signed.
All businesses start with that light bulb moment – when you come up with an idea that you know you can turn into a successful business. Let Slovenska sporitelna help you take your idea forward. The first few steps can be bumpy, but people in SLSP understand the difficulties and challenges that new businesses in Slovakia must face. You want to take your idea forward and pursue its potential.