Development agency Sotla (RA Sotla), Slovenia. Development agency is an institution which performs public services for a number of municipalities in the South-Eastern part of Slovenia (by the Croatian border). With professional knowledge we support local initiatives, ideas, take care of heritage and regional development.
Main work areas for Development Agency Sotla: rural development, development of small and medium enterprises, tourism development, working with youth, preservation of natural and cultural heritage, preservation of the environment and human resources. Part of our work is also performing economic activities on the market – creating DIIPs (identification document of project investment), tender application consulting etc. We have experience as a lead partner and as a partner in domestic and international projects (LEADER, Interreg V-A Slovenia-Croatia, Erasmus+, EU for citizens etc.).
The projects vary from tourism, ecology and communal projects to rural development and the establishment of partnerships with numerous Slovene and international public or private organizations. We provide recognizable and quality projects in our region and the necessary information for their efficient implementation in our everyday life.
Development agency Sotla is also manager of Local Action Group for rural development – CLLD / LEADER Approach (2007-2013 and 2014-2020). From 2008 on, beneficiaries from the aforementioned municipalities can draw funds for rural development, stemming from the LEADER programme for rural development. Local Action Groups (LAGs) are made up of public and private partners from the rural territory and include representatives from different socio-economic sectors. The European Union Regulation for the local management of rural development programmes provides them.
Primary aim of the company is to promote the local development process with the active participation of private, public sector, and civil society of the area as well.
In the field of regional development, RA Sotla is one of the partner of the joint Networking Development Network in Savinjska region, which is officially registered at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.
RA Sotla is within the framework of state support services for business entities, part of a new national service called SPOT, which was launched in spring 2018. With that, the former VEM offices were renamed in SPOT offices (hereinafter SPOT (VEM) offices). The SPOT system – the Slovenian Business Point combines four levels – RA Sotla works in two levels: SPOT Registration – electronic processes with the help of consultants, which is the second level of the SPOT system are the physical »registration« points for supporting business entities. On these points, the user can perform procedures on the SPOT portal with the help of a consultant. In addition, on SPOT Consulting – Business consulting and regional integration. That is the third level of the SPOT system represents 12 regional (on for each statistical region) consulting points. Their purpose is to provide expert assistance in various fields such as counselling, workshops organization, training, exchange of good practices, regional integration, co-creation of supportive environment for business subjects, etc. What the third level of the SPOT systems offers is a significantly wider range of services that help potential/future entrepreneurs to raise market competitiveness.
ERASMUS+ Until present time, RA Sotla has finished 3 Erasmus 3+ projects (Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices), and they have 2 new approved in the last call in 2020. RA Sotla has staff members with a solid training background about cultural integration, entrepreneurship, rural and regional development, tourism, Participatory democracy, European citizenship, environment, bio-diversity, European rural policies, youth participation in remote areas. Their expertise is also in the fields of organization and management of local and international activities based on formal, non-formal and informal learning methods, such as: seminars and conferences, training courses for trainers on Project Management and Implementation of Initiatives about social inclusion with non-formal and informal learning methodologies, study visits, workshops about re-use of recycled materials and other environmental topics.
Development Agency Sotla is working with its partners who are willing to contribute to development of the local environment and the entire area, motivates them to solve problems together, set priorities in the area, search for development potentials and guides them to realization of set goals.