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As part of the 7th Investment and Development Conference Slovenia Business Bridge™: “Believe in Business – Crossroads of Opportunities”, an AmCham Business Breakfast entitled “Legacy & Innovation: Unveiling the Importance of Family Businesses in Slovenia” was held on September 22. Ivo Boscarol, founder, co-owner & chairman emeritus, Pipistrel; Matjaž Han, Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport; Dr. Stjepan Orešković, principal investor, M+Grupa; Nuša Pavlinjek, managing director, Roto Group; Jure Podkrižnik, MSc, executive director, Podkriznik Group; Jure Remškar, chief financial & operations officer, Smart Com and Klemen Šešok, industrialist/real estate developer/sustainability advocate, Iskra and Ajša Vodnik, MSc, CEO, AmCham Slovenia, vice president, AmChams in Europe all took part in the AmCham Business Breakfast titled “Legacy and Innovation: Unveiling the Importance of Family Businesses in Slovenia.”


Slovenia Business Bridge™ is an investment and business development conference designed to present investment and business opportunities in Slovenia to foreign investors and highlight specific opportunities for Slovenian companies in the USA and other foreign markets. The biennial conference brings together the business world, investors, government representatives, and the diplomatic corps.

Family businesses account for 83% of all Slovenian enterprises, employ 70% of the active population, and contribute 67% of value-added, said Matjaž Han, who stressed the importance of solidarity and family businesses, which are the carriers of tradition and innovation. “Today, the importance of our constant efforts is seen in a completely different light. As a country, we have experienced a natural disaster that has reminded us of the importance of solidarity. Fortunately, despite our businesses’ difficulties, most of them are running smoothly. We have taken measures to help the companies affected …  The fact is that water has changed the course of many lives. But it is businesses that have been hit hardest.” Dr. Stjepan Orešković began by saying: “Without science, there is no viable business. Without business, there is no serious science.” He went on stressing the importance of community, laying the foundation for a discussion on the strength of relationships and the extraordinary people Slovenia has. On community power, successful entrepreneur Ivo Boscarol added: “Nothing, especially great stories, can be done without the help of workers, without contributions from the municipality, etc. It is nice to give back to the community.”

The event also touched on the handover of family businesses to the next generation. “Only one in seven businesses survive after being handed over to the third generation. This is a key point where the state must take on the partner role and provide the support needed for a successful succession. We know that successful family business succession preserves jobs,” said Matjaž Han. The Ministry is taking various measures in this area. Jure Podkrižnik shared his views: “I believe that every company has its legacy … I see a lot of companies where the second or third generation have not been involved in the business before and therefore do not have the same respect from the employees.”

Jure Podkrižnik had an entrepreneurial mindset from a young age and a burning desire for business. He shared his experience attending meetings and giving business advice with his father, saying, “They saw me doing all sorts of things, from cleaning the building to generating new ideas. I gained their trust; they respected me and saw me as a leader.” He added: “We always try to show how passionate we are because business is about trust!”

Jure Remškar said that family businesses brought value to society in many ways and emphasized the importance of coming together for the common good in society and the business environment. “We need to join forces to improve – whether in the family or the community.”