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The business delegation to Colorado took place between May 18 and 22, 2015

The American Chamber of Commerce-AmCham Slovenia and the Public Agency Spirit Slovenia in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, D.C. organized, for the second consecutive year, a business delegation for breakthrough Slovenian companies to the U.S., with an intensive program that focused on concrete business cooperation.

Biotechnology, engineering, defense and space industries are sectors in the state of Colorado, which represent great development opportunities for Slovenian companies as well. In addition to the intense planned business networking, the business delegation also visited the University of Colorado, where their host, with Slovenian roots, was Ronald M. Sega, the dean of systems engineering and a former astronaut. At the University of Colorado, the delegation was joined by the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the U.S., H.E. dr. Božo Cerar and greeted by Lucky Vidmar, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia in Colorado, who is strongly linked to the active Slovenian community in Colorado.

The business delegation to Colorado took place between May 18 and 22, 2015 and was supported by Spirit Slovenia and the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, D.C.

A delegation of Slovenian businesses with more than 500 participants from 14 countries attended the World Trade Day event in Denver, on May 19, 2015, the most important international business meeting in Denver, and took advantage of this excellent opportunity for business meetings and networking. Last year, the state of Colorado received an award for the fastest growing business environment in the U.S. (source: Business Insider 2014) and recognition as one of the most business-friendly environments for business and innovation. (Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2014) World Trade Day 2015, organized by the World Trade Center Denver, is therefore an important platform for networking and business connections.

“Slovenia and the State of Colorado are connected by a strong friendship, based not only on economic cooperation but also on professional cooperation between the National Guard and the Slovenian Armed Forces”, emphasized dr. Božo Cerar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the U.S. He further added: “I am happy that the organizer, World Trade Center Denver, recognized the potential of economic cooperation, as the Slovenian delegation received a great deal of attention among the 14 participating countries. The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia strongly encourages and supports economic cooperation initiatives and activities between the U.S. and Slovenia. We are at the same time, together with the businesses themselves, using networking opportunities such as this one to try and achieve tangible results, valuable business contacts and successful business stories.”

Upon arriving to Denver, the Slovenian delegation was greeted by Lucky Vidmar, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia in Colorado. Members of the Slovene community and friends of Slovenia joined the reception organized by the Honorary Consul, with guests including Major General H. Michael Edwards and dr. Ronald M. Sega. Dr. Sega also addressed the business delegation at the State University of Colorado in Fort Collins and together with his team presented the best practices, methodology and work on integrated projects, in which academic and industry knowledge is united.

The State University of Colorado is one of the Universities with the lowest government funding for its projects. Nevertheless, through a systematic and a structured approach and business connections, the University allocates $300 million for applied research each year – directly for projects which include the industry. The University is, with its 30.000 students and 55 departments per year, smaller than the University of Ljubljana, and for the third time in a row received the platinum rating for its comprehensive sustainability efforts, which are successfully transferred into industry-cooperation projects.

“The role of educational and academic institutions is changing, therefore the university and its teams must focus of public-private partnership projects, which enable the growth of both partners – academic growth and development for the University and market success for businesses,” emphasized Mark Wdowik, vice president of the University, responsible for research and development. He further added: “Within our university, we have an Industry Partnership Council – IPC, which is responsible for all business connections and projects. In 2014, we implemented 63 such projects and the result was: 122 innovations created, 160 patent applications realized and 41 licenses received. We also performed a number of educational activities for the industry and with the help of the business incubator, which operates within the University, we created 5 start – ups and provided them with initial sources of financing.”

At the end of the visit to the University, dr. Cerar pointed out: “”Science and scientific cooperation between Slovenia and the U.S. is an excellent opportunity for Slovenia. Through visits such as this one, which give an insight into the most successful universities in this field, the industry can acquire the principles, best practices and views that encourage them to proactively engage in similar cooperation in their home environment.”

The business delegation also met with the local chamber of commerce and discussed possibilities and opportunities for connection offered by the Colorado business environment, which projects and local businesses are highly focused on sustainable economy (social, environmental and business sustainability).

Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, the local partner to the business delegation, organized a business lunch in Collin Springs, followed by a reception and B2B meetings for Slovenian companies. In the evening, LnB Connectors organized a moderated presentation of all delegation members, followed by an informal gathering. The interesting evening, presentations of the delegation members, and meetings with local businessmen, were moderated by Mike Schmidt, Ensemble Ventures. Representatives of each company within our delegation briefly introduced themselves, followed by a Q&A from the audience. Mike Schmidt is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor and driver of the Pikes Maker’s Place initiative. The creative atmosphere and the concept of the Maker’s Place initiative impressed the businessmen, as the incubator represents a space for artists, engineers, innovators and other creators to meet and network. Our delegation concluded the evening with a friendly, informal gathering with the creators and entrepreneurs of the Maker’s Place initiative.

This is how the delegation, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce-AmCham Slovenia and Spirit Slovenia, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, D.C., concluded its visit to the state of Colorado.

Like last year, this year’s visit to the U.S. again showed the numerous options and market opportunities for Slovenian companies in the U.S. market.

Participants’ impressions:

»What I find extremely valuable are the contacts, intensive B2B meetings and informal gatherings. We got a truly good insight into the challenging U.S. business environment,” said Aleš Avbreht from the Avbreht, Zajc and Partners Law Firm, who participated in the business delegation.

“We are pleased that Slovenian entrepreneurs visited Colorado and efficiently and competently presented themselves to the business community here. We observed an open and warm reception in the business circles, which indicated that this business- visit is actually just a good start,” said Lucky Vidmar, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia of Colorado and a prominent lawyer and businessman, at the end of the visit.

“The U.S. market is extremely demanding and the economy of each federal state is specific, therefore it is difficult to talk about a single market. For this visit, we took into account the local competencies, development and breakthrough business competences in Colorado, and tried to find appropriate Slovenian companies, which are complementary to that environment, in order to develop a beautiful business story in the long term. Like last year, all three organizers custom-made and prepared all business contacts and B2B meetings between Slovenian and U.S. companies prior to the business trip,” said Gorazd Renčelj, economic counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, D.C.

Bruno Jelinčič, marketing director at Metrel, said at the end of the visit: “The key advantage of this visit was certainly that we had a local business developer at hand at all times. His valuable insight and additional information, personal contacts and B2B meetings on the spot really further raised our business motivation and consequently the business delegations’ success. “

“This year’s delegation is again a proof to our U.S. business partners, that Slovenians are open, dynamic and ambitious entrepreneurs. Such business delegations undoubtedly do pursue and help realize the goal of AmCham Slovenia – towards a greater economic recognition and greater presence of Slovenian businesses and knowledge in the U.S., “said Vida Dolenc Pogačnik, Deputy Director of AmCham Slovenia and the Head of the Delegation.

More information here

Denver Business Journal report available here.

Več informacij:

Petra Kocjan,
petra.kocjan@amcham.si, tel: +386 8 205 13 51