en English

The Slovenia Business BridgeTM Conference, where we talked about the investment opportunities in Slovenia, opened with the AmCham Business Breakfast »Does Slovenia Feel Investors?« which brought together the experience of leading international companies that have invested in Slovenia in the last years.

Mrs. Nevenka Črešnar Pergar, Co-Chair of the AmCham Investment Committee, summarized in her keynote speech the thoughts of all the speakers and said that main obstacles for investors in Slovenia are labor-market ineffectiveness, financial market inflexibility, too much red-tape, an unfriendly tax system, and market size.

»In order to lead, we require a different approach; by showing real examples, we can help the Government to see and solve the problems. Slovenia has an abundance of an unused potential and we must find a way to take advantage of it,« said Mrs. Črešnar Pergar who hosted on stage Mr. Dragan Šolak, the Founder, Co-owner and the Chairman of the Board of United Group, Mr. Andrzej Bartos, the Managing Partner in Innova Capital, Mr. Gert Waltenbauer, the Chief Executive Officer of KGAL GmbH & Co. KG, and Mr. Ahmed El Sewedy, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Elsewed Electrics S.A.E.

All speakers agreed that Slovenia offers numerous opportunities and could become a regional hub. Andrzej Bartos noted that Slovenia represents a great export potential for the industrial sector that should be promoted and developed. Mr. Ed Macnamara (PwC) also pointed out Slovenia’s export potential and added that investors perceive Slovenia to be attractive due to its banks, strong business environment, and stable GDB growth. Gert Waltenbauer sees a positive feature in people since it is easier to make new contacts in Slovenia due to the small market scale; he also sees advantages in good connections with other countries in the region.

Mr. Šolak believes that in order for Slovenia to be more attractive for investors, it should privatize state-owned enterprises and establish a fund that would help SMEs. »This is Slovenia’s great potential that could attract numerous investors. People are hard-working, their productivity is bigger because they work for their own companies, and the results of their work are astonishing,« said Mr. Šolak. Mr. Waltenbauer added that it is important to seek strategic investors and not financial ones. »You have educated people and good companies – make use of that and don’t just seek financial opportunities,« said the German investor.

Mr. Bartos highlighted the talented people and educated workforce that are leaving Slovenia; he warmly recommended that the Government invest in education and take advantage of foreign experts, since we can all learn from them. He also pointed out the need for creating new workplaces and Mr. El Sewedy supported his idea.  Mr. El Sewedy said that »if there are be no jobs, people will leave,« and added that the state should focus on the talented people and thus become more attractive for investors.

AmCham Business Breakfast was a part of the conference Slovenia Business BridgeTM: Opportunities in the Center of Change.