by Barbara Uranjek

Slovenia, strategically located in central Europe, offers trade opportunities for businesses and investors. Its robust economy and business-friendly environment make it an attractive destination for trade and investment. It also boasts an export-oriented economy, sustained growth rates, and optimistic forecasts.

Embedded
Slovenia’s export-oriented economy is deeply embedded in global supply chains and provides instant access to EU markets, central and eastern Europe, and southeast Europe, reaching over 700 million consumers. The country’s linguistic skills, cultural knowledge, and customs make it ideal for business across the Balkan region.

External trade represents nearly 148 per cent of Slovenia’s GDP in 2022, with a merchandise trade ratio among the highest in the region. In 2022, the trade surplus was €1.3 billion, with exports accounting for 91 per cent of GDP. Slovenia’s main exporting partners are Germany, Italy, Croatia, Austria, and France, and it has seen growing trade ties with former Yugoslav republics since the 2000s. Major import partners include Germany, Italy, and Austria. Slovenia ranks 9th globally in economic complexity, comparable to Finland, the US, the UK, and Italy.

The services sector significantly contributes to the economy, enhancing the competitiveness of the Slovenian transport chain and diversifying tourist products and services. Renowned for its macroeconomic stability, Slovenia ranked 37th among 190 world economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 indicators. The country’s stable and diversified economy, low inflation, current account surplus, fiscal surplus, and declining sovereign debt create a low-risk environment for investors.

Projects
Slovenia, with a GDP of €63 billion and a GDP per capita of over $29,000 in 2023, is a prime investment destination. Its highly educated and skilled workforce, high proficiency in English, and robust R&D capabilities contribute to its competitive edge. In 2022, the UK was the 9th largest source of foreign direct investment in Slovenia.

Key infrastructure projects like the Second Track rail project between the port of Koper and Divača aim to enhance cargo transport efficiency, strengthening Slovenia’s position as a logistics hub connecting central and southeast Europe with the Mediterranean Sea and Far East. Additionally, Slovenia is advancing in renewable energy, including hydrogen technology and plans for constructing a second nuclear power plant in Krško, enhancing its energy security and sustainability efforts.

Innovation
Slovenia’s ICT sector is rapidly advancing in innovation and digital transformation, supported by government initiatives in smart cities, cybersecurity, and AI development. Start-ups and tech companies benefit from funding, incubators, and accelerators. Slovenia stands out for R&D, attracting significant investment, especially in pharmaceuticals. According to a regular annual survey among German investors in central and Eastern Europe, Slovenia was found to be the most attractive location for R&D investments in the region. The business sector contributes about 75 per cent of R&D investments, leading to advanced products and solutions.

Barbara Uranjek is chief executive of the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce. Information for her article was sourced from SPIRIT Slovenia Business Development Agency.

www.sloveniabusiness.eu/business-environment

To find out more about opportunities or future events focusing on Slovenia, contact Internationalbusiness@londonchamber.co.uk