See for yourself why Slovenia is a place where everybody wants to live and to do business.

Analyzing global trends and spending patterns to develop brand and market strategies may provide valuable insights when it comes to delivering products and services consumers will want to buy. Typically, manufacturers and retailers move quickly to indentify expansion opportunities and take advantage of a rising number of consumers spending significant amounts of money on durable goods and transportation but also on healthcare services, leisure and entertainment.

Slovenia is a great place to make an investment in any of these segments destined to grow fast as global wealth and consumer spending mach on. With €6 billion in 2011, its manufacturing activities have generated the highest value of gross value added since 2008 among all activities leaving trade (wholesale and retail) and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles far behind (€3 billion). With €3.6 billion, large manufacturing companies continue to generate the highest gross value added, but it would be smart to take a closer look at the Slovenian micro companies (€950 million) and the pool of talented and ambitious people well-aware that in a small country, small but agile businesses punch above their weight. In 2011, 501,740 employees in the Slovenian companies generated on average €36,966 in gross value added per employee. Despite the general economic gloom, these figures show better performance in comparison with 2008 when 578,035 employees generated €34,253 in gross value added per employee and the 2009 result when gross value added per employee was €33,137 and the number of people in employment was 542,366 employees followed by a further rise of gross value added per employee of €35,152 generated by 517,583 employees. In terms of size, large companies accounted for 57.5 per cent of gross value added, medium-sized and small companies followed suit with 16.4 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively, and micro companies managed 15.2 per cent of €18.6 billion in gross value added. In terms of the economic sectors, manufacturers were most productive as opposed to the public administration, defence and compulsory social security (Source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia).

A clear signal to foreign investors

The changing FDI prospects in low-income countries where the recent labour market developments may have an impact on the world’s economic growth pattern have little bearing on Slovenia’s attraction as a near-perfect location to land foreign investment projects. Admittedly, Slovenia’s FDI visibility is still low and attracting more FDI would boost its economic growth. The new government is taking steps in the right direction to attract serious foreign investors. The 2012 FDI grant scheme should attract investors to the country’s excellent sites for development or redevelopment, its corruption-free competitive environment, its start-ups with good ideas, its tech-savvy people and its highly-skilled workers on the shop floor. The new government is bringing more clarity and transparency to FDI policy should protect it from accusations of political meddling in business transactions and strengthen the public’s capacity to assess decisions to sell strategic assets based on the advantages of the transaction. Slovenia is export-oriented and its economic future will continue to depend on open access to foreign markets and its investment-friendly climate. The latest public statements of the government intentions confirm that Slovenia is open for business and that there are practically no areas in which Slovenia is keen on asserting its sovereignty.

The most appropriate place to start is the privatization of the state-owned enterprises. Over the past three years, there were practically no projects for the modernization, upgrading or expansion of Slovenia’s transport and communications infrastructure and only some 10 per cent of the EU funding was used in the absence of mature projects aligned with the relevant objectives of the national and EU strategies.

In order to give impetus to the privatization process of the future multimodal infrastructure as pencilled in the EU strategic documents, Slovenia’s state-owned enterprises for roads, railways, infrastructure development and investment management, electricity generation and distribution, logistics, telecommunications and the country’s largest airport and its only cargo port will be brought under the roof of a new infrastructure holding by the end of this year. For these enterprises to grow and develop, finding strategic partners will be necessary. Public-private partnerships could be highly interesting as confirmed earlier this year at the conference on multimodal infrastructure and TEN-T held in the European Parliament. The participants underlined the importance of the Pan-European transport corridors criss-crossing Slovenia in the light of the anticipated central TEN-T transport infrastructure recognized as the best and shortest connection between south-eastern and eastern Europe. The TEN-T transport infrastructure integrates commercial and logistic structures and directly affects 20 European regions. Thanks to its position at the heart of Europe at the intersection of trade and transport routes, Slovenia is a key part in the future TEN-T network and projects of pan-European interest.