Slovenia

An OECD member since 2012, Slovenia boasts good infrastructure, a well-educated workforce and a strategic Central European location.

Slovenians like to say — particularly in tourist brochures — that theirs is the only country that has the word “love” in its name. The liberal democracy joined the European Union in 2004 as one of 10 countries that did so at that time, and it was the first of those to adopt the euro as its currency, something it did in 2007.

In 2004, Slovenia became the first transition country to move from borrower to donor partner status at the World Bank. It has been a member of the OECD since 2012 and boasts good infrastructure, a well-educated workforce and a strategic Central European location — its closest neighbours include Italy, Austria and Croatia.

The country saw hard times in 2008-2009, and in 2012, after investor concern over delayed privatizations, especially in the banking sector, Slovenia got permission from the European Commission to recapitalize ailing lenders and transfer some nonperforming assets to restore its balance sheets. The government of Miro Cerar, which took power in 2014, pledged to get Slovenia’s economy back on track. GDP growth hit 3% that year, up from -1.06% the year before, and maintained a 3% growth rate in 2015.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

1. Gift giving. Gifts between government officials are common, but less so between businesspeople.

If you want to extend the courtesy, Slovenians love maple syrup. Up the ante with some fine Canadian icewine.

2 Get carded. There is no proper way to present a business card, but it is important to take them to meetings.

3. Expect to eat Meetings will often start in boardrooms (before lunch, for example) and then finish at a restaurant.

4. Slovenians are punctual. If they are late, it’s never more than a minute or two. Being on time is a good idea.

5. Dress for success. Business dress means suits for men and women alike.

6. Small on the small talk. Slovenians are friendly and will ask about your flight and your impressions of their country, but after a few minutes, they’ll want to move on to business.

FACTS FOR INVESTORS

1. Ljubljana is the capital and business centre.

2. Slovenia ranks 29th out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business report.

3. In 2015 it was the world’s 65th-largest exporter and 67th-largest importer.

4. Slovenia is ranked 20th out of 144 countries surveyed in Forbes’ Best Countries for Business list.

TRAVEL TIPS

1. Language barriers. English speakers will get along fine. Slovenians learn English in school; if you meet someone who doesn’t speak English, someone who does will quickly be found.

2. Parting tip. Give 5% to 10% in restaurants; give the latter for exceptional service.

3. Getting around. There are bus and train systems, but they are mostly used by students.

Because Slovenia is small — 230 km across at its widest point — it’s easy to drive between cities. You can rent a car or, like many Slovenians and tourists, use a ride-share service called Prevoz. (Currently, the Prevoz website, prevoz.org, is not available in English, so Google Translate may come in handy.)

Slovenia chart

About the Author

Jennifer Campbell


Jennifer Campbell is a freelance writer based in Ottawa.

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