ECONOMY IN SLOVENIA
Slovenia’s position at the intersection of traditional trade routes, its well-developed physical and ITC infrastructure along with its highly skilled workforce make it an attractive proposition for business location. Slovenian economy has weathered the global economic crisis and has turned the corner back to solid economic growth.
Slovenia has enjoyed impressive economic development since gaining independence. With the economic growth exceeding the average growth rate of the EU, the country caught up and fulfilled the criteria to join the Euro area in 2007. The global economic crisis of 2008 slowed down the economy fuelled mainly by exports and investment. It took a couple of years for the economy to return to growth. The gross domestic product (GDP) of Slovenia grew by 2.6% in 2014 and at a similar rate in 2015. Slovenia today is an open, export oriented economy. Exports of goods and services account for 65% to 70% of GDP.
The main trading partners of Slovenia are the European Union (EU) countries, accounting for around three quarters of the total exports and imports. Germany, Austria, Italy and Croatia are at the top of the list, followed by France, Russia, Serbia and Poland. The U.S. features among top trading partners outside the EU. Bilateral trade is on the rise in the last few years. New opportunities are expected to open up with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the U.S.
Slovenia is strategically well positioned for business opportunities both in the EU as well as the neighboring region of the Western Balkans. Advanced transport and communications networks provide Slovenia-based companies with a competitive advantage in serving these markets quickly and effectively.
In addition to a well-developed infrastructure, Slovenia offers clusters of specialized suppliers and competitive overall supply chain costs. Slovenia has a long tradition of engineering and a strong culture of innovation. Due to a highly educated and competitive workforce, it enjoys a reputation as a productive and forward-thinking economy, increasingly relying on knowledge based industries. In services, sectors such as telecommunications, business and financial services are among the fastest growing, while technology intensive production in sectors such as pharmaceutical, chemical, electrical and electronic equipment, machinery and automotive industries represent about half of all value added in the manufacturing sector.
Companies such as Gorenje, Kolektor, Iskra, Hidria, Elektronček and many others displayed great resilience throughout the economic crisis and have continued to grow. With a combined 7,000 employees in Slovenia, Lek and Krka are the leading producers of generic drugs in the region. Slovenia is also proud of a number of high-tech companies, which have grown out of their niche and became market leaders in their respective fields. Akrapovič is a world market leader in highend exhaust systems for motorcycles and performance cars, while Pipistrel has won a number of international recognitions, including NASA awards for its ultra-light airplanes.
Slovenia boasts several world-class architects. Some brought to life award-winning timber constructions. Both primary wood products and wood based building materials are used for panel, timber frame and solid timber constructions. Plentiful Slovenian wood resources are also used in innovative applications such as wooden bike frames (Woodster bike) and sunglasses frames (Wood Stock). Technology-based entrepreneurship is growing rapidly and a number of Slovenian start-ups are gaining traction, while others have already grown into global operations, including Zemanta, Celta and Outfit7 with the Talking Tom Cat application.