Go Greener, Get More Added Value…

October 2021 Business

The Adriatic Staff

At the beginning of October, Ljubljana hosted business conference Exporters 2021: How Agile is the Slovenian Economy in the European Union, organized by the media outlet Delo and the Institute for Strategic Solutions.

At the conference, panellists reflected on the opportunities the European market offers for the Slovenian economy, as well as how to increase the added value in Slovenian exports and how to achieve a digital and green transition that will address the challenges of the coming years.

»Slovenia is a small story in the world, we depend on global forces. At the global level, there is a race between the US and China. At the local level, the opportunity for us is entrepreneurial ingenuity and how we can respond to what is happening. Europe will have to become more integrated and stand up to other superpowers. Slovenia needs to engage in lobbying at EU level and, above all, look for business opportunities within this environment,« said Domen Prašnikar, founder and CEO of Valior.

More technology for more user-friendly solutions

»Is the consumer willing to pay more for something that is made just for them? Rather than doing more for less money, we should use technology to create products that are made specifically for the consumer,« added Zoran Stančič, Associate Adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT).

As Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, said in his address, Slovenia has created the conditions for restructuring the economy, which will bring new and better jobs.

Tine Kračun, Director of the Institute for Strategic Solutions (content partner), Aleš Cantarutti, Director General of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Stojan Petrič, Director of the media outlet Delo attended the conference.

Battling uncertainty with the single market

Photo: Jože Suhadolnik/Delo

Keynote speaker Kerstin Jorna, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, highlighted the strength of the Slovenian economy, including tourism. The EU has learnt through the crises that it needs to strengthen the resilience of the single market, and that SMEs are particularly important as they are the backbone of the European economy… The single market is crucial in uncertain times, she stressed.

The three panels brought together excellent panellists who highlighted the need for Slovenia to further strengthen its productivity, to make better use of global events such as sporting events it hosts, and to invest more in research and development.

Slovenia’s economy also has its strengths, which are recognised by international markets, obviously. As Bojan Ivanc, Chief Economist at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS), said, »We have a lower price for a product or service than our competitors, while at the same time we ensure adequate product quality and qualified staff. The uniqueness of products and services and the flexibility to respond to customers’ wishes are also advantages in favour of our exporters.«

Still challenges to going green

Gorazd Justinek, Assistant Professor of International Political, Economic and Business Relations at the Faculty of State and European Studies. He believes that the role of Slovenian economic diplomacy in third markets, outside the EU, is relatively weak, and it should therefore be strengthened.

However, Slovenia has a good foundation in the area of digitalisation of companies, said Davor Jakulin, CEO of ATech. Domen Prašnikar agrees: »Slovenian companies are cutting costs and making the transition to digitalisation. However, I see more challenges to go green,« said Prašnikar.


This article is part of The Adriatic Journal: Strategic Foresight 2021
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