The work of the Slovenian Business Club, which has commemorated its 19th year of active existence, is marked by an impeccable reputation and highquality engagement. We cooperate wonderfully with Serbian institutions and other associations and business clubs, and we’re proud of that cooperation because it enables us to contribute to the advancement of the Serbian business environment
Nothing’s as successful as success – that’s the story of the Slovenian Business Club, which year after year maintains its reputation as a place that can provide its members with high-quality support and has its doors open to cooperation with the business community in Serbia.
You will soon commemorate a decade of your work as president of the Slovenian Business Club. Are there any unknowns and new challenges in this field for you?
– When I accepted the challenge of managing the Slovenian Business Club slightly over nine years ago, I knew that I would need courage, ideas and faith in success. I knew all the ingredients, but not the quantities. I wasn’t aware of just how much courage, ideas and faith I would need, and the last thing I could have imagined was how much arduous work and sacrifice would need be invested in the endeavour that I’d taken on. After nine years, I would claim that it was definitely worth it. Of course, I wasn’t alone on that journey. The other members of the Board of Directors were with me. Together we overcame obstacles and achieved successes. The kind of team and members that are a source of pride for the Slovenian Business Club make it a genuine pleasure to cooperate and implement the mission of the club.
We are all very well aware that it’s neither simple nor easy to work with people, particularly with people whose job description requires them to demand high-quality and good results of themselves and others. Nor is it easy and simple to work with the kind of demanding people that businesspeople are. However, it is a real pleasure to work with an upstanding, refined, business-minded and hardworking world like the one represented by our members and business partners. I constantly meet new people, people with new ideas and visions. Over the past nine years, I’ve been incredibly enriched by my time spent socialising with all of them. I draw energy and motivation from socialising and cooperating with them.
When it comes to membership numbers, efficiency and efficacy, the Slovenian Business Club in Serbia ranks at the very top among Slovenian business clubs around the world. To what do we owe hat ranking?
– The Slovenian Business Club has just completed 19 years of its existence and activities, which have been marked by an impeccable reputation and high-quality work. It has succeeded, or rather all of us have succeeded together, in establishing high standards with which we send everyone a clear message that we are a trustworthy organisation that can be relied upon. To spend 19 years as a reliable partner to its members and two countries is certainly a significant success that’s worthy of respect. I’m eternally grateful to every individual and company that’s participated in the creation of the brand of the Slovenian Business Club throughout all these years.
We strive constantly for the Slovenian Business Club in Belgrade to be and remain the hardest working and most valuable Slovenian business club in the world, and for it to firmly and securely take its place among the very top of similar foreign clubs or chambers operating in Serbia
We strive constantly to maintain the reputation we’ve acquired, i.e., for the Slovenian Business Club in Belgrade to be and remain the hardest working and most valuable Slovenian business club in the world, and for it to firmly and securely take its place among the very top of similar foreign clubs or chambers operating in Serbia.
There’s no doubt that the Slovenian Business Club is among the biggest, in terms of membership numbers, and most successful foreign business associations in Serbia. Where is your niche on the business association market and how do you handle the competition?
– The Slovenian Business Club is the only business association in Serbia to connect the economies of Slovenia and Serbia directly. As such, we don’t have competitors among other business associations, rather only partners. All similar business associations represent the business interests of their country or companies from their country operating in Serbia.
As partners, we together organise meetings and lead dialogue with state institutions aimed at improving the Serbian business environment and the operations of our members. We very often jointly organise events at which our members gather, network, get better acquainted, mutually exchange experiences and information, educate one another and create opportunities for future business cooperation.
The specific activity that distinguishes us among the others is reflected in our establishing of “one-on-one” contacts, i.e., the Club’s one-on-one work with individual companies to identify solutions to specific problems faced by members that the Club can contribute to overcoming, as well as providing companies with support in finding potential partners for cooperation.
Your cooperation with numerous other associations is evident from your activities. What are the most important areas of cooperation for your members and what does that cooperation bring in terms of providing your members with high-quality information and enabling their interconnecting?
– We can boast of having excellent cooperation with all other business associations, which represents an added value of membership in the Slovenian Business Club. We cultivate traditionally good relations with other foreign chambers and clubs, which really came to the fore during the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. We mutually exchanged information and helped each other. And today we cooperate wonderfully on the organisation of joint events like working breakfasts, panel discussions and business networking events at which our members have the opportunity to meet members of other business associations. The bestknown joint event is the Speed Business Meeting. Another form of cooperation is on joint initiatives to approach state institutions, which relate to improving the business environment in Serbia. We are proud of this cooperation, as we thereby contribute to the advancement of the Serbian business environment, which enables better business conditions for our members and their connecting with members of other business associations.
Can we say that we’ve now returned to the old ways, meaning the policy of meeting and socialising in person?
– The preceding 2020 and 2021 were years during which we didn’t really have much in the way of conditions to gather with the kind of intensity that we were used to. Those were years of great challenges for the Slovenian Business Club, because realising and maintaining contacts isn’t just the core of our affinity with our members, but rather the very essence of our existence and activities. Ultimately, before and since the days of Aristotle, man has been a social being.
Following the two-year struggle against Covid, we were unfortunately hit by the Ukrainian crisis, which is impacting the economy of the whole world, and thus also Serbia… That’s why all the topics in our focus relate to the impact of this crisis on the economy and the post-Covid recovery of the economy
Anti-Covid measures imposed significant restrictions on us. However, we were capable and succeeded in utilising every moment of their easing in a timely manner, to quickly and properly organise, and then to also gather in person. Since the month of September last year, thanks to the more favourable epidemiological situation, all activities of the club have been held live, in-person, and I can state unreservedly that socialising has again become very intensive, perhaps even more intensive than it was two years ago. The atmosphere at gatherings is traditionally lively and cordial. It’s clear that we all desired in-person contact. Ultimately, it’s also easier to do a job if people are sitting face to face. At the club we follow the wishes of our members, which is why we’ve already organised a lot of interesting gatherings since the beginning of the year, and those that are yet to come will be very interesting and useful.
From the perspective of the business climate in Serbia, which topics are in your focus today?
– Following the two-year struggle against Covid, we were unfortunately hit by the Ukraine crisis, which is impacting the economy of the whole world, and thus also Serbia. We are struggling with drastic increases in prices and rising inflation, with a lack of various inputs and a labour shortage. As such, all our topics relate to the impact of this crisis on the economy and post-Covid economic recovery. Of course, there are also themes that have been topical for several years: combatting the grey economy and corruption, simplifying tax procedures, reducing red tape, increasing the efficiency of the public administration and administration, and all in parallel with intensive digitalisation.
Which business sectors in Serbia are currently the most topical for your members?
– Slovenian-Serbian relations, both economic and political, are traditionally good and constantly developing and deepening. Slovenia is wholeheartedly trying to contribute to, and accelerate, Serbia’s European integration process. Serbia is the only country of the former Yugoslavia to have a representative office of its national chamber of commerce in Ljubljana.
The volume of the trade exchange between the Slovenian and Serbian economies has expressed a continuous and significant upward trend for many years. According to Slovenia’s official statistics, that volume reached almost 1.9 billion euros in 2021, representing the largest volume of this trade exchange in the last five years. In the future, the value of our trade exchange could be much higher and the volume even more significant, as there is great and still completely unexploited potential and capacities for that on both sides. The IT, agriculture, construction and environmental protection sectors are still a long way from achieving their cooperative maximum.
I’m eternally grateful to every individual and company that’s participated in the creation of the brand of the Slovenian Business Club throughout all these years
After two years when we didn’t really have much in the way of conditions to get together, our socialising has again become very intensive, perhaps even more intensive than before
According to Slovenia’s official statistics, the volume of the trade exchange reached almost 1.9 billion euros in 2021, representing the largest volume in the last five years