Slovakia has a population of 5.4 million, its capital city being Bratislava. Slovakia is a member of the EU, Eurozone, Schengen area, OECD, WTO and NATO. Located at the geographical centre of the EU Slovakia has a strategic location and around 300 million potential customers in a radius of 1,000 km.
- Political and economic stability. For more than a decade Slovakia has enjoyed stability and predictability as regards political and economic development. The quality of its public finances is rated highly by international rating agencies.
- One of the few CEE countries to use the euro. In 2009, Slovakia adopted the euro as its currency to replace the Slovak crown. The high share of exports to the euro area and the openness of the economy made choosing the euro as the national currency a natural choice. All major Slovak banks are regulated directly by the ECB, making the Slovak banking system stable and predictable.
- Skilled, educated labour force. Slovakia is a regional leader in labour productivity, while remaining cost–competitive at the regional and European level.
- The key economic sectors of Slovakia are (1) industrial production with a focus on electronics and automotive industry, and (2) the service sector with many shared service centres. Slovakia has a long tradition in mechanical engineering and is able to compete globally. The position of Slovakia as one of the key players in the automotive industry will be further strengthened by the world class manufacturing facility of Jaguar Land Rover, which is being built in Nitra. The electronics industry has become the second pillar of the Slovak industry. This industry is also the second strongest employer and exporter. Shared Service Centres and Information & Communication Technology Centres (SSC & ICT) are concentrated in the capital city of Bratislava and the second largest city of Košice. New hubs in the regions are being developed and offer a great combination of conditions for doing business in the SSC & ICT sector. Companies operating in this sector are attracted by 35 universities providing a qualified pool of labour, candidates willing to relocate or commute daily, modern and affordable offices, high quality data & voice networks, and a strategic time zone.
- Education & language competencies. Slovakia has one of the highest proportions of secondary school educated people in the EU — 72 per cent of the total population have finished upper–secondary education and the skilled labour force is able to adapt to modern production technologies. The Slovak Government has implemented a new dual education framework combining theoretical education in schools and practical training at companies.
- Multilingual skills of workers. Almost 85 per cent of the Slovak population speaks at least one foreign language and 98 per cent of all secondary school students study at least one foreign language (English, German, Russian or French). Therefore, there are no problems communicating with Slovak employees or an integration into a worldwide network.
- Tax system comparable with regional neighbours. The basic rate for corporate income tax is 20 per cent. There is no dividend tax for international corporations and no inheritance and gift tax, or real estate transfer tax. VAT is 20 per cent for most goods, and there is a lower rate of ten per cent for certain basic items.
- Business Etiquette: You should avoid questions about private or personal matters, it is good advice to stick to business topics. But if you want to generally talk about off-business topics economy or important sports events are always good ideas for small talk. Appointments are mandatory and it’s advisable to make them in advance. It is recommended to be punctual for meetings. Moreover, it’s better not to schedule a meeting on Friday afternoons since a lot of Slovaks leave after lunch for their countryside houses. Once you find yourself at your meeting, always greet your counterpart by firmly shaking his or her hand and maintaining direct eye contact. Continue to maintain eye contact also while speaking during the meeting. Don’t sit down on your own, wait until you’re invited to take a seat. In case you give a presentation make it simple but precise – where necessary, you can introduce figures or charts. European business practices and standards generally apply. There are no major cultural differences to consider.
For further information on travelling Slovakia visist http://slovakia.travel/en