Assistance and support to SMEs through a network of diplomatic missions and consular posts.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs protects and promotes interests of Slovene economy abroad through its network of diplomatic missions and consular posts. Activities are implemented under Foreign Affairs Act and in accordance with Programme for internationalisation 2015–2020 and Priority Axis 3 of OP. Goals of economic diplomacy are to provide assistance and support to Slovene companies that wish to do business globally. Network of 52 diplomatic missions and consular posts assists SMEs by offering assistance in establishing contacts with potential business partners, solving problems in foreign markets, establishing companies or subsidiaries abroad, finding and hiring local experts or advisers; providing business offices for Slovene companies at Slovene representations abroad, business information and concrete business opportunities, information on conditions for doing business in a particular country and organisation of, and participation in business meetings (of business delegations), at fairs, seminars and conferences.
Ministry conducts the activities of economic diplomacy through Directorate for Economic and Public Diplomacy which ensures efficient work of economic diplomacy through coordination and management within the broader system, for which it cooperates with other gov. and non-gov. institutions (Min. of Economic Development and Technology, SPIRIT Slovenia, Slovene Tourist Board, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Slovenia, SID Bank).
Total budget for economic diplomacy activities in 2016 was 5.989.116 €, with 2.791.124 € for salaries of economic advisers at ministry and diplomatic missions. Programme for internationalisation 2015-2020 plan for economic projects of diplomatic network 2016-2020: 300.000 -330.000 € annually
Evidence of success
22 economic advisers and more than 120 honorary consuls assists SMEs. 91 events were organised or co-organised in 2017. Activities of Slovene economic diplomacy have resulted in a number of newly established contacts between Slovene and foreign businesses, a number of business contracts and agreements have been signed, several problems of Slovene companies abroad have been solved and many potential foreign investors to Slovenia have been attracted.
Potential for learning or transfer
As the diplomatic network is already set up and presents in various countries, this practice optimizes the existing network by upgrading it for the needs of the SMEs. Thus, the activities of economic diplomacy present a utilization of both infrastructure and human resources of the diplomatic network of Slovenian representatives abroad.
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