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Promising Sectors for Slovenian Businesses

Vojdan Jordanov, Chairman Of The Board Of The Association Of Slovenian & Macedonian Businesspeople And Executive Director At Triglav Insurance Jsc Skopje

What specific sectors or industries in Macedonia do you see as most promising for Slovenian businesses, and why?

The Macedonian economy is quite diverse and offers promising opportunities in multiple sectors. In the last couple of years, the most significant investments and growth were seen in the ICT, Automotive components, Energy, Wine, Agriculture, Food processing, Textile, and Pharmaceutical sectors, among others. These industries provide excellent investment and trade opportunities for Slovenian companies.

Known for their engineering skills and high-quality production capacities, Slovenian companies may find potential clients in the sectors where manufactured goods are needed. Especially important is the Automotive sector, which mainly consists of larger foreign investments, counting 500 employees or more. There are currently over 10 production facilities with more than 500 employees in this sector, with the largest ones being well over 5.000 employees. Most of the companies in this sector are built in economic free trade zones, making them a very suitable client for foreign partners. Slovenian businesses may also appreciate the opportunity to invest in production facilities in Macedonia, due to the proximity to these clients as well as the appropriate skills of the workforce.

The Agricultural sector, and especially Macedonian fruits and vegetables are well known abroad and in Slovenia, so it is not a coincidence that these products are a quite significant export component for the economy. However, the sector still has a lot of room for growth and a further increase in trade, making it attractive for interested investors and traders. When speaking about Macedonia, it is unavoidable to mention Wine. With more than 90 wineries and several larger ones, this sector is one of the flagships of the economy. The production capacities increase year on year, along with the international recognition of the country as a high-quality wine producer. Macedonia is globally the 13th largest wine exporter by value, which is a significant feat, taking into account the size of the country.

The Agricultural sector is complemented by the Food processing sector with significant production capacities. It includes meat processing, fruit and vegetable processing and confectionery product capacities, among others.

By combining excellent food, wine and beautiful nature, Macedonia provides excellent opportunities to investors and operators in the tourism industry. This combination reflects similarities to Slovenia and its well-developed tourism sector.

Due to its suitable geolocation, Macedonia provides excellent opportunities for investors interested in the Energy sector, particularly Solar energy. We have witnessed an exponential growth of projects in this sector, with ready-to-build photovoltaic project opportunities throughout the country ranging from less than 1MW to more than 10MW. Furthermore, the Agricultural sector has increasingly found synergies with the Energy sector in terms of the production of electricity from biomass. Several energy production facilities have been put into production in the last couple of years.

The Textile sector is traditionally strong in the country, providing high-quality production capacities for international brands. This is an opportunity for brands seeking production partners in clothing and other textile products.

The Pharmaceutical sector is comprised of several producers, which significantly affect the country’s exports. However, currently, the most interesting opportunity for investment is in the medical cannabis sector. Macedonia is one of few countries to have legalised the growing and exports of medical cannabis and its products. Several operating production facilities prove the concept. There are ample opportunities for investors and traders in this industry.

Moving to services, the ICT sector has shown significant growth in the last couple of years. It now amounts to more than 500 million EUR of exports, with over 3.000 companies and approximately 25.000 employees. The growth in the sector has motivated young people in the country to sign up for computer science education and re-education, thus creating growth in the supply of high-quality tech talent.

We have also identified other sectors that provide interesting opportunities to foreign investors and trade partners. Metals, furniture, other manufacturing, and business process outsourcing are all industries in which Slovenian companies can find suitable partners or investment opportunities in North Macedonia.

The Association of Slovenian and Macedonian Businesspeople provides further support to all Slovenian companies interested in investing in North Macedonia or cooperating with Macedonian companies. Through our extensive network and database of contacts and members, we can easily find a match for all interested Slovenian investors, buyers, or sellers.

What unique advantages does Macedonia offer Slovenian businesses, and how can they best leverage these advantages to succeed?

I would divide the advantages into two definite groups: active measures and economic environment.

Active measures taken by the government focus primarily on financial and administrative support to foreign investors based on the Law on the Financial Support of Investments and the organisational units assigned to supporting foreign investors. Foreign investors can apply for financial support for their investments in amounts of up to 50% of the investment amount, provided that they can show significant economic effects, like productivity, revenue generation and employment.

Regarding the economic environment, and in particular, in relation to Slovenia, I would say that Macedonia provides a simpler tax environment and a less demanding overall regulatory environment. On the capacities side, the country offers highly skilled talent with good language capabilities and experience with the international corporate sector and international business.

The proximity to the EU and the multitude of agreements and protocols signed with Slovenia and the EU provide a practically seamless flow of goods and services between the two countries.

For more information and details, feel free to contact the Association. We will be happy to connect and help Slovenian businesses discover Macedonian opportunities. Our contacts can be found on our webpage, www.dsms.mk, or you can email us at contact@dsms.mk.

Additional information about the investment climate, opportunities, and support can also be found on the website of the Macedonian foreign investment agency Invest North Macedonia.

Support and Networking

Slovenian businesses can leverage these advantages by connecting with the Association of Slovenian and Macedonian Businesspeople for support and networking opportunities at www.dsms.mk.

Fruits and Wine

The agricultural sector known for its fruits and vegetables and the wine industry, with Macedonia being the 13th largest wine exporter globally.

Investor Incentives

Macedonia offers financial and administrative support to foreign investors, with potential financial support of up to 50% of the investment amount.

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