MIPIM 2019: Promotion was based around the brand "Invest Slovenia - Green. Creative. Smart."
MIPIM plays an essential role in developing cross-border deals and facilitating investment projects. What have been the benefits for Slovenia through the years of exhibiting at the event so far?
In the last decade, I've had the chance to attend both major investment and real estate fairs in Europe - MIPIM in France and EXPOREAL in Munich. Nevertheless, I have also seen their ups and downs, which were mainly associated with the global financial crisis. MIPIM, organised in the beginning of the year in March, is more of an international and promotion-oriented fair in the sense that it provides a platform which countries, regions, cities, national/regional agencies and private companies can use for their further promotion. EXPOREAL, on the other hand, which is organised in October, is more EU-oriented and industry-focused.
The main advantage of the continuous Slovene participation at MIPIM is that several stakeholders are presented in the national pavilion: the country by the SPIRIT national agency, and the Slovenian capital Ljubljana by the City Municipality of Slovenia, regional development agencies and private companies. In a way, such a cooperation is a role model for participation in MIPIM. Thus, the stakeholders not only have the opportunity to present their development projects, but also to benchmark their projects with other locations and come to understand the trends that are occurring globally (sustainability, circular economy and global presence). The most important elements of trade participation are stable and constant participation and building a network of leads, i.e. business contacts expressing an interest for cooperation. Through participation in MIPIM, all stakeholders received several business contacts which in one way or another increased the FDI stock in Slovenia. Just to summarise, the FDI stock at the end of 2009 was EUR 10.5 billion and the FDI stock at the end of 2017 totalled to EUR 13.6 billion.
What would you highlight from this year's perspective in terms of Slovenia's performance at the leading property market? What was the focus?
The focus was on the development projects in Slovenia and Ljubljana: the promotion was based around the brand "Slovenia: Green. Creative. Smart." We highlighted the importance of Ljubljana as the crossroads between the regions in Slovenia, also stressing the importance of co-working partnerships among the Slovene regions. This is why all 12 Slovene statistical regions were presented and further exposed to an audience of 26,000 international MIPIM visitors, 5,400 investors and 4,800 different developers looking for business and investment opportunities.
As the Head of the Internationalisation Division at the Ministry, what areas are going to pay a special attention to in promoting and attracting foreign direct investment in the future?
The new Law on Stimulating Investments has equalised domestic and foreign investments. The focus will be on sustainable, long-term investment projects whose goal is to create quality jobs, increase added valued per employee and generate high multiplicative effects in Slovenia. We believe Slovenia can present a suitable environment for investment projects that build on talented labour force doing business globally.
What are the encouragements for investors?
As a novelty, the draft bill equalises the measures for attracting both local and foreign investors. It defines the types of investment incentives, the conditions, criteria, and the procedure for granting investment incentives, which are: subsidies, incentives in the form of loans, guarantees, and subsidised interest rates. The draft bill also introduces the possibility of purchasing property in self-managed local communities at prices lower than the market prices as an investment incentive, namely on the basis of a direct contract. By contrast to the existing legislation, this facilitates the procedure and reduces the time necessary to implement the processes. Additionally, the draft bill also defines the term strategic investment and the method of determining the fulfilment criteria for a strategic investment, which is done by means of a decision issued by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia upon the request of the Ministry. Ultimately, the draft bill also defines the general methods of attracting investments and internationalisation.