Ease of Doing Business Rank: 37
Slovenia is a Central European country and former Baltic state. Austria lies to the north, Italy lies to the west, Croatia lies to the south and Hungary lies to the east.
The official and national language of Slovenia is Slovene (Slovenian), spoken by over 91.1% of inhabitants. Hungarian and Italian are recognized co-official languages in certain municipalities. Other minority languages include Romani, Croatian, Serbian and German.
English is the most commonly spoken foreign language, followed by German.
The 2019 population estimate is 2.08 million.
According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, the largest city is Ljubljana (280,310), followed by Maribor (94,876). An additional 65 cities exist with populations less than 50,000.
The top industries in Slovenia are automotive, chemicals & pharmaceuticals, electrical & electronics, communications, logistics & distribution, machining & metalworking and wood processing.
The Times Higher Education World Rankings ranks two Slovenian universities in the top 1,000 in the world.
The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks Slovenia’s education system 7th out of 149.
The most common type of business entities in Slovenia are Joint Stock Company, Limited Liability Company, Partnership, European Public Company and Sole Trader.
The overwhelming majority of businesses are in the form of a Limited Liability Company.
Slovenia offers a foreign tax credit to offset foreign tax paid, but it cannot exceed outstanding Slovenian taxes payable.
The country also offers a tax allowance on equipment and tangible and intangible assets up to a maximum of 40% of value.
Slovenia also provides a 100% investment allowance to qualifying companies for R&D, regardless of location within the country. This allowance applies to internal activities, buying equipment for a private research institution and qualifying employees.
Businesses employing or trainees or students may enjoy an additional 20% discount on the average monthly income paid. Companies employing disabled persons may deduct between 50% and 70% of the average salary paid, depending on the severity of their disability. Hard-to-place, long-term unemployed workers may also qualify for a 45% discount on the average salary paid.
Ljubljana is the capital and financial center of the country.
Slovenia is about the same size as Massachusetts, but its history, natural riches and culture belie its small dimensions. The country includes 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Škocjan Caves.
This system of 24 km of limestone caves and underground passages reaches a depth of more than 200 meters in some places. It also includes waterfalls and one of the world’s largest known underground chambers.
Slovenia is also the home of Lipizzaner horses. The original stud farm in the Karst Region began in 1580 and has bred the same line without interruption until today.
Lake Bled sits amongst some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps. Its picture-perfect beauty attracts honeymooners from around the globe. With a postcard-worthy church with steeples sitting on an islet in the middle of lake and the oldest castle in the country towering above on the cliffs, it’s easy to see why.
Slovenia also enjoys a region on the Mediterranean complete with a medieval town and the expansive Sečovlje Salt Pans. The Sečovlje Salina Landscape Park spans over 1,600 acres and includes outstanding wildlife and many historical salt production and workers’ buildings. The area began salt production in the 13th century.
Velika Planina is one of the most scenic areas in the country and an intrinsic part of Slovenian culture. Herders still march their cows up from the valley to a plateau for summer grazing annually. Herders live in traditional wooden huts, just as their ancestors did centuries ago.
Ljubljana’s Old Town includes a castle, impressive square, canals and a unique triple pedestrian bridge. Predjama Castle is a testament to ingenuity during the Renaissance as it is built within the mouth of cave. It was home to the rebellious knight Erazem, who withstood the imperial army’s siege of the castle for over a year. Secret tunnels lie behind the castle to add to the intrigue.
Around 400 BC, Celtic tribes settled Slovenia. However, the Romans conquered the region in 10 BC, established many towns, and inhabitants prospered. Nonetheless, the region was invaded constantly by barbarian armies due to its strategic position. Rome abandoned the area at the end of the 4th century.
The region passed hands between several tribes until the Slavs settled in the 6th century. The Franks overran the Slavs in the late 8th century during the rule of Charlemagne. By the 9th century, most of the region was incorporated into a German duchy as part of the Holy Roman Empire. Missionaries introduced Christianity.
By 1278, Slovenian lands were under the control of the powerful ruling Austrian Habsburgs. Slovenian peasants unsuccessfully rebelled in the late 15th and 16th centuries.
Later, the Protestant Reformation drew many Slovenes away from the Catholic Church which also sparked many publications in Slovenian. However, the Counterreformation led to a reassertion of Catholicism and suppression of the Slovenian language.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Slovenia thrived. The trade route between Germany and Italy crossed through several Slovenian cities. By the end of the 18th century, Slovenian nationalism was on the rise due to an affluent, educated middle class.
Napoleon defeated Austria and incorporated the Slovenian regions into the French Empire. Slovenians welcomed the French as they offered language, education and government reforms. However, Austria retook the area in 1813. Nonetheless, Slovenes continued to promote the Slovenian language and a national identity.
In 1848, revolution struck Europe and many cities throughout the Austrian Empire, including Ljubljana, called for a constitutional monarchy. While the revolution swept away serfdom, Austrian powers were quick to reassert themselves as absolutist rulers.
During the latter part of the 19th century, Austria lost several major battles. In 1867, they joined forces with Hungary under a Dual Monarchy. Slovenian unrest eventually led to concessions such as permitting Slovenian in schools and control over local administration in some areas.
At the end of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated. Slovenes joined with Serbs and Croats to form a new state. In 1929, the king renamed the kingdom Yugoslavia.
In 1941, Germany invaded Yugoslavia. Slovenia was absorbed and annexed into neighboring Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Hungary. By 1945, the Germans had surrendered unconditionally.
Following the re-establishment of Yugoslavia at the end of World War II, Slovenia became part of a Communist Yugoslavia led by Tito. It was the most industrialized and westernized region in Yugoslavia.
When Tito died in 1980, Yugoslavia splintered. Slovenia formed opposition parties and demanded independence and democracy. By 1990, Slovenia had its first free elections. By 1991, the Slovene parliament declared Slovenia independent.
Today, Slovenia is a parliamentary republic with a mixed market economy. They are a member of the European Union.
According to the 2002 census, 83% of the population identify as Slovene, followed by Serb (2%), Croat (2%), Bosniak (1%) and other groups.
According to the same census, the majority of Slovenes identify as Christian (57.8%), followed by atheist or non-religious (26.5%), Muslim (2.4%) and Orthodox (2.3%).
According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, Slovenia is the 31st best country in the world for conducting business.
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Slovenia 58th globally and states, “Institutional weaknesses continue to undermine prospects for long-term economic development. In particular, the judicial system remains inefficient and vulnerable to political interference. Corruption continues to be perceived as widespread.”
World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings rate Slovenia 40th for ease of doing business in the world.