Businessmen, representatives of more than 40 companies and leading shapers of the Slovenian economic environment, met with the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Miro Cerar, PhD, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Public Administration, Boris Koprivnikar, at a working breakfast. They addressed specific projects and exchanged ideas that lead towards digital transformation and towards realizing the Slovenia, a Green Reference Country in Digital Europe initiative.
Participants of the working breakfast were members of the last year's Business Development Delegation to the U.S., which accompanied Prime Minister Miro Cerar, PhD, in December 2015, as well as members of this year's Delegation, which will take place between September 20 and 24, 2016, in the Silicon Valley, the cradle of digital transformation. At this year's Delegation, members will be introduced to the latest trends and highlight the main challenges in order to find solutions for a better introduction of digital technology into Europe and to develop a comprehensive digital ecosystem.
Upon meeting the business representatives, Miro Cerar, PhD, pointed out: "This Delegation is primarily about upgrading the content and deepening the cooperation with the main digital knowledge carriers. As for myself, I will strive for the modernization of Slovenia, as our digitally-common and as such inevitable future, will bring new jobs and further develop the local knowledge, which is widely recognized worldwide."
Boris Koprivnikar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration, who will be the Government representative at this year's Delegation, and who is also coordinating Government's efforts in the field of digital transformation within the Slovenia, a Green Reference Country in Digital Europe initiative, emphasized: "It is important for the Slovenian public to be aware that their Government has a vision and is working consistently and in the right direction. We have what it takes to be successful. The second Delegation to the US is focused on collaboration with business leaders in the field of sharing economy. Slovenia is among the countries that are struggling to fit these models into our existing legislation, because they were not predicted in advance. In order to do this, we need to make rearrangements in several fields - these are entirely new solutions and we want to establish an environment in which these models can work."
Both the government and the businesses are aware that digital transformation is imminent and that there is no sector, which is still untouched by the digital development. All participants agreed that if we are to remain competitive and even more visible as a country, it is necessary to adapt as soon as possible and to take the lead. Slovenia is a country of optimism and opportunities, but positive changes will only take place if there is cooperation and an open dialogue between the industry, government, science and the civil society. Only together can we create an environment that is conducive to an open a digital society, which will allow for growth and development and consequently raise the quality of life for all citizens.
Ajša Vodnik, MSc, Executive Director of AmCham Slovenia, stressed: "The fourth industrial revolution is here, whether we want it or not. It will change the mode of operation. Few countries are privileged to have, like us, a digital champion, such as Minister Koprivnikar, who utilizes his vision with regards to the upcoming changes. Technology is always ahead of the legislature, but I hope we will know how to seize the opportunity and develop a reference ecosystem in Slovenia, which will include our value system and will as such become a strong partner for development."
H.E. Brent R. Hartley, the U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia and a supporter of both the initiative and the Business Development Delegation, presented the role of the U.S. in digital transformation: “Globally we are living through a remarkable economic and societal transformation, driven by technology. In this changing world, economic growth and competitiveness are increasingly tied to the digital economy, which is a key driver of jobs, business creation, and innovation. Minister Koprivnikar and the Slovenian business delegation are going to the right place to advance Slovenia’s digitalization transformation. The U.S. is home to the top digital innovators in the world. Seven of the world’s ten largest tech companies in the world hail from the U.S. The U.S. also fosters new business models – such as Airbnb and Uber – that find new ways to use digital technology to offer consumers new services more quickly, efficiently and cheaply. The digital economy has a staggering impact on U.S. jobs and growth. In 2014 we exported roughly $400 billion in digitally-deliverable services, which accounted for more than half of U.S. services exports and about one-sixth of all U.S. goods and services exports. Our respective economies have a solid basis for doing business. Slovenia is an export-driven economy with huge advantages in human capital. I’ve visited many businesses here and I’ve seen myself the level of innovation and entrepreneurship taking place throughout this country.”
You can find more about the Business Development Delegation here.