Blog

“It’s time to market” – One day conference on 21 October

We would like to sincerely thank all speakers and participants for co-creating a fantastic and fruitful conference!

Aside from the various interesting round table discussions, we officially launched the digital Slovenian-Dutch business EcoSystem. The platform for the conference allows continuous access to the conference’s content and active interaction with physical and digital participants. 

Please follow this link to access the platform.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stayed tuned for a few useful takeaways from the event!

Event at the Slovenian embassy in the Netherlands on 11 April 2019

On Thursday, 11 April 2019, the SDBP organised an event with the Slovenian Embassy in the Netherlands which was attended by 25 representatives of Slovenian and Dutch companies, representatives of the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The event was aimed at launching SDBP activities in the Netherlands,  bringing together Dutch and Slovenian business entities and serving as a business network for the exchange of expertise and business opportunities between entrepreneurs operating between the two countries.

Ambassador Štiglic emphasised in the introductory speech the important role of such initiatives, which help to promote business association between Slovenia and the Netherlands and the internationalization of Slovenian companies.

The work of the SDBP was presented by Marc van Rijnsoever, our President, Karin van Rooyen-Winkelman, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia in the Netherlands, and Matjaž Zupančič-Tičo, former State Secretary in the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy.

The event was enriched by the vocal group Gallina from Slovenia, who impressed the audience. The event ended with a party with Slovenian dishes.

 

Economic Diplomacy event on 25 January 2019

On 25 January 2019, the SDBP  and the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia co-organised the extremely successful “Economic Diplomacy – small players on the global market: ” event. We are very happy and grateful to all the audience and to the active participants in the discussions. 

The purpose of the event was to open a debate key business opportunities for Slovenia outside its geographical boundaries. It is vitally important that Slovenia could be ranked among Europe’s more successful and reliable trading partners and thus fully utilize its economic position. The Netherlands and Slovenia have a lot in common: They are both relatively dependent countries depend on exports, are strategically well-placed and have a skilled workforce, which is why partners can be interested in each other. In addition to the President of the DS of the Republic of Slovenia, Alojz Kovšce, a number of distinguished guests attended the event: Marc W. van Rijnsoever – President of the Slovenian – Dutch Business Club, dr. Miro Cerar – Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aleš Cantarutti – State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Slovenia, Alenka Suhadolnik – Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Economic and Public Diplomacy.

In his opening address, the President of the National Council Alojz Kovšec emphasized the importance of the internationalization of Slovenian companies and how important it can be the role of political decision makers in opening doors to companies around the world.

Our president, Marc van Rijnsoever gave the following speech (english translation underneath):

“Spoštovani g. predsednik državnega sveta Alojz Kovšca,
Spoštovani g. zunanji minister dr. Miro Cerar,
Spoštovani g. državni sekretar Ministrstva za razvoj in tehnologijo mag. Aleš Cantarutti,
Spoštovana ga. odpravnica poslov Kraljevine Nizozemske Ida de Kat,
Spoštovana ga. častna spoštovana ga. častna konzultka Republike Slovenije v Kraljevini, Nizozemski Karin van Rooyen,
Spoštovana ga. mag. Alenka Suhadolnik,
Spoštovana ga. Mojca Markizetti,
Spoštovani g. Jernej Tovšak,
Excellence, spoštovane gostje,

Lepo, da ste se odzvali na povabilo,

Vsem dobro jutro, goede morgen….. v slovenskih gorah sem se namreč naučil, da se pozdravljamo v svojem jeziku.

Najprej bi se rad zahvalil g. predsedniku Državnega sveta, da nam je omogičil organizacijo tega posveta.

SDBP je bil ustanovljen leta 2003, z namenom, da se v njem srečujemo predstavniki gospodarstva, ki so naklonjeni prijateljstvu in sodelovanju med obema državama. Je bilateralna organizacija, ki je prisotna v obeh državah in tako izraža čezmejni duh razmišljanja.

Tako Slovenija, kot Nizozemska sta majhni državi, zato se oboji zavedamo, da moramo odpreti svoja vrata in širiti svoje poslovanje preko državnih mej. Bil sem prijetno presenečen, ko sem pri sodelovanju s High Tech Campusom v Eindhovnu, Philipsovem mestu razvoja, opazil, da so bili od 10 izbranih start-upov iz celotne Evrope kar trije iz Slovenije. Takšen podatek samo dokazuje, da imate Slovenci velik potencial tudi v razvojno inovativni dejavnosti. Na Nizozemskem gradijo vaši mladi državljani dobro ime Slovenije, seveda pa je potrebno to ime in znanje tudi ustrezno prezentirati in se učinkovito predstaviti na tujih trgih.

S tem namenom SDBP podpira projekt Rotterdam od business school. Študentje te fakultete želijo z izdelanim poslovnim načrtom pomagati slovenskim podjetjem pri vstopu na nizozemski trg. SDBP je v tem projektu most, ki povezuje podjetnike obeh držav.

V mojih očeh je Slovenija država z visoko stopnjo znanja in idej, zato lahko slovenska podjetja pogumno vstopajo na tuje trge. Pri tem je odveč strah pred velikimi gospodarstvi. V rezultatih se namreč lahko enakovredno kosate y njimi.

Obstaja angleški izraz »business makes politics« (gospodarstvo ustvarja politiko), danes pa se sprašujemo, kako lahko politika pomaga gospodarstvu. Na tem dogodku bomo diskutirali, kako lahko slovenska ekonomska diplomacija pomaga pri vzpodbujanju medsebojnega gospodarskega sodelovanja in razvoja med obema državama.

Upam, da bomo imeli konstruktivno diskusijo ter da bodo sklepi tega dogodka prenešeni v Državni zbor. Kot rezultat naše skupne aktivnosti pa si želim, da bom pogosteje slišal slovenske besede tudi v nizozemskem gospodarskem okolju.”

 

National Council – Speech, 25.1.2019 (Marc W. Van Rijnsoever, President SDBP)

 

“Dear Mr. President of the National Council Alojz Kovšca,
Dear Mr. Foreign Minister dr. Miro Cerar,
Dear Mr. State Secretary of the Ministry of Development and Technology mag. Aleš Cantarutti,
Dear Mrs. Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Republic of Slovenia Ida de Kat,
Dear Mrs. Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Karin van Rooyen,
Dear Mrs. mag. Alenka Suhadolnik,
Dear Mrs. Mojca Markizetti,
Dear Mr. Jernej Tovšak,
Excellence, respected guests,

I am pleased that you responded to the invitation,

All good morning, goede morgen … in the Slovenian mountains I learned to greet each other in your own language.

First of all, I would like to thank the President of the National Council, to enable us to organize this consultation.

The SDBP was established in 2003 with the aim of set up a meeting platform for representatives of the business, looking forward to friendship and economic cooperation between the two countries. It is a bilateral organization being present in both countries and which thus expresses the cross-border spirit of thinking.

Slovenia, like the Netherlands, is a small country, so both of us are aware that we need to open our doors and expand our business across national borders. I was pleasantly surprised when working at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven (the research city of Philips),  I noticed that out of 10 selected start-ups from all over Europe the organization selected not less than three from Slovenia. Such data stresses that you Slovenians have a great potential in the developmental and innovative area as well. In the Netherlands, your young co-citizens are building a good image of Slovenia which name and knowledge must also be properly presented and effectively explored on foreign markets.

For this purpose, the SDBP supports the project initiated by the Rotterdam Business School. Students of this faculty now assist Slovenian companies to approach the Dutch market through preparing a business plan. In this project, the SDBP acts as a linking-pin between the businesses from both countries.

In my eyes, Slovenia is a country which has a high level of knowledge and ideas, so Slovenian companies can boldly enter foreign markets. There should be no hesitation in respect of bigger economies. Looking to your track record, you can equally match them.

There is an English term ‘business makes politics’, but today we are discussing how politics can help the business. At this event, we will discuss how Slovenian economic diplomacy can help to promote mutual economic cooperation and the development between the two countries.

I hope that we will have a constructive discussion and that the conclusions of this event will be transferred to the National Assembly. As a result of our joint activity, it would be great if I can hear the Slovene language more often in the Dutch economic environment.”

National Council – Speech, 25.1.2019 (Marc W. Van Rijnsoever, President SDBP)

Conference “EU General Data Protection Regulation Impact on Businesses”

20 March 2018, Best Western Premier Hotel Slon, Ljubljana

In GDPR or privacy policy, Data Subjects are the real threat not public officials. Data subject, the person, is the one that will report you, officials will seldomly visit on their own (William Bello). Don’t expand the data processing activities outside the legal basis set in the contract.
Learning about the GDPR and it’s effect on businesses at the GDPR conference, organised by SDBP – Slovene Dutch Business Platform and Drolec Sladojević Law Firm.

Passing of Hans Heijkoop

19th of January 2018 in Dubai

It is with deep, deep sadness that we inform you about the passing of our dear friend and former SDBP member Hans Heijkoop. He passed away the 19th of January 2018 in Dubai. We remember Hans as a friendly, real cosmopolitan and open minded person who always wore a smile. Our thoughts are with his wife Klaudia and his two young sons, Ruben and Jon. We wish them all strength possible.

From Slovenia, with hope

Ljubljana, 27 November 2017

Marie-Louise Bemelmans-Videc’s journey back to her Slovenian roots

This Monday our honored guests from the Netherlands, Marie-Louise Bemelmans-Videc, took the audience on a journey back to her Slovenian roots. She outlined the expected and many unexpected challenges her family has faced as a result of this quest for a new life. Being a successful politician, academic professor and writer, she clearly showed how a underprivileged family situation can change from one generation to the next.
As the audience began to ask engaging questions, an open discussion began to gradually unfold that touched upon highly relevant and current issues such as the ongoing migration crisis and differences in culture. Luckily Mrs. Bemelmans-Videc has also kept a strong connection with Slovenia and her family members living here, we too hope too see her again in the future. We would like to express our special thanks to Mrs. Bemelmans-Videc for her wise words and to ambassador Bart Twaalfhoven and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Slovenia for supporting the event.
To catch up on Mrs. Bemelmans-Videc and her book please refer to the following link: https://goo.gl/AyAeVK

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Company visit to Union brewery

June 19th 2017, Union Brewery in Ljubljana 
Last Monday SDBP – Slovene Dutch Business Platform members received a very interesting guided tour around the Union Experience museum and Union‘s production facilities. While going through the museum, we learned many new things such as beer culture and history in this region but also about Union’s corporate structure. We observed numerous antique artifacts used in the beer making process a long time ago.
The tour around the production plant was very informative as well. We were able see 1000s of bottles being filled in front of ours eyes in a matter of seconds, this was very impressive considering the high quality standards maintains while still pushing for a sustainable and ecological production.
We would like to express our special thanks to Martin P Hayes for making it all possible!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2nd Circular Change Conference

The 2nd Circular Change Conference

On May 11th and 12th,  our partners Circular Change hosted the fully packed Circular Change Conference of 2017. With over 500 participants at Ljubljana Castle Ljubljana, who will initiate a unique two-day journey through learning experiences and insights into the transformational challenges across different industries, arising from the transition to the circular economy. The second conference day is taking place in Maribor (Hotel Habakuk).

“Under the sponsorship of the Prime Minister of the Slovenian Government, Dr Miro Cerar, the 2nd International Circular Economy Conference is the perfect ground for selecting those “circular seeds” that can grow into sustainable solutions,” says the programme director Ladeja Godina Košir, Executive Director of Circular Change Platform before the beginning of the conference.

“Slovenia with the advantage of size (2 million population and the territory of 20.273 km²), though a significant economic complexity and privileged social cohesion, can offer itself as a pilot country for the deepest absorption of circular transition and become both a field of business opportunities and lessons to be learned and shared,” explains Godina Košir.

The conference participants, guided by over 30 speakers, internationally renowned leaders and co-creators of the circular transition will explore the systemic approach by tapping into circular economy platforms at local, urban, regional and international levels. They will learn about collaboration as a precondition for success in the context of circular business models and will dedicate to the evolution of circular cities.

 

2nd-CC-Conference0090-300x200
Panel discussion and debate with the audience moderated by Sergio Ferraris, Scientific journalist, Materia Rinnovabile – Renewable Matter

 

 

The conference will begin with the panel consisted of some of the most outstanding protagonists who will bring up case studies from the successful circular business transformation.

These are: Matej Šuštaršič from the Institute for pulp and paper, Michele Posocco from Favini, Melanie Seier Larsen from BCG and Markus Laubscher of Philips.

The introductory keynote speaker is Christiaan Kraaijenhagen, a Dutch circular economy expert and the author of a book “Circular Business”, which offers a practical 10-step approach for professionals in small, medium-sized and large organisations on how to initiate, lead and execute a circular transformation from pilot to circular businesses.

Kraaijenhagen is the founder and innovation strategist at Innoboost. He believes that the best way to innovate is to improve your customer’s experience. “Our drive is to leave people and planet better than we found them.”

Iain Gulland, CEO of Zero Waste Scotland, the winner of the Circulars Awards 2017: “Scotland as a circular country”, will introduce the afternoon workshop session.

“We will engage into the new narrative through case studies as the most appropriate learning and knowledge-transfer method, together with accomplished circular pioneers. Last but not least, we will discuss the effects and opportunities deriving from the ongoing disruption of conventional business schemes, seeing new roles for public-private partnerships, procurement, taxation and financial institutions,” concludes Godina Košir.

 

2nd-CC-Conference0068-1-300x200
Miro Cerar, Ladeja Godina Košir, Maja Makovec Brenčič and Tadej Slapnik

 

2nd Circular Change Conference by the numbers

The co-organiser of the second day, “Partnership for a green economy“, which is coordinated by State Secretary Tadej Slapnik at the Office of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, connects several ministries of the Slovenian Government with external stakeholders. Among others, there are also: Embassies of Italy and the Netherlands to Slovenia, ITA-Ice office in Ljubljana, AmCham Slovenia, The World Economic Forum, EBRD, Philips, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, The Boston Consulting Group, The Circular Valley, Sava Insurance, Pošta Slovenije and many others, who will engage in a 2-day dialogue, which will evolve across two Slovenian circular cities, Ljubljana and Maribor, with both municipalities actively participating in the event’s programme.Over 30 circular economy thought leaders on the stage will guide more than 500 participants from 10 countries through the two-day programme, which is a result of partnerships with over 50 international circular change makers.

 

New president & changes in team

March 29 2017, NLB CIP

Twelfth Annual General Assembly

We would like to thank all of those participating at our Twelfth Annual General Assembly. Following the stepping down of our former president Jernej Šmalc and following the procedures of the General Assembly, we would like to welcome our newly elected president Christiaan Kits Nieuwenkamp! Being a long-time SDBP alumnus with deep international experience, Christiaan will continue to lead the new SDBP to a great success. Please view Christiaan’s personal message for our members at the president’s page at this link.

In addition to Christiaan Kits Nieuwenkamp and the existing Executive Committee members, Ladeja Godina Košir, Uroš Zajec and Tim F. Zupančič we are excited to announce that we expanded our team with two hugely enthusiastic Dutch ladies.  Simone B. Michielen has a long history at SDBP who defines the very term Slovene-Dutch. Her being a lot in the Netherlands will allow us to deepen our connection with the Netherlands. Lastly, she will also help us strengthen our bilateral focus as she was and still is involved in many cross projects between the Netherlands and Slovenia. Mireille van Bremen is our our second addition to our team, she is a coach, social artist and graphic recorded living in Slovenia. Among other things, she will help us giving a professional shape to the results of our exclusive events.

With our team now being complete, we will make sure to create and deliver the best selected content that is most relevant to you, our members!

Doing Business in Slovenia

February 15th 2017, NLB CIP

Doing Business in Slovenia – Dutch Perspectives on Entrepreneurship and Business Culture

Round table discussion moderated by Ladeja Košir Godina

  • Martin P. Hayes, Finance Director at Heineken Group’s Brewery Laško Union
  • Jacob Westerlaken, Managing Director at International Insurance Consortium (IIC)
  • Ulla Hudina Kmetič, Economic Analyst at European Commission Representation in Slovenia
  • Andrej Lasič, Director of business operations with key clients at NLB

On Wednesday, February 15th 2017, we organized a fantastic event with with deep support of Embassy of the Netherlands in Slovenia. The main feature of the event was an eye-opening discussion moderated by Ladeja Košir Godina with speakers: Martin Hayes of Heineken group’s Laško Union brewery; Jacob Westerlaken, of International Insurance Consortium; Ulla Hudina Kmetič of The European Commission in Slovenia and Andrej Lasič of NLB. All speakers were able to share their experiences of operating in different business cultures. After engaging the audience, a  special emphasis was made on how business culture has been developed rather different in Slovenia and the Netherlands. Our esteemed guest Dr. Peter Kraljič helped the audience to understand what the historic sources for these different business cultures are, he exaplained how these aspects have gradually but deeply affected society as a whole.

The evening began with an opening speech from Martin Hayes in which he mentioned his vast experience of working for Heineken in the Netherlands. Despite the small geographical distance, the move to the Netherlands was almost a culture shock. This was mainly because contrary to the British, the Dutch are extremely direct when engaging in conversation. In his opinion in that aspect Slovenians are similar to the British where there is polite rerouting of the words chosen in conversations. Martin pointed out that he quickly adopted the Slovenian habit of dressing in full suits with ties for business meetings when he visited Slovenia for the first time. He then instantly regretted it as it was almost 40 degrees during the record breaking hot month of July 2015. As well as the formal dressing habit, he was also surprised by the strong perception of hierarchy. This is something that is almost nonexistent in the Netherlands, where the lowest level worker can have a conversation with CEO.

Soon after the other speakers joined Martin on the stage. Being a Dutch entrepreneur with vast international experience, Jacob Westerlaken quickly confirmed all Martin’s perception of the Slovenia business culture. However, Jacbob pointed out that compared to the Netherlands “where nobody listens to manager at all” or Russia “where everybody listens to managers but nobody thinks for himself”, Slovenia could be the right balance of achieving company goals while still having an open mind. Jacob also shared his disbelief when he saw how much stress is put on the yearly review of who earned the most in the year. Together with the Martin they came to the same observation that there is some sense of envy to success in Slovenia, this was later confirmed by the other two speaker as well.

As an economic analyst at the European Commission, Ulla Hudina Kmetič mentions that the Slovenians are both conservative and risk-takers depending on which segment we take into account. She mentions that on the demand side, especially the startups and SMEs are definitely risk-takers. She refers to the many new Slovenian startups that became very successful over the last years. According to her research however, the supply side of finance, especially equity market is more underdeveloped compared to the Netherlands. She mentions the Netherlands as an example to strive for where capital market is much more evolved. Ulla Hudina also presented the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and gave examples of equity funds in the Netherlands that have benefited from the EFSI support. Such opportunities could be explored also in Slovenia.

Andrej Lasič has not been operating in the Netherlands himself, however he confirmed that the Dutch business culture and approach to business is very direct. Andrej was involved in the acquisition of Laško Union Brewery by the Heineken group. According to him the process was done in a very professional and efficient manner. Comparing the countries with regards to banking sector, he mentions that Slovenians are conservative with favoring bank deposit savings by 90% over other savings or investments. The Dutch are relatively more in favor making small investments as a proportion of their savings rather depositing It all at the bank.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.