Pittsburgh, 16 May (STA) - A delegation representing 15 Slovenian companies will wrap up a business mission to the US with a visit to Westinghouse corporation on Friday after making many contacts with partners in the US federal states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. An accord to help Slovenian businesses get into the US market has also been signed.
The agreement between the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia (AmCham), which was involved in the organisation of the mission, and the Akron Development Cooperation is designed to promote cooperation in economic development and help companies from both countries enter each other's markets.
Support would for example be supplied to US companies wanting to establish a centre for Central and Eastern Europe in Slovenia, while AmCham director Ajša Vodnik said Slovenian companies would benefit from "soft landing" with the support of people who know Slovenia and quality of its companies.
Vodnik signed the accord with Akron Development Cooperation boss Robert Y. Bowman in Ohio on Tuesday as part of the first meeting with local business and political officials. Bowman, who has visited Slovenia several times, said it cold serve as an excellent springboard to Central and South Eastern Europe.
The delegation also visited the headquarters of Goodyear and the Akron Global Business Accelerator, after already stopping in Cleveland. On Thursday they attended a reception for the opening of the Slovenian honorary consulate in Pittsburgh.
Slovenian businessmen highlighted the importance of personal contacts in entering the US market. Marko Drobnič, CEO of aluminium manufacturer Talum, said such form of state support was very welcome. "Personal contacts are very important for the US market and if they open with the help of diplomacy the better."
Talum already does business with a partner in Youngstown, Ohio, which manufactures aluminium panels and tubes based on Talum's technology, but would like to launch own production in North America within a couple of years. He also believes that Slovenians should be bolder when entering the global market.
In Pittsburgh the delegation met Petra Mitchell, who moved with her family to the US when she was five. An engineer by education, she heads Catalyst Connection, a private non-profit corporation that helps industrial transformation after the decline of steel industry in the region.
Mitchell will be of great help to Slovenian companies wanting to get into the market. Catalyst Connection is part of the national network to support companies. "Through our networks and understanding of business in the US and Slovenia we can link customers and buyers, partners, producers," she said.
Today, the delegation will hold talks at the Slovene National Benefit Society (SNPJ), the largest Slovenian fraternal benefit society in the US, which was set up 110 years ago.
"The business mission was sent to this part of the US, Ohio and Pennsylvania, also because of the strong Slovenian community, a good basis for further development of relations and that is why we have also opened consulate honorary in Pittsburgh," Consul General Jure Žmauc said.
The business delegation visiting the US comprises officials from companies Avbreht & Zajc, Creatoorlabs, Doctrina, D-IMEX, Donar, Fibmarkt, Insol, Kolektor Etra, MZK Elektro, Numip, SMM, Talum, Tecos and TKK Srpenica.
The project was organised by the Slovenian American Business Association, the CEED entrepreneurship centre, the SPIRT agency for the promotion of investment and tourism, AmCham Slovenia, the Slovenian Consulate General in Cleveland and the Slovenian Embassy in Washington.