Slovakia is not the first place that springs to mind when you think of international business but although this country runs under the radar of most other European capitals with their branded business hubs, Slovakia is fast becoming a place where entrepreneurs are drawn to open their trade businesses and industrial companies.
Why is Slovakia so attractive to entrepreneurs?
One of the main reasons Slovakia is perfect for foreign entrepreneurs is its prime location. Bordered by Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic, Slovakia links both East and West Europe which allows easy access for trade routes. Coupled with the fact it has four international airports, an excellent rail transport system which provides both national and international lines, and two international ports which offer access to the North Sea and Black Sea, you can see why it makes sense to operate out of Slovakia if you have an import/export business.
Slovakia is also leading the way in industry, being the world's largest per-capita car producer. Last year alone a total of 1,110,000 cars were manufactured in the country. Since waving goodbye to its communist past, Slovakia is now part of the Schengen Area and the Slovak economy is also one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe since switching its currency to the Euro – the world’s 2nd most traded currency.
Other businesses that have flocked to Slovakia include electrical engineering companies, oil refineries, steel plants, and IT companies. Multi-nationals such as Volkswagen, Samsung, IBM, US Steel, Amazon, Zurich Insurance and AT&T have set up sites in Slovakia, attracted to the skilled and educated labour force, the high density of universities and research facilities, low wages and low tax rates. The Slovak government also opens its arms to foreign entrepreneurs and strongly encourages foreign investment, considering it as one of the driving forces of the economy.
In terms of living as well as working, Slovakia was ranked in 2020 by the International Monetary Fund as the 38th richest country in the world (out of 187 countries), due to a very high standard of living with a democratic and peaceful outlook. The country has a comprehensive social security system and citizens are provided with universal health care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leaves according the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Slovakia also provides a very attractive landscape to live in. As well as the energetic cities, Slovakia also includes, mountains, lakes, forests, caves, medieval towns and castles, folk architecture and the tourist hotspots of their natural spas and ski resorts. More than 5,4 million tourists visit Slovakia each year, and the most popular destinations are the capital Bratislava and the famous High Tatras mountain ranges.
How to open a company in Slovakia
The most frequent type of company is open for a foreign entrepreneur is the limited liability company called an SRO which requires a minimum of EUR 5000 in capital to be set up.
Other possibilities of company structure include a subsidiary or joint-stock company (AS). Getting proper advice on which structure best suits your business is advised, including tax and legal frameworks. The usual stages of incorporation of a company are as follows:
- Business Consultation
- Document Translations
- Application for a Slovak tax number
- Registration of company
- Opening a business bank account
You will also need to consider whether you need a work or residence permit. If you’re already an EU citizen, you won’t need a permit. But if you are outside the EU then in order to open a company you’ll need a work permit and if you want to live in Slovakia for more than three months, you need a residence permit.
Slovakia ranks 45th out of 190 economies in terms of ease of doing business, according to the 2020 World Bank Doing Business Report but it’s always easier to get someone else to deal with paperwork and language barriers as well as finding office space (or setting up a virtual office), sorting out accounting plus recruitment.
That’s where we come in. With our local agents on the ground who are experts at opening companies in Slovakia, they can source everything you need. In fact, for over a decade, we’ve helped businesses open up and expand to more than 30 countries worldwide. If you need more information on company and branch formation, registering a business address, opening a bank account, tax advice or help in finding a chartered accountant, please click on the links, and either call us directly on 0033 (0)1 53 57 49 10 or email us from our contact page.