Seeking to expand and develop international commercial opportunities for Slovak businesses, the Technological Information Promotion System (TIPS) provides a valuable and inexpensive tool to facilitate a multitude of worldwide business contacts. An important resource for nearly all Slovak businesspeople, TIPS collects vital information about its clients and disseminates it to its offices around the world. TIPS, which started up in mid April, supports small- and medium-sized business transactions and facilitates contacts between Slovak businesses and the international industrial and commercial sector.
Established under the auspices of the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, TIPS offices are located worldwide, concentrated mainly in Latin America and some countries in Asia, Africa and eastern Europe. According to Ivan Lacko, director of Slovakia's TIPS bureau, all TIPS bureaus are able to access and request information concerning production and services of companies on the TIPS network.
"We need to inform our small and medium-sized enterprises about business opportunities, mainly in eastern Europe, because we think that there is a big potential here to create a business exchange there," Lacko said.
TIPS gathers extensive information on each company in its network to create a company profile.
"The biggest benefit is that companies in the TIPS network can present to other TIPS offices detailed information about their company's production and a description of the goods to be sold or which are requested," Lacko said.
Each company profile contains contact telephone numbers, the company's history, its sales, production, total volume, and other information. Lacko stressed the network's reach. "In our network, we have more than 12,000 offers and requests for business contacts and because we cooperate with the Agency for the Support of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, we [have access to] a larger database than ours." Another big plus with TIPS is its cost. A company can get on the network for 500 Sk, and pays 100 Sk for information on any other registered company.
Although the Slovak system is only six weeks old, many companies are already flirting with it, Lacko said. "We have asked for information from TIPS, have received some and we hope to be able to make use of it in the future," said Emil Cino, the general director of Malokarpatský Vinársky Podnik, a major Slovak wine producer in Pezinok.
"Everything is based on direct contact between the buyer and seller," Lacko stressed. "This means there is no agency...asking for some commission. It is direct support for businesses." According to Lacko, a new service is already being added. Starting next month, for an additional 200 Sk a year, each company will be able to have its own web page at the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
TIPS offers two other services: the Import-Export Consortium and the TIPS Show. The Import-Export Consortium groups local companies with similar activities to carry out specific import-export operations. This service enables enterprises to participate in trade operations which may be more important and sustainable than those usually organized.
The TIPS Show promotes products from central and eastern Europe by exhibiting them around the world. All TIPS users are eligible to participate in this promotional event.
5. Jun 1997 at 0:00 | Jake Slegers