Business shared centres should go to the regions

The government adopted a concept to support the business service centres in July 2016, introducing 21 specific measures in three main areas.

Most business shared centres are in Bratislava and Košice.Most business shared centres are in Bratislava and Košice. (Source: TASR)

The government wants to persuade companies to move their activities linked to the business services sector to Slovakia.

The government adopted a concept to support the business service centres (BSCs) in July 2016, introducing 21 specific measures in three main areas, said Rastislav Chovanec, state secretary of the Economy Ministry, at the conference organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bratislava in late November 2016.

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The aim of the concept is to help the BSCs grow in Slovakia. They currently employ more than 40,000 people with mostly university education, he added, as reported by the TASR newswire.

“We want to focus on attracting new companies from this sphere, but we also see a big potential in the development of already established investors in industrial production so they bring other activities to Slovakia concerning BSCs,” Chovanec told TASR.

This means that the companies will not only produce in Slovakia, but also offer services for their subsidiaries that reside in other countries.

“This will help us stabilise the foreign investors in Slovakia more,” Chovanec added.

Yet he sees a problem in the fact that most investors are interested in Bratislava or Košice. To increase the attractiveness of regions, the Economy Ministry plans to cooperate with universities in the individual regions. If the BSCs were established there, it would certainly boost employment and also development of the regions, Chovanec said.

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Another task is to secure sufficient labour force for BSCs. The state plans to look for appropriate people among school graduates and also the temporarily unemployed.

“There are various models for us to secure that the companies directly participate in educating future employees,” Chovanec said, as quoted by TASR.

This includes the expansion of the dual education scheme to the service sector, or various innovative forms of requalification of jobless people so they will be able to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a certain type of job, the state secretary added.

Moreover, the legislative changes should help develop the BSCs. The amendment to the law on investment aid, for example, should enable companies from this sector to also receive stimuli from the government.

Changes to employment of foreigners coming from the countries outside the European Union should also help the BSCs, particularly those that want to use experts from other subsidiaries of their parent company to train employees, Chovanec claimed, as reported by TASR.

Low flexibility is one of the biggest problems the companies associated in the Business Service Centres Forum currently perceive.

“The time horizons that are currently set by the laws are slightly limiting for us and, unfortunately, our parent companies then choose localities other than Slovakia to launch new projects and activities,” its head Gabriel Galgóci said, as quoted by TASR.

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