Business practices and etiquette in the Slovak Republic are a cross between those of western Europe and the USA and eastern Europe and Russia. While English is increasingly accepted as a business language in the Bratislava area, German is more common throughout the country. Russian is widely understood, but may not always be welcomed. Many Slovak companies have English speakers among their top managers.
Successful business in the Slovak Republic generally requires the establishment of a good personal relationship and a feeling of mutual trust. Social conversation prior to business is the norm and launching directly into business may impede the development of a good personal relationship with the business partner.
To initiate and maintain effective business relations, you should have regular face-to-face meetings and maintain frequent telephone and email contacts in between visits. After an initial meeting, written summaries of goals, objectives and points of agreement or disagreement are encouraged to minimise misunderstandings between business parties.
Dress conservatively for official meetings. During meetings with business partners, in banks, public offices and during official or cultural events men wear business suits with tie.
Use surnames until you are invited to use first names and titles and positions, as these are highly regarded and routinely appear on business cards. Ask if a meeting can be conducted in English and provide an interpreter if necessary.
Do not arrange a visit during the summer holiday months of July and August. Be aware that many companies are closed between 24 December and 2 January.
Setting up in the Slovak Republic
Setting yourself up to do business is a complex, but perfectly achievable, undertaking requiring plenty of planning and forward thinking. Obtaining the necessary permits and papers and setting up appropriate entities takes time and people considering doing business in the Slovak Republic should allow adequate time to be ready by their desired deadlines. Always check the legal, tax and accountancy regime well in advance, but get regular updates as the law can change frequently.
Austrade is prepared to advise you and search for adequate partner for your business activities. The partner search will depend on the intention to export/trade, establish a permanent presence or purchase a business or company in the Slovak Republic. Permits or licences are required, which may include work/residency permits, trade licences and industry-specific permits relating to financial services regulations or environmental regulations, etc.
Banking and finance
The competitive landscape in the Slovak Republic is dominated by three institutions:
Vseobecna uverova Banka (VUB) is a subsidiary of Banca Intesa (Italy)
Slovenska Sporitelna is owned by Erste Bank (Austria)
Tatra Banka is a member of Raiffeissen Bank (Austria)
The top three banks in the Slovak market have strong positions, but are not dominant.
Links and resources
Government, business and trade
Ministry of Economy
Government Office of the Slovak Republic
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Transport, Construction & Regional Development
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO)
News and media
Spectator - the Slovak Spectator is Slovakia's English-language newspaper. It is published weekly and covers local news, culture and business.
TASR (official news agency)
Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.