Ivan Barbaric: Croatian Chamber of Commerce Adapted Communication

By 8 November 2020

As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak writes on the 7th of November, 2020, the development of the online platform Go Global - Go Virtual for B2B meetings presented itself as a decent occasion in which to talk with Ivan Barbaric, Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for International Affairs and the EU. During the conversation, Ivan Barbaric didn't comment on anything outside the scope of his own work, except on the measures of the Croatian Government in order to try to help the economy during the coronavirus crisis within the framework of EU policies and perspectives.

Have the international activities of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in this period been hindered due to the fact that fairs aren't being held and economic delegations aren't being organised?

Circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic stopped regular activities and established practices, but improved communication and accelerated the application of digital platforms. At the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, we quickly adapted to these new circumstances and saw the opportunity in online connection, as such, we created an online platform for B2B meetings Go Global - Go Virtual.

How does the HGK Go Global - Go Virtual platform work?

With the support of the European Entrepreneurship Network, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce launched a platform for online B2B meetings on the markets for which Croatian businessmen have shown the greatest interest. In the first survey, we defined the markets of Slovenia, Russia, Austria, Germany and the countries of the Visegrad Group as key ones. The goal is to sustain foreign activity and accelerate the recovery of the Croatian economy. The platform enables foreign customers to find qualified Croatian suppliers, meet potential partners, and discover new products and services. Each edition begins with invitations to Croatian companies that bring their profiles, activities and interests for cooperation to the platform.

Can you tell us what activities you held thanks to that platform, as well as some of your plans?

We held meetings with Slovenia, Russia and the countries of the Visegrad Group. When we analyse the profiles of companies, imports, exports or distributors, we can see that this platform is by far the most interesting to exporters, in the case of Slovenia, almost 90 percent of the companies in the forum were interested in exporting. At times, it's important that they reach their potential partners through a platform backed by institutions, Croatian ones and those belonging to foreign chambers. We're now preparing for Austria, Germany and Israel, with the proviso that in 2021 we'll be able to identify additional markets in agreement with our companies.

Are there any concrete results?

I'll single out the most successful example of this approach. In the midst of the lockdown, we connected Vuplast with a French hospital that was looking for a supplier of soluble bags for biohazardous items. Recently, at the conference of the European Entrepreneurship Network, which operates within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, they were named the best entrepreneurial story in all of Europe. They also reached out to their new Swiss partners through EEN. This is an example of how the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, through its strong international network and contacts, helps out with exports. This innovative company recognised the opportunity, designed the product, and we opened the international door for it.

You say that there has been great response from Croatian enterprises when it comes to using HGK Go Global - Go Virtual. How many of them participate in the meetings?

Most of them were interested in meetings with the countries which make up the Visegrad Group, 171 registered Croatian companies and 144 companies from the Visegrad Group, and more than 500 virtual meetings were held. Regarding online meetings with Russia, there were more than 250 registered companies and more than 400 meetings held, while more than 90 companies participated in B2B meetings with Slovenia.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.