Croatian Entrepreneurs Ready to Fight Growing Crisis

By 14 October 2022

Zagreb, October 13, 2022 (GIA) – The growing crisis should be used as an opportunity! The speakers of the Entrepreneurial Mindset conference, the fourth edition of which was held in Zagreb's Lauba, had the subtitle Unbreakable. More than 20 extremely successful entrepreneurs from various fields, from IT to education and the hotel industry to show business, shared their vision of success in challenging times with 500 entrepreneurs, businessmen, and young people. The conference was organized by the media platform Poduzetnik in cooperation with program partner EY Croatia and Algebra.


While the world fears the extent of the new crisis, entrepreneurs are pushed forward by their indomitable spirit. It is their obligation, they explained, towards employees and society.

"Companies do not exist because of the founder and his family, but because of the wider social community! Over the years, the responsibility of the founder grows, so companies must last because of other people", agreed Miljenko Borščak and Stiven Toš, winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 award, whose company Bomark Pak became the largest producer of stretch film in Europe this spring. The results follow the company's large investment cycle, i.e. investment in the construction of plants and warehouses. Bomark Pak will realize exports worth more than HRK 1 billion this year.


(Entrepreneurial Mindset conference founder, Ognjen Bagatin)

Davor Tremac, CEO and co-founder of the company Fonoa, which deals with tax automation, told those who are just starting out in entrepreneurship to live locally and work globally: "You only live once, but your ambitions must be global." Don't wait years to get out of Croatia onto the foreign market!"

"I don't remember a crisis like this - from the coronavirus pandemic and war to interrupted supply chains and rising prices of raw materials to inflation. We don't even know what lies ahead. We need to know our long-term goal and focus on the short-term one. In order to be able to meet business goals, we need to take care of the organization. This is where good leaders are important to us," said Lada Tedeschi Fiori, member of the Atlantic Grupa Management Board. Speaking about leadership, she pointed out that it has no gender, but that it should be responsible, correct, and long-term sustainable.

Serial entrepreneur Jaka Andabak said that he remembers difficult times from childhood, but that man always found a solution. Commenting on the current situation, he pointed out that entrepreneurs are in favor of a free market, but that state mechanisms should work so that there is no chaos in the market.


Knowledge irreplaceable in the development of innovations

The conference participants also touched on education in the role of strengthening the entrepreneurial climate in the country. Hrvoje Josip Balen, founder and co-owner of Algebra and EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020, confirmed that investment in knowledge is growing in Croatia, and that the war in Ukraine confirmed the value of the Latin saying "I carry everything with me".

Stjepan Orešković, co-owner of M+ Group, emphasized the inextricable connection between entrepreneurship and education: "The best investments are in ourselves! Nothing without hard study and hard knowledge!"

Zlatko Hrkać, CEO of SofaScore, said that you don't have to be the first in something, but you have to be the best. He told future entrepreneurs: "Whoever wants to swim in entrepreneurial waters, should stop expecting success overnight."

Nikola Kapraljević, CEO of Infinum, wants that company to become one of the largest digital agencies in the world. Infinum already employs more than 400 people in 7 offices around the world.

Strong cooperation between large companies and entrepreneurs

Dajana Mrčela, president of the Management Board of Saponia i Kandit, and Maja Šuput Tatarinov, entrepreneur, presenter and singer, presented how successful cooperation between large companies and entrepreneurs can be, in a conversation with moderator Ana Radišić on the panel called I Can - I Want - I Know.

Maja Šuput Tatarinov explained that a man whose life is under the spotlight must toughen up in order to know how to deal with the stories of people who do not know him. In business circles, she is recognized as a person of inexhaustible energy, and she herself admits that she wakes up every morning with a hundred ideas and wishes. She adds: "When you love what you do, you attract good things."

Dajana Mrčela described the cooperation with her as a great thing. Mrčel's attitude towards work was also influenced by the fact that he comes from a family that was involved in sports. He loves beating the competition and conquering new markets. She is proud of the fact that while many companies in Slavonia struggle to find employees, in Saponia and Kandit most workers stay until retirement.


Challenges of management transfer in family companies

Entrepreneurs from Serbia and Croatia recounted what the transfer of ownership and management in family businesses looks like.

Nikola Anđelković, director of the Anđelković AI company and winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 award, who took over the management of the company from his father, said: "A successful family business is built over generations for a reason and everyone contributes, and comparing the success of individual generations is not healthy because they differ in approach, time and circumstances. Who is better - father or son?! These are not the same disciplines! Someone created the company with his great energy, and we, the heirs, are the managers. If I do things Dad's way, it will limit us. He is satisfied with our upgrade in the management of the company. True leadership means giving people a free hand."

Brothers Jakov and Juraj Urbanke from HSM informatics discovered that the key to successfully running a family business is to have different opinions, but to know that family members who work together are on the same page.

The leading award program for successful entrepreneurial stories

Berislav Horvat, Country Managing Partner of EY Croatia, invited entrepreneurs to submit their own and others' successful entrepreneurial stories to the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition. Applications are open until the end of November, and the winner of the eighth edition, who will defend the colors of Croatian entrepreneurship in Monaco, side by side with the world's leading entrepreneurs, will be announced at a ceremony in March 2023.

Ognjen Bagatin, the founder of the Entrepreneurial Mindset conference, emphasized that an ecosystem should be built where the excellent help the excellent in order to bring Croatia closer to developed European countries in terms of well-being, income, and ease of living: "True leaders are strong, durable and resilient, they believe in themselves and their future, they are truly unbreakable - a guide for all of us towards a better and better Croatia."

Petar Pavić, co-founder of Star Digital Group, urged other entrepreneurs to, if possible, provide scholarships to students who want to study abroad.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset conference was organized by the media platform Poduzetnik in cooperation with Algebra and program partner EY Hrvatska.

Source: Millenium promotion Photo: Krume Ivanovski

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