Thursday, 11 May 2023

Calling All Cyclists to the Baranja Rural Trail, :BRUT 2023

 May 11, 2023 - A challenge for all cyclists at this year's Baranja Rural Trail, meet :BRUT 2023.

For the third year in a row, specifically on June 17th, 2023, in the east of Croatia, in Beli Manastir, a gravel/XC cycling race called Baranja Rural Trail or better known as :BRUT is being held. The race was brought to life by cycling enthusiasts from the Baranja and Tourism Association (BIT) to provide all cyclists and guests from Croatia and abroad with an excellent experience of eastern Croatia, specifically Baranja, as an excellent cycling destination.


The first edition of the race was held in 2021 with the participation of 110 competitors from all over Croatia. In 2022, 140 participants took part in :BRUT, and in 2023, the organizers expect an even greater number of competitors from Croatia and surrounding countries.

If you thought that Baranja was flat and that cycling through it would be easy, you were wrong. With an elevation profile of 500 to 1000 meters, the brutal race route passes through unpaved roads, surduk (a carved path on a mountainside), forests, and fields.

During the ride, competitors choose between a shorter route of 25 km or a brutal route of 50 km - depending on how they feel. :BRUT can be ridden on all types of MTB, CX, and gravel bikes, including e-bikes. The surface on which :BRUT is ridden is mostly dirt road, with only a small part being paved or covered with medium-grained gravel. Depending on the weather conditions, the surface can be softer or harder, and in case of rain, muddy.


For all those who come to Baranja a day earlier, on Friday, June 16th, 2023, a night individual time trial (ITT) called :BRUT Stars will be held. On a short circular track in the Baranja vineyards, 1200 meters long, competitors will compete in two rides, and the participants of the final will secure the first starting row in the :BRUT race.

Registrations for :BRUT2023 are open and can be found on the website If you are interested, hurry with your registration as the number of competitors is limited.


":BRUT is more than just a cycling race. :BRUT represents the beauty of Baranja and goes beyond the outstanding gastronomic and enological offers. :BRUT is a story of challenge, perseverance, and the success of every competitor. :BRUT is pure emotion!":BRUT team




Thursday, 11 May 2023

Pizza Festival Zagreb: City Centre to Become Little Italy

Zagreb, May 11 2023 (Press Release) - Zagreb’s citizens and visitors will soon have the opportunity to enjoy supreme Italian pizza, have a romantic date in Italian style with backdrop of dreamy canzone, while appreciating unbelievably creamy artisanal gelato or a proper classic Negroni.

From 18th till 28th of May J.J. Strossmayer’s Square in Croatia’s capital will host the second Pizza Festival Zagreb that brings creative and rich gastronomic experience, irresistible music delights, charity events and celebrities.


This unique festival dedicated to the most famous dish in the world will transform Zagreb’s J.J. Strossmayer square into a proper Little Italy. Meticulously selected, experienced team of chefs and pizzaiolos will gather just for this occasion, and offer their newest creations. Apart from pizzas of all kinds and styles that you could imagine, they will delight you with original pastas, sourdough focaccias, and artisanal gelatos.


This truly unique gastronomic experience will be offered by: Mrs. Fogg pizzeria and bar - with their special Festival edition of pizzas in baking tin: Margherita, signature Pizza Bacon-Friarelli, Pepperoni, and one special kind every day. The uniqueness of their pizza, among other things, lies in the five-day fermentation of the dough, love and enthusiasm. Italian restaurant Al Dente will present pizza Contemporanea that is being described as contemporary Napoletana. They will also offer mouthwatering Pizza Fritta.


You can expect to be delighted with creative selection of unparalleled pizzas made by passionate pizza enthusiasts from Pizza Social Club, followed closely by Full Circle Pizza by Marko Palfi i Lana Bene. Marin Medak and RougeMarin will be making five kinds of pizza Siciliana that was one of the greatest hits at last year’s Pizza Festival. Bite of Fun by Melkior Bašic will seduce you with 6 kinds of pizza and 5 kinds of pasta. Specialty that they are keen to share with you is Wheel of Cheese pasta - homemade pasta immersed in a wheel of Grana Padano cheese. Poma Food Boutique will amaze you with completely new and creative concept and tastes of their Sourdough Focaccias: Pistachio, Roastbeef, Truffle and Caprese. With the rising trend of plant-based diet, flexitarian way of living, caring about environment and our bodies Begs Plant Based are fully dedicated and invested in becoming a small window of big plant-based world out there. They will amaze you with combinations like Meet The Fig and Beg’s Salmon & Avocado pizzas, and are welcoming everyone - whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or a hardcore meat lover - because for all of you they have something of interest. To complete this Festa Italiana there will be Pizza Fritta - Ispirato al Napoli and Luxury Gelato Pri suncu with their artisanal premium ice creams. You will be able to enjoy full flavour and balanced textures of perfectly smooth and creamy pistachio, almond and honey, Baileys, white chocolate with cinnamon and cocoa. They will also offer Croatia’s first popsicles.


The musical part of programe Festa Italiana is created by Ozren Kanceljak and is entirely dedicated to Italian music. On Thursday, the 18th of May DJ Kanca will entertain you with FESTA FELICITÀ, programme that includes hits from Dean Martin to Maneskin. On Friday the 19th of May you can enjoy in TUTTI FRUTTI BY DJ Robert Mareković, Saturday 20th of May is reserved for a musical delight by The Griff ZUCCHERO Celebration Band - genius musicians from Istria and their frontman Goran Griff Kauzlarić. This singer-songwriter, talented guitar and sax player also looks like a twin brother of Zuchhero and promises you unforgettable night of fun.


Sunday the 21st of May will be hosting Festa Domenica, Monday the 22nd L’ITALIANO, Tuesday 23rd PORTO AZZURRO, and on Wednesday the 24th of May GIORNO FESTIVO. After DJ Kanca’s BUONA SERA onThursday the 25th, on Friday the 26th you can dance at GLORIA PARTY by DJ Stanko Bondža. Saturday the 27th is reserved for DJ Filip Jelaš and Jovannotti Beach Party. Festival will end on Sunday, the 28th of May with FESTA DOMENICA.


To make sure that nobody stays thirsty there will be Gingle Bells with their amazing signature cocktails, Šoškić Winery will present their new premium wines and a Central Bar will offer you ice cold Staropramen beer.

We are extremly proud to be able to announce Celebrity Pizza Challenge for Down Association. During 18th, 23rd, 24th and 25th for two hours (14-16h) celebrities will be making their own signature pizzas. By trying pizzas made by actor Goran Bogdan, influencer Sandi Pego, TV presenters Antonija Blaće and Minea you will contribute to Down Association - those are more than great reasons not to miss this challenge. During the whole Festival there will be Zagi Kids Zone - offering creative workshops, magician shows, trampoline and bungee trampoline.

Join us at this unique Festa Italiana starting on the 18th of May at 14:00 hours when the Festival will be officially opened by an Italian Embassy representative. Come and visit every day from noon till midnight, entrance is free and a smile on your face is guaranteed.


Follow us on our socials for daily updates

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Meet KolekTIRV, NGO for Transgender, Intersex Rights in Croatia

May 11, 2023 - Croatia is a conservative country, which can be intimidating for trans, intersex and gender-variant persons. A look at the overall situation, including official systems in place, through the eyes of Espi, a member of KolekTIRV, an NGO in Zagreb advocating for the rights of trans, intersex and gender-variant persons. 

You are a member of KolekTIRV, an NGO advocating for the rights of for trans, intersex, and gender-variant persons. Tell us firstly about how you got started, and about the work you do?

I took part in civic actions as an activist, after graduating from college, the TIRV had a job offer and so I applied. Our hierarchy isn't vertical, so I wouldn't particularly want to spend too much talking about this position as such, but instead about the problems we deal with. Recently, advocacy, legal protection and psychological support are the main pillars of our work, because in the public space there's an increasing level of attack on our rights and transphobia is rampant in politics. All of this has a direct consequence on the mental health of transgender people.


How big is the community you are helping?

It's honestly impossible to provide an exact number of transgender people in Croatia because some transgender people will never come out, and some people don't need to undergo legal or medical transition(s), so there are no statistics on the precise amount of transgender people living in this country.

The Ministry of Health, i.e. the National Health Council, which gives the final approval for a person to change their gender in their personal documents has kept such documents since 2015. Since that time, there's been a Rulebook (Pravilnik) which allows for the possibility for a person to have their gender altered in their personal documents. That has information that about 200 people in Croatia have made this change.

The Croatian Institute of Public Health has data that 0.005% of the population are transgender, and according to the literature, numbers a thousand times higher would be expected, meaning that around 0.1-2% of the population is expected to be transgender.

There's also data on minor transgender persons that don't conflict with other data. Experts from the List of Experts of the Ministry of Health who are responsible for providing healthcare for transgender children and young people have provided official data on 106 minors who have contacted them since the Ordinance came into existence due to suspicion of gender dysphoria. Seventy of those individuals have been confirmed to have gender dysphoria, that is, they've been confirmed to be transgender, and 41 of them are on hormone therapy. None of these people are younger than sixteen, so the information that is currently circulating in the public space is inaccurate and false.


How do you raise awareness for young people about these issues in Croatia?

Through the education of people within institutions that deal with upbringing and education, as well as through media appearances where we try to approach the situation with the aim of raising the level of general awareness and bringing the problems we face closer to young people. Primarily, however, the focus is on the adults who are actually raising these young people.

Croatia is quite a conservative country in many respects. What obstacles have you encountered in your professional work and daily life?

Professionally speaking, it's been known to happen that we have to spend all of our resources on maintaining our already earned rights, which, within political campaigns or building the careers of politicians, are used as a tool that these same actors use to score points in their own careers. Apart from the constant feeling of Sisyphean-esque work, which actually isn't the case, because when we look back over the last decade, a lot has happened in the field of trans rights and we've progressed as a society, I personally encounter transphobia, but I no longer attach too much importance to it. I learned that people are afraid of things they don't understand, so I try to educate people as much as possible and bring people closer to transgenderism.

There are some who would say that we live in a woke community, and that youngsters being transgender etc is a trend rather than a real thing. What are your thoughts on this?

I don't think anything about that, except that it was the same sentiment with the LGBT+ community just ten years ago. Any visibility in the society of a community is recognised as a "trend" at the very beginning, because we can't cope with new knowledge and we generally have difficulty adapting as people. I understand it from that perspective, especially when the public space is overflowing with transphobia. We're an example of good practice, there's been no increase in transgenderism among young people, there's finally a society in which young people can get out of gender-normative and heteronormative frameworks and become who they are through freedom, and not through coercion of any kind.


How does Croatia's system protect the community you serve, and is it very different from other countries in Europe?

The Law on State Registers regulates the possibility of changing gender designation in official/personal documents. What determines the procedure for changing the gender designation in documents is defined by the Rulebook on the method of collecting medical documentation and determining the conditions and assumptions for the changing of gender or living in a different gender identity.

Along with that Rulebook, Professional guidelines were issued for the preparation of opinions of healthcare professionals and psychologists on determining the conditions and assumptions for gender alteration and living in a different gender identity, as well as a list of experts who have experience working with transgender individuals.

The standards of healthcare of transgender and gender non-normative persons are issued by Wpath - the World Professional Organisation for the Health of Transgender Persons. It is the seventh edition, published back in 2012, according to which Croatia's Regulations and Guidelines were made. The eighth edition was published in 2022 and is currently in the process of being translated into Croatian.

Personal name changes are regulated by the Personal Name Act, and the Anti-Discrimination Act protects people from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. The Anti-Discrimination Act also ensures the protection and promotion of equality as the highest value of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia.

According to the recommendation of the European Union, most EU member states have the rights of transgender persons regulated by law, and for now, Croatia only has the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health. In addition to that, the European Court of Human Rights has established that EU member states must provide people with gender dysphoria access to medical procedures for gender adjustment and that the costs incurred should be paid out by their health insurance, which isn't yet regulated in this country, and the issue of gender identity is not and cannot be treated as a mere aesthetic question.

If you had a message for politicians to bring effective change, what would it be?

Certainly the first and most basic thing is that they don't spread transphobia and don't use us for political purposes with false information that they then market to the public. What is certainly important, but not only for the trans community, is accessible public healthcare, which we still have on a public basis, and which is unfortunately increasingly being privatised. That affects everyone, pensioners, those who are unwell, the trans community, literally anyone and everyone, having public (socialised) healthcare is exactly what we should be proud of as a society, healthcare is for everyone, not just for those who can afford to pay for it. There definitely needs to be a shift in the treatment of healthcare professionals so that they feel they can stay here in Croatia and are satisfied with their work. The same applies to professors and people who work in educational institutions. Only when we have that can we deal with other things. The thing we'd want would certainly be the introduction of a Law on Gender Identity, which would guarantee transgender people the right to free public healthcare, because as I mentioned above, our health problems are not of a mere aesthetic nature.

If you had a message for young people experiencing gender issues, what would it be?

Speaking from my own experience, I can safely say that the most important thing is to surround yourself with people who accept you, create your own bubble of a world where happiness happens, the same thing that all people in the world do in order to make their lives meaningful. In addition, I needed patience, I waited for the moment when I felt safe enough to come out, but this isn't my recommendation for everyone because sometimes it's impossible to wait that long for "life to start". It's important that people seek psychological support for everything they face and they should also allow themselves to feel their emotions in the process.

Making the decision to transition is not one to take lightly, and the process is quite rigorous in Croatia. Can you tell us more about it?

Certainly, but not all transgender people need a legal and medical transition. That's the choice of each individual themselves. Such decisions require really, really getting to know yourself, your body, and then giving it time. Some trans people immediately know everything they need, some need a longer process to make their decisions, but it goes without saying that here in Croatia, that process is a long one. There's a List of experts to whom a person turns, which includes psychological and psychiatric expertise, endocrinological health support, the Centre for Social Care, which gives an opinion on the conditions in which the transition takes place, and surgeons who do the work operatively. Such a process lasts at least a year and depending on the person's needs, it is reported to the persons on the List.

What is your relationship with schools and educating kids on these issues?

We're focused on educating the staff themselves, not the children. Of course, sometimes young people come to our education sessions and some of those sessions are aimed at them, but our main educational goal is that people who work in the system of working with children know what they're doing and how they can properly respect the children in these situations.

If someone is experiencing gender issues and wants to reach out, what kind of support can you offer?

We can offer peer support where, as trans people, we can help people along their way and do deal with their problems, we can offer psychological support in which a psychologist talks to people, legal support that is aimed at solving the legal processes that people face as a result the law not being followed, discrimination and transphobia. We also provide information about procedures and opportunities in Croatia, and we also offer a safe space for socialising with other people from the community.

You can learn more about the work of KolekTIRV on their official website.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

How the Pelješac Bridge Changed My Stomach

May 11, 2023 - How is the Pelješac bridge affecting lives of local inhabitants? Some benefits for the stomach. 

I was one of the first people to cross the new Ston bypass, marking the completion of the Pelješac bridge and road project. It got me thinking about what the last nine months has looked like since the bridge opened.

There is still some debate around it. Some would have preferred Pelješac to remain the isolated gem it had always been, free from too much traffic and influence. However, I’d say that the majority of opinions are positive.

People also like to comment on the design of the bridge and that it has ruined a once untouched landscape. In my opinion, it is not pretty or ugly, it’s just a bridge. If I were a visitor I wouldn’t have much to say about it. It does what it is supposed to, and that of itself is a feat if you look at our history.

If you have lived in the more isolated parts of Dalmatia, you know that products and places where you can buy things are limited. If your diet is specific or you’re used to having a wider variety of options for food, it can be challenging. When you do find things sometimes the prices are astronomical.

I have seen a common thread when expats comment about food in Croatia. If they’re from North or Western Europe, the UK or the US they will praise quality, variety and freshness. But if you’re from Africa or the global South, chances are that you’re somewhat disappointed.

I don’t expect I’ll ever get the same variety of fresh produce here as in South Africa, although more items may become available. What is common produce there is exotic here. Mangos, papayas, star fruit and avocados simply don’t grow in Europe. They will likely always be imported.

I grew up in a house with a large avocado tree in the front yard. We had an overabundance of them. It was nothing to go pick a ripe avo, cut it up and smear it on your face as a face mask when you were over eating them.

I remember the first time I saw an avocado in a store here. It was some crazy price (I think 40kn a pop) but I bought it anyway. When I opened it I was crushed to find it brown and disgusting on the inside (although it wasn’t even that soft). I bought them a few times until I gave up. Now and again we do stumble on a good one when we dare to try.

The other day I saw a papaya for the first time at a Kaufland. At the beginning of the year it looked like the vegetarian produce section at Lidl had quadrupled in size. Are there suddenly more vegetarians or do we just have better connections now to get a bigger variety of products in? A friend told me she’d been a vegetarian in Italy for over a decade then upon starting to live on Pelješac and having very limited food options she reluctantly reverted back to a meat diet.

Affordable restaurants in Opuzen and Metkovic are now less than an hour’s drive away. Good food without crazy tourist prices. I’m reluctant to mention my favourite here as I’m afraid it’ll become too crowded now that the bridge has made it more accessible.


I know this goes against the grain of “eat local, you won’t be disappointed”, but at the end of the day I am an African city kid who grew up on high quality “tropical” foods. There are definitely some great local food options here. For example, Croats have perfected potatoes. It is hard to find bad local potatoes. You can eat a cooked potato with a bit of salt and it’s good. Nothing beats wild asparagus. Oregano, sage and rosemary can be foraged on a short stroll into nature in Dalmatia. You’ll find wild cherries in the spring and blackberries in bushes in the summer. But on those days that you crave a variety on a more global scale, it helps that you can now cross a bridge and after 35 minutes, there it is.

I can’t comment much on meat since I am not a meat eater. Had I been carnivorous, my view would likely be totally different.

I knew change had come at the end of last year when we could for the first time get freshly baked Danish at one of our local shops. Not just bread, burek and krafne, but Danish! I never dreamed I’d see the day.



Thursday, 11 May 2023

Documentary ‘Croatia: Defining A Nation’ Wins AIPS Sport Media Award

May the 11th, 2023 - A documentary film titled ‘Croatia: Defining A Nation’ has won at the fifth edition of the AIPS Sport Media Awards, held in the capital of South Korea on Tuesday. 

FIFA Croatia Defining A Nation Poster

The film is by award-winning British filmmaker Louis Myles (Kaiser: The Greatest Footballer Never to Play Football, Liverpool FC: The 30-Year Wait), alongside producers Mark Pougatch and Ana Muhar Blanquart, David Kempshall and James Craggs. 

“Thanks to all the people that helped us to make a film like this, and to all the people that talked about and remembered a difficult past. Massive appreciation to all of them,” said Myles.

Louis Myles in the middle Twitter Louis Myles 1

The film is a truly inspirational story of the national football team from its fiery beginnings and how the power of football helped unite a nation during the extreme adversity of Croatia’s fight for political independence during the 1990s. It follows the path of Croatia off the pitch, but also a group of players whose lives were intertwined with the birth of the nation through the great success they achieved.

Featuring in-depth interviews with former Croatian national team players who became synonymous with this period in football and political history, including Igor ŠtimacSlaven Bilić, Davor Šuker, Robert Prosinečki and Zvonimir Boban, the 'Croatia: Defining a Nation' documentary showcases how football players carried their nation's hopes on their shoulders - promoting Croatia to the world as it fought hard for its independence. And when the fighting finally ended, their talent on the football pitch brought joy to their people - establishing the identity of the country, and the blueprint for all that followed them.

FIFA Croatia Defining A Nation 1

FIFA Croatia Defining A Nation 2

FIFA Croatia Defining A Nation 5

‘Croatia: Defining A Nation’ won in the Video Documentary category, beating Benjamin Unger’s ‘Olympics 1972: The GDR and the terror – NDR’ and ‘The Figo Affair: The transfer that changed football’ by David Tryhorn. It is available across all web and mobile devices on the FIFA+ platform. It is available in five language editions (English, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese) and also has Croatian subtitles. 

Watch the film HERE.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sport section.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

25 Hilarious Croatian Place Names Explained: Big Fart to Grandma's Ass

May 11, 2023 - Would an island called Grandma's Ass be on your bucket list? A look at some of the funnier Croatian place names, and the reasons behind the names. 

Which Croatian island will you visit this summer?

Hvar, Mljet, Krk, or Losinj, perhaps?

Or how about the islands of Big Fart, Little Fart, Big Whore, Little Whore, or even Grandma's Ass?

Discover 25 hilarious Croatian (and one Austrian) place names, and how many of them got their name.

The latest from the Fat Vlogger, going live at 19:53 tonight. 

You can read the original article by Vedran Pavlic, which was the inspiration for this video here.


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Thursday, 11 May 2023

Croatia's Changing Demographics: No Longer 'Whitest Country'

May 12, 2023 - A look at the changing demographics in Croatia from 2018 to 2023 - no longer the 'whitest country' in the world.

Back in July 2018, around the time of the World Cup Final, a French anti-racism league organisation insinuated that Croatia was somehow racist as its team were all white (there was no mention of the Nigerian team being all black).

It led me to look at the statistics of how many foreigners were living in Croatia with temporary or permanent residence.

Back then, there were less than 30,000 foreigners here (and most of them white) in a population of 4 million. With some 99.3% Croatian citizens, almost all of them white (I am not saying that is a good or a bad thing, just a thing), Croatia was arguably the whitest country in the world.

Five years on, things are changing. Find out how much, and where the new arrivals are coming from in a 2023 update of the statistics provided by the Ministry of the Interior.

The original video about 2018 is available below.


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Thursday, 11 May 2023

Rimac Energy - Croatia's Serial Entrepreneur Turns to Energy Storage

May the 11th, 2023 - Croatia's serial entrepreneur, referred to quite frequently as Europe's Elon Musk, is now turning towards energy storage systems (ESS). Mate Rimac has now launched Rimac Energy, adding yet another item to his already incredibly impressive CV.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Mladen Miletic writes, the incredible Rimac Technology has announced its entry into the market of stationary energy storage systems (ESS) with a new brand - Rimac Energy. The announced step represents a significant milestone for this rather remarkable Croatian company, which is expanding beyond its strong position in high-performance electric vehicle technology, introducing innovative stationary energy storage systems. Realising the full potential of renewable energy production and encouraging the decarbonisation of energy networks are related to stationary solutions of this type.

Serial production in 2025

Within Rimac Technology, a specialised team has been developing over the last eighteen months or so, which today numbers sixty employees, all of whom are currently working on its first generation of stationary ESS's within the new Rimac Energy brand.

"Relying on the high expertise and standards demonstrated in the development and production of electric vehicles, Rimac Energy is applying the very same engineering philosophy to the development of stationary batteries. As a result, Rimac Energy has developed a new battery architecture that reduces losses by up to 50 percent and at the same time occupies up to 40 percent less surface area compared to the most modern solutions currently available. Additional technological advantages include an extended lifetime, built-in redundancy for increased availability, as well as competitive costs of the system itself and its installation," the company stated.

A continued commitment to the future, the climate, and not to fossil fuels

"At Rimac, we have always been motivated by innovation and the desire to push the boundaries of what is possible in the automotive industry. However, we also recognise the importance of stationary battery solutions to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources. Considering our previous results in the field of innovative battery systems, we believe that we'll be able to play a key role in building the future energy ecosystems of Europe and raise them to the global level,'' stated Rimac Energy director Wasim Sarwar Dilov.

Rimac Energy will initially provide solutions in and for the commercial and industrial sector, as a support to the power grid, and solutions for fast and megawatt charging using batteries are already in full development. The company is negotiating several projects with clients, including a pilot project with one of the leading companies in the field of renewable energy that is looking for battery solutions for energy storage to support their solar and wind farms. It is expected that these pilot systems will be produced by the end of 2023, commissioning is planned for 2024, and serial production is on the cards for 2025.

The founder and CEO of the Rimac Group, Mate Rimac, explained the development of the company's new Rimac Energy brand with the urgent need for clean energy infrastructure to support the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid by providing energy storage and balancing capabilities.

"Given our experience in high-performance electric vehicle technology and our commitment to sustainable development, this path seems like a natural sequence for us. Our team is very much looking forward to creating solutions that make clean energy more accessible, as we work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and encourage a greener future,'' Mate Rimac concluded.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Croatian Startup Ani Biome Wants to Conquer Global Market

May the 11th, 2023 - The Croatian startup Ani Biome wants to take on and conquer the ever-demanding global market with its fermented microbeverages, but it needs to raise a few million euros first.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, the Croatian startup Ani Biome, which has developed a very personalised approach to microbiome health, has opened a new investment round in which it aims to raise a massive ten million euros.

The lowest amount that can be invested is 100 thousand euros, and they have already collected their first 100K. The investor, as revealed by Bruno Balen, the co-founder of Ani Biome – is a lawyer and business angel from Germany, and he cannot reveal his identity. According to Balen, co-founder Nika Pintar wrote the contract with the help of the controversial ChatGPT.

"The investor said it was excellent," he pointed out. The young TechAgeBio company, with the very ambitious goal of becoming number one in the world in the longevity industry, plans to invest a third of the desired 10 million euros in scientific integrity, i.e. into studies that will prove that the product they are working on is not just a "cute brand'', but that it is backed up by science. They plan to invest the second third in their production capacities, in which 600 thousand euros have been invested so far, Balen announced, adding that the last third will go to marketing efforts.

Metabolite studies

The products the Croatian startup Ani Biome plans to conquer the world with are fermented microbeverages. "Our product is a kind of revolution in potential intervention in the field of the longevity industry, that is, in increasing healthy longevity. Therefore, it isn't only important how long we live, but how well we live. We see metabolic fermentations as a tool that can improve everything that is damaged during the aging process and by diseases related to aging,'' explained Iva Hlapcic, the coordinator for scientific projects at Ani Biome, who also pointed out that the Croatian startup Ani Biome is currently in the phase of comprehensive metabolite research.

"We're investigating their interactions, their synergistic influence, i.e. in which metabolic pathways they're involved, so that we can use them to target exactly that pathway and use it as an intervention for a health condition that has caused impairement," explained the young scientist in the field of biomedicine and healthcare, who joined the Ani Biome team three months ago. They also want to confirm the effects of their products with ongoing clinical research.

At the event held at Zagreb's Bird Incubator, where the Croatian startup Ani Biome announced their plans, Hlapcic explained that in addition to metabolite research, their goal is to combine everything discovered with machine learning models in order to personalise them as much as possible. Ani Habit, an app for interacting and anticipating client needs, is already out, but will continue to be upgraded.

Ani Biome's fermented microbeverages improve the overall health of the intestines, that is, the gastrointestinal tract, according to Hlapcic. "We know that the intestines aren't isolated and that they communicate with all parts of the rest of the organism in multiple ways. Today, for example, we know that various neurological disorders such as depression, anxiety and similar conditions can be influenced through gut health. We also know that at the level of mitochondria, which are responsible for the energy levels in the body, we can carry out certain interventions in the body using metabolites and thus improve the level of energy and vitality present. This is something we strive for and something we ultimately believe in," Hlapcic pointed out.

In order for the effect of their products to be as good as possible, the Croatian startup Ani Biome is also developing a bank of metabolites, which currently holds 1,500 of them and which will serve for a personalised approach to each client.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

20 Million Euros for Digital Development of Rural Croatian Areas

May the 11th, 2023 - A massive 20 million euros is set to be pumped into the digital development of rural Croatian areas which still struggle with weak mobile signals. These so-called white zones where there is no high-speed mobile signal doesn't allow the normal use of digital technologies.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, as Oleg Butkovic, the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, announced last week, the aforementioned issue should soon finally be resolved through a project financed from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026.

More rural Croatian areas are the targets for improvement

"In terms of the development of the 5G network, we're in the lead in terms of Europe, and we have a significant competitive advantage in terms of qualified workforce in the ICT sector, as well as regulations that enable so-called digital nomads. There's also a project under way that will cover areas across fourteen different counties with a high-speed mobile signal, and these are all places that currently don't have high-quality internet," explained Minister Butkovic.

However, while Croatia may well be performing well when it comes to 5G, the country remains at the very end of the line in terms of actual coverage with 4G and 3G networks, which is why the government has launched the public discussion procedure entitled "A call for expressions of interest for the development and implementation of passive electronic communication infrastructure in rural and sparsely populated areas". It is worth around twenty million euros in total.

This document defines the target areas for the possible construction of electronic communication infrastructure as part of such an investment. As stated by the proponent, the preparation of the Feasibility Study is underway and, following this and a public consultation on the expression of market interest, the final areas for the implementation of the investment in question will be determined.

"The investment's target areas are rural Croatian areas that include parts of counties with extremely low socio-economic indicators, meaning those primarily characterised by extremely low demographic, social and economic conditions compared to the national average," the Maritime Affairs Ministry stated, adding that investment in Croatia's 5G networks must be located in areas where mobile networks haven't been introduced or where only mobile networks that can support mobile services up to 3G are available and where there are no 4G or 5G mobile networks, nor is their introduction planned within the next three years.

It is estimated that around 58 poles will be installed, however, the exact selection of their locations and their final numbers will be defined only by the Feasibility Study, the preparation of which is currently underway. In the proposal, it has been noted that the poles won't be placed in all acceptable areas defined through this public consultation, but in those confirmed by the Study as possible locations that will justify the economic profitability of the investment.

As part of the Study, the exact needs for certain types of communication and the need for signal coverage in precisely defined areas will be determined, and in accordance with the results, passive infrastructure will be built to connect the infrastructure points. Croatia also lags behind the EU average in this area (broadband infrastructure coverage), and although in the category of new generation fixed broadband network coverage, it has equaled the EU average, it is still far behind in the widespread use of 100 Mbps broadband access and isn't ready for the introduction of a 5G network.

In addition to all of the above, due to high construction costs and a reduced population, there are insufficient investments in digital development in more rural Croatian areas in general.

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