Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Webpower's Jan de Jong, TCN's Paul Bradbury on Positivity in Croatia at Business Cafe Online

May 12, 2020 - A look at Croatia, the land of opportunity through the eyes of two foreigners who have been living and working in Croatia for 32 years between them. Business Cafe Online this Thursday will feature Webpower Adria CEO and serial entrepreneur Jan de Jong and me. 

It may sound obvious, but not that maybe people to adhere to one of the simple things to ensure you have a happy and stimulating life in Croatia. Simply surround yourself with happy, positive and forward-thinking people. Rather than sit in a cafe surrounded by complainers, or battling with Croatia's vast army of online keyboard warriors, seek out people who want to find solutions to problems, rather than complain about them. 

It may seem obvious as I said, but it took me almost 15 years of living in The Beautiful Croatia to come to this realisation - the final lesson in The 3 Stages of Learning for Foreigners in Croatia: Love, Hate and Nirvana

And I get the chance to hang out with two of the most positive and stimulating forces in my little Croatian bubble on Thursday, May 14, as Business Cafe Online has invited me and perhaps Croatia's finest ambassador of positivity and entrepreneurial opportunity, Dutchman Jan de Jong, to talk about life as a foreigner entrepreneur in this beautiful land. 


Between us, we have been here for a combined 32 years. I arrived in 2002, and Jan has been creating jobs and opportunities with much more success than me since 2006. He is also becoming a regular in the Croatian media with his vision for a better, healthier, and more digital Croatia 2.0. 

Event announcement from Business Cafe Online is below - and the Facebook page is here

Which obstacles do foreign entrepreneurs face when starting and running a business in Croatia?

Is Croatian lifestyle a brand - why should everyone consider moving to Croatia and working from Croatia?

What do foreigners see and locals don't?

And many more interesting topics

In 2019 we started Business Cafe International events besides regular ones going on since 2010.

This time using online platforms we will share two very interesting entrepreneurial journey stories by Paul Bradbury (Total Croatia News) and Jan de Jong (Webpower) .

Here is an interview with Paul Bradbury

You can also read about Jan de Jong here.

Event will be available and streamed free on our

FB page.

YT channel.

Free streaming was provided to you by GreenHypnotic (www.greenhypnotic.com) and Jedem doma (www.jedemdoma.hr)

Monday, 19 August 2019

American Ambassador Kohorst to Appear at 3rd Business Cafe International

The 3rd Business Café International event, which gathers foreign entrepreneurs starting a business and moving to Croatia, will be held Monday, August 26, 2019 in Zagreb at 6 p.m. at the Rooftop Lateral, Strojarska 20/26.

Business Café International was established to highlight the opposite of migration trends, i.e., showing examples of entrepreneurs who moved to Croatia to start businesses. It is a joint effort to make Croatia a country that is not just great to live in, but also an attractive place for doing business. 

Kristina Ercegović, Business Café founder, with this new project continues to promote her vision of Croatia as one of the best places to live and work. 

This time a German entrepreneur employing 320 people in a small city in Croatia will be joining us together with His Excellency, the Ambassador of the United States of America.

Mr. Christian Gutgsell is the owner of two very successful companies in Pisarovina: KM Kovnica and KM Alati (KM Croatia) - high-tech metal processing and toolmaking for automotive industry employing 320 people. Why did he choose Croatia to do business, and how is it going? We are also happy to announce that Ambassador W. Robert Kohorst will be sharing his rich entrepreneurial journey before he became a diplomat. What does he think can be done to improve the business climate in Croatia?

Don't miss the opportunity to meet and connect with awesome local and foreign entrepreneurs exchanging ideas and the well-known energy and atmosphere of all Business Café events.

More info and tickets are available on www.businesscafe.info

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Ognjen Bagatin on Conscious Entrepreneurship and Leadership at 53rd Business Cafe

He is one of the most positive, dynamic and inspirational people I have met in my time in Croatia. When Ognjen Bagatin is not busy growing his extremely successful Bagatin Clinic - one of the leading in the region voted the best dermatology clinic in Europe last year - he can be spotted in suit and red and white Croatian chequered tie in various international cities promoting the Croatian medical tourism industry and strengthening links with the Croatian diaspora. 

Bagatin is also a very good motivational speaker, and his latest speaking experience was at the 53 Business Cafe gathering in Zagreb. I could not attend personally, and Business Cafe boss Kristina Ercegovic kindly agreed to send me this report. 

Conscious entrepreneurship and leadership as a hot topic on a summer edition of 53rd Business Cafe 

Business Cafe events gathering small entrepreneurs continue to open all topics regarding entrepreneurship. Guests not only talk about their success stories and failure along the way but about all sides of entrepreneurship in Croatia as well.  

The 53rd edition held on Thursday July 11, 2019 was committed to doing conscious Business which means to have not only profit as the only measure of success, but a higher purpose, contribution, impact and joy as well. 

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Guests discussed topics such as doing fair business, honest marketing, selling and negotiating, paying the full price and on time, respecting your suppliers and competitors, developing long term win-win relationships, not having double standards one for us and our clients and other for vendors and employees etc.

Many answers came from Ognjen Bagatin, co-owner and CEO of Poliklinika Bagatin, a man who successfully runs his business, connects the diaspora and Croatia, is devoted to promoting health tourism but also a man who openly speaks about his mistakes on the way, a man who is a simple and humble guy, an example of servant leader, who is trying to develop people, help Croatia develop an entrepreneurial mindset and culture of success, and someone who always says when others are doing great we are benefitting from that. So we should not only want but also help others succeed. 

He is a great example of a new, different kind, a conscious and authentic leader, so rare not only in Croatia but all around as well. 

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He invited everyone in the Business Cafe audience to talk openly about their mistakes and to take responsibility to always focus on what can we do and not whose fault is something. He stressed out that to be a conscious leader one must first lead himself, to be able to be present in the moment, to be highly emotionally intelligent and to learn all the time. He said he listens to many audiobooks, has his own mentor, is into personal development and always starts with himself, while remaining focused on his vision and goals.

He is honestly happy when someone succeeds and shares all the rewards and recognition info He is honestly happy when someone succeeds and shares all the rewards and recognition info 

He said we should all do that, share info when we succeed and share when others do. That is the way to build a culture of success we desperately need here.  

Being devoted to developing the Entrepreneurial Mindset in Croatia Ognjen's magazine and portal Poduzetnik together with EY are organizing a conference of the same name on September 12th. 


The most successful and inspiring names from the Croatian entrepreneurial world will join as speakers, and almost everyone has already featured in Business Cafe events for the past nine years. 

Empathy and authenticity as well as being human and doing good, those were the main messages of the 53 rd Business Cafe in Zagreb. 

Business Cafe continues on August 26th with its International edition sharing foreign entrepreneurs stories in Croatia, and then on September 19th sharing Croatian success stories as usual. In the meantime, Kristina Ercegović, Business Cafe owner will moderate one of the panels on September 12th at the conference Entrepreneurial mindset. 

There IS a better Croatia. Come join us all and let's all build a great place to live and do business here.

To learn more about the Entrepreneurial Mindset conference, click here

For more information about Business Cafe

To connect with Ognjen Bagatin and the services of Bagatin Clinic.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

2nd Business Cafe International Features Entrepreneurs from Holland, Romania & Venezuela

The 2nd Business Café International gathering foreign entrepreneurs who started their businesses and moved to Croatia will be held on Monday, June 10, 2019, in Zagreb at 6 p.m. at Rooftop Lateral, Strojarska 20/26.

Business Café International was established to highlight the opposite of migration trends, i.e. to present entrepreneurs who moved and started their businesses in Croatia. It is a joint effort to make Croatia a country that is not just great to live in, but also an attractive place for doing business.  Kristina Ercegović, Business Café founder, with this new project continues to promote her vision of Croatia as one of the best places to live and work.  

This time entrepreneurs from the Netherlands, Venezuela and Romania who live in Croatia will be joining us. 

Jan de Jong Born is from the Netherlands. He moved to Croatia in September 2006 at the age of 22, and within 10 months built a contact centre with 30 full-time employees. Over the past 13 years, he co-founded several companies. At the end of 2015, he made a successful exit from the contact centre he had founded. Today, he is the owner of M+ Agency (a full-service digital marketing agency) and Webpower Adria (an email marketing service provider).

Mirela Rus and her husband moved to Croatia after a vacation here. They bought some land near a small fishing village in the Split area and planned to build apartments. However, they faced problems with the bureaucracy and paperwork, which put the whole project on hold. In the meantime, they started and now run 5 Break Time shops, where they offer bracelets, necklaces and keychains. All the items are custom, handmade by her husband, who uses original yachting rope and nautical-inspired shackles and anchors. 

Mara Vitols Hrgetić, a Latvian born in Venezuela, moved to Zagreb with her husband, a Croatian Venezuelan. She co-founded and today runs Forum event centre. She also organizes G2 meetings – conferences connecting the Croatian diaspora with local entrepreneurs.

Don't miss this opportunity to meet and connect with some awesome local and foreign entrepreneurs who will be sharing ideas. Come and experience the famous energy and atmosphere of all Business Café events. For more info and tickets, please visit the official website.

Monday, 13 May 2019

52nd Business Café in Zagreb – From Croatia for the Whole World

May 13, 2019 - The 52nd Business Café will be held in Zagreb on Thursday, May 16th at 7 p.m. at Hotel Academia, Tkalčićeva 88. 

Guest speakers will be renowned serial entrepreneurs Damir Sabol and Andrija Čolak. 

Sabol is known for starting and selling ISKON telecom, then starting and selling Računi.hr; he currently runs Microblink and the world famous Photomath mobile application used by more than 100 million people. 

Čolak is known for his Surf’n’Fries franchise business run on 4 continents and in 20 countries. He also started and has managed Kisha and Porthop apps. 

More info in Croatian, as well as tickets (priced at HRK 200/EUR 26), can be found HERE.

A part of the income will be donated to the Portal dobrote charity. 

Business Café events for small entrepreneurs have been organized for the past nine years in seven countries and more than 25 cities. 

There have been more than 20 000 visitors at more than 300 events and more than 700 entrepreneurs shared their entrepreneurial journeys, while more than 30 million euros worth of deals has been made. Usually, there are around 100 to 200 visitors and the events last 2 hours. 

Business Café’s main message is that you are not alone and that you can make it even here despite everything and everyone. 

So, find your tribe and grow your business. 

More info about the whole project is available on www.businesscafe.info 

Sponsors are: Nivea – Beiersdorf, Labud (Meteor Grupa), Tim Lisak Catering, Opereta, Caffemanija, Sana delikatese, Sultan drinks, BIRO 59, AeroPrint, Moja asistenca, Diglossia Translation Company, Androlić konzalting, Fensi Šmensi, Domellla and Biteart.

Media coverage by: NOVA TV, portals dnevnik.hr, naturala.hr, womeninadria.com, samopozitivno.com, poslovni-savjetnik.com, TotalCroatiaNews.com; Diplomacy and Commerce, Surove strasti podcast, Poduzetnik, Plavi radio, Čitaj knjigu blog, A portal, media-marketing.com, bgonline.rs 


Kristina Ercegović, EMBA

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

091 1555228 


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

It's Not a Joke – I Moved to Croatia and Started My Own Business

April 3, 2019 - It's not an April Fools’ joke – the 1st Business Café International event was held on Monday evening in Zagreb, gathering more than 50 experienced Croatian and foreign entrepreneurs. 

Business Café International was established to highlight the opposite of migration trends, i.e., showing examples of entrepreneurs who moved here and started their businesses in Croatia. It is a joint effort to make Croatia a country that is not just great to live in, but also an attractive place for doing business. 

Kristina Ercegović, Business Café founder, promoted her vision of Croatia as one of the best places to live and work. 

Paul Bradbury, a Brit who used to live on Hvar and now lives in Varaždin and the owner of Total Croatia News, and Natalia Zielinska, a Polish entrepreneur and the author of Natalia u zemlji čudesa/Natalia in Wonderland from Ogulin, shared their entrepreneurial stories. They also talked about the reasons why they moved to Croatia and how they do business here. 


Paul owns several portals, while Natalia is an EU consultant who also runs Entrepreneur Academy in Ogulin. 

The conclusions were that we should all STOP complaining, accept the term UHLJEB for the moment as some kind of a TAX which we all need to pay for living here, and do what we can. 

Nepotism and injustice were identified as the biggest problems and the reason why people emigrate. Additionally, many things don’t move forward because the problem starts at the lowest political level. Also, although Croatians complain a lot, it seems that they are too passive. 

Paul finished his talk by saying: “Don’t expect to change Dalmatia/Croatia, rather expect Croatia to change you.” 


He said we all go through three phases, especially foreigners upon their arrival. First, there is joy and you are happy to be here and you enjoy the beauty and quality of life here. Then there is sorrow – you can’t believe this is happening. And finally, you accept reality and you do something to change at least one thing in your bubble or area of influence. 

He said he has seen many initiatives - holding Business Cafés being one of them – and that there is a need to connect them all to show that there definitely is a better and more positive Croatia. 

We all agreed there were many initiatives and entrepreneurial stories which should be shared and presented daily because that is the way mindset is changed, and that children should be shown that success is possible here as well. 


After their talks, the audience had a chance to talk to Paul and Natalia. Attendees also used the opportunity to present themselves, connect with others and network. 

Besides entrepreneurs, representatives of the US and Swedish Embassy were present at the event as well. 

Sponsors are Diglossia Translations Company, Lisak Catering, as well as Domelly. Media coverage is provided by Total Croatia News, Croatia2go, Samo pozitivno, Media Marketing, and WIA. 

Business Café events have been organised for the past nine years, in 7 countries and 25 cities. There have been more than 20,000 visitors, 300 guest speakers/entrepreneurs sharing their stories, more than 30 million euro deals have been made, countless friendships have started up, as well as some partnerships and investments. 


For more info, please visit: www.businesscafe.info 

Next scheduled events: June 3rd, August 26th, and October 14th, 2019. 

For more information, please contact 

Kristina Ercegović, EMBA


+385 91 1555228 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

To read more about Croatia's foreign entrepreneurs, follow TCN's dedicated page. And if you'd like to be featured, send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Business Cafe Goes International: Natalia Zielinska, Paul Bradbury 1st Guests

March 24, 2019 - After 30 million euro of deals over 300 meetings in 25 cities, Zagreb-based networking club Business Cafe is set for its first international edition.

Although I am a man of many words through my blogging and over a beer, I am quite a shy and not very accomplished public speaker. 

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This could be due to some of the situations I have had to deal with in my 'career' so far - lecturing the professors on Hiroshima on the Middle East peace process (with the Professor of Middle Eastern studies in the front row), addressing the Rwandese Minister of Agriculture on the benefits of Brussels sprouts (in French) after I took delivery of a shipment of 20 tonnes of vegetable seeds as an aid worker, or giving a live television interview in Russian on the benefits of peanut butter which had just arrived as aid. 

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(Business Cafe founder Kristina Ercegovic)

And so I am highly honoured - and just a little nervous - to be invited to be a speaker at the inaugural international version of Business Cafe, a rather interesting business networking concept, which was born in Zagreb in 2011. 

Since those humble beginnings, founder Kristina Ercegovic has taken her concept to connect entrepreneurs - both existing and budding - into 7 countries, 25 cities and 300 events, with more than 20,000 people attending and over 30 million euro of deals made or agreed directly during these events. You can learn more about Kristina and the Business Cafe concept in our interview with her during our series on female entrepreneurs in Croatia last year. 

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(Nenad Bakic, Varteks CEO and named by the Financial Times as one of Europe's Top 100 digital champions)

"I started the international version," Kristina told me as she invited me, "because I believe we are all tired of hearing stories in the media about leaving Croatia and that everything is bad here and we want to show examples of foreigners being crazy enough to move and start a business here.

"We look forward to hearing how it is for them to do business in Croatia, how they see Croatian people, and how can we change our mentality and improve the business climate and make Croatia a more attractive place to do business in. 

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(Last week's guest, leading PR guru, Kresimir Macan)

"Recent speakers at Business Cafe include Nenad Bakic last week Kresimir Macan, as well as this year Ana Lisak, Nikola Vrdoljak, Irena Orlovic, Gordana Nikolic, Nikola Zinic, Tomislav Car and Davorin Stetner. In previous years we have hosted the likes of Emil Tedeschi, Branko Roglic and Sasa Cvetojevic."

No pressure then... 

Fortunately for anyone who decides to attend, I will not be the only speaker, and the wisest words and business advice will come from Natalia Zielinska, an EU consultant from Poland who lives in Ogulin and also runs Entrepreneur Academy there.

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Even more fortunately for those who hate to see the Croatian language butchered, the event will be in English, with translation services available through Diglossia, as well as refreshments by Lisak Catering. 

It is all happening at 18:00 on April 1 at Rooftop Lateral in Zagreb. For more information and to reserve a place, visit the Facebook event page

To learn more about foreign entrepreneurs in Croatia - check out the TCN series. Some REALLY interesting stories.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Meet Croatia's Female Entrepreneurs: Kristina Ercegovic from Business Cafe

May 4, 2018 - Croatia has a new breed of female foreign entrepreneurs, whose activities and innovations are present in all sections of society. Over the coming weeks, TCN will be meeting them, starting with Kristina Ercegovic from Business Cafe. 

Monday, 11 December 2017

Connecting Entrepreneurs in Croatia: Meet Business Cafe

December 11, 2017 - Connecting entrepreneurs in a hostile business environment - meet Kristina Ercegovic and Business Cafe.