Thursday, 16 May 2019

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Shows Dismal Results for Croatia

ZAGREB, May 16, 2019 - According to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey on Croatia, which deals with the question of what makes Croatia an (anti-) entrepreneurial country, Croatia is still not an entrepreneurial country primarily because of the quality of the business environment - its regulatory framework is demanding and complex and there is lack of quality cooperation between the business and research sectors and of education for entrepreneurial competencies.

Presenting the survey, which refers to 2018, the head of the Croatian research team, Slavica Singer, said on Wednesday that almost the same type of problems had been reoccurring for years and that not enough was being done to eliminate them.

Explaining why Croatia is still not an entrepreneurial country, Singer said that it was generally because of the quality of the business climate. "Government policies regarding regulations are the biggest problem, they have been very demanding and complex for years instead of being simple and stimulating for entrepreneurs. Another problem is the lack of quality cooperation between the business and research sector and the lack of education for entrepreneurial competencies," said Singer.

She stressed that in terms of technology, Croatia was around the EU average, but that in terms of the number of new products, it was at the bottom.

In terms of enterprise plans, which are limited by an unstimulating environment, and in terms of the entrepreneurial activity of corporate employees, which is not sufficiently recognised, Croatia is at the EU level or at the top, she said.

The survey shows that according to the value of the National Entrepreneurship Context Index, Croatia is at the bottom of a list of 18 EU countries, with a score of 3.83, the average score being 5.12.

Croatia scores the poorest in terms of government policies for the regulatory framework, market access barriers, research and development, education and social values.

The perception of opportunities in one's immediate surroundings is stagnating and the difference between Croatia (33.1%) and the EU (44.2%) is still very big.

In 2018, Croatia saw an increase in the intensity of early-stage entrepreneurial activity (9.6%) and that indicator puts the country above the EU average, however, this was again necessity-driven strengthening of entrepreneurial activity.

The motivational index in 2018 stayed at 1.9, which puts Croatia at the EU bottom. In the EU, there is an average 5.3 times more people who engage in enterprise because they see a business opportunity.

Croatia does not have enough 'adult' companies or companies older than 42 months. The number of such businesses is around 4.2%, which is only 62% of the EU average in 2018.

The most frequent reason for leaving a business activity is unprofitability (19.7%), the tax burden and red tape (19.2%) and a new business opportunity (18.5%).

Croatia still has few growing companies and it has much more companies that invest in the latest technologies than companies with new products.

The competitiveness indicator puts Croatia at 24.6%, which is slightly below the EU average of 27.7%.

In terms of employee entrepreneurial activity, Croatia is above the EU average with 9.6% of employees involved in an entrepreneurial activity in a company, the EU average being 7.6%.

The sector dispersion of new business ventures in Croatia shows an increase in the services sector but still much fewer ventures based on services for consumers.

The social attitude to entrepreneurs is still negative and the number of those who believe that entrepreneurs are people of a high social standing is declining.

Entrepreneurial activity growth is the most intensive in the regions of Dalmatia and Istria, Primorje and Gorski Kotar and the lowest in Lika and Banovina, which are nonetheless experiencing an improvement in the motivational index.

The survey includes recommendations for entrepreneurial activity such as cooperation, simpler regulations, stronger innovation capacity, financial strengthening of the existing programmes, launching of programmes of support for SMEs to use services of industrial designers, and formal training for students for entrepreneurial competencies.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey for Croatia has been conducted since 2002 by the SMEs Development Policy Centre, with the support of the Croatian Banking Association and the Ministry of Economy.

The 2018 survey covered 49 countries that account for 66% of the global population and 85.8% of the global GDP. In Croatia, the survey has covered 2,000 respondents every year.

More news about doing business in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

All is Set for Cooperation Between the USA and... Međimurje County!

''For the start of cooperation between Croatia and the USA, Međimurje County is perhaps the best place for some new opportunities,'' stated US Ambassador HE. W. Robert Kohorst on Wednesday in the continental Croatian town of Čakovec.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of April, 2019, the visit began with a working meeting in Međimurje County, Božena Malekoci-Oletić said for Međimurske Novine. The US Ambassador visited the Međimurje Polytechnic where he attended the marking of the eleventh anniversary of the Polytechnic, the Technological Innovation Centre, and he also met some of Međimurje's young basketball players.

American Ambassador Robert Kohorst, together with the Prefect of Međimurje County, Matija Posavac, addressed the present representatives of the media.

The American Ambassador said that the US Embassy is working on a program to connect different American companies to the companies here in Croatia. Over the next six months, certain measures and suggestions on how to achieve it will be implemented. The most important thing is to feel welcome in an environment where it's easy to do business without too much bureaucracy.

He expressed his satisfaction with Međimurje's attitude that every problem can be solved. He stressed that this is the most important thing that can be done to attract investors. What is equally important for potential investors is a well-educated and cooperative workforce who are ready to engage in work. In such an environment, companies are more than happy to do business.

"I like the way you work and prepare for investments and for the companies coming from the United States, and we'll try to present this story to the American companies,'' Kohorst stated.

Međimurske Novine asked Kohorst what the special reason for his arrival to the smallest Croatian county was all about.

"I heard it was the most beautiful county, and mayors have told me that the towns here were the most beautiful,'' Ambassador Robert Kohorst diplomatically. But afterwards, he added that he was not a career diplomat, but that he's there for business reasons and putting business cooperation at the forefront is his aim. He added that cooperation between the US and Međimurje County was a great start for new opportunities.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Croatia's Bellabeat Received Second Largest Startup Investment

This Croatian startup's beginnings come from Zagreb and it first became well known back in 2014 as the first startup attract a large investment from outside of the Republic of Croatia.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of April, 2019, the Croatian startup Bellabeat received an investment from AOL Ventures in the amount of 14.2 million dollars, the equivalent of 12.5 million euros. It's not the biggest investment to be received by a Croatian startup last year, as that remains marked by Porsche's entrance into the co-ownership of Rimac Automobila for 18.7 millions euros, but it remains the second largest. Bellabeat has so far kept this massive investment secret.

AOL is one of the three largest Internet service providers in the United States of America. The company is part of the large Verizon group, which owns a number of popular media outlets including The Huffington Post, Engadget, TechCrunch, and MapQuest. In the group is also the former Yahoo and the AOL Desktop software solution.

Croatia's Bellabeat underwent restructuring half a year before the investment took place, at the end of 2017 and in early 2018. The company then let a number of its employees go. Sandro Mur, co-founder and director of Bellabeat, subsequently announced that he currently has a total of fifty employees and plans to increase this number to seventy. At that time, the Croatian company's focus was on establishing an office across the Atlantic over in New York. The company has developed a range of high-tech products for women, from jewellery to smart water bottles, and plans to deal with artificial intelligence in the health preservation sector.

Five years ago, the founders of Bellabeat, Sandro Mur and Urška Sršen, set the bar very high for Croatian startups. They received a record 4.5 million dollar investment from a number of well-known investors. Among them were actress Jessica Alba, the creator and leading developer of Google Earth, Paul Buchheit, the founder of TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, one of the hundred richest people, Nicolas Berggruen, and one of the most famous investors in the Silicon Valley and one of the very first to have invested in Google and PayPal, Ron Conway.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for much more on startups and companies from Croatia, as well as the overall business and investment climate in Croatia.


Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Croatia and China: New Agreements and Chances for Croatian Companies

Croatian companies have a chance for further growth and more exporting should Croatia decide to deepen its business ties and cooperation with China, the country which is currently undertaking the mammoth task of constructing Pelješac bridge.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of March, 2019, at the 8th Summit of heads of government of central and eastern European countries and China, which will be held from the 9th to the 12th of April in Dubrovnik, the "Dubrovnik Guidelines" document is expected to be adopted, which will lay out the activities in this format in the forthcoming phase.

The summit on the EU and China set to take place in the Belgian capital of Brussels on the 9th of April is expected with interest, and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is coming to Croatia. There are bilateral talks between Keqiang and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on the agenda, as well as the signing of several already concluded bilateral agreements in Zagreb. In line with the things that are set to be dealt with and concluded at the summit, Croatia and China could strengthen their blossoming cooperation with as many as ten brand new agreements. Other major Croatian expectations for the strengthening of overall relations with China are also awaited with gritted teeth, with the greatest interest being expressed in the areas of infrastructure, tourism and SMEs.

After the construction of Pelješac bridge, which is being built by China's CRBC, will yet more new infrastructural advances, such as the modernisation of Croatia's railway system, soon come to pass? The plans are also for the Chinese and Croatian prime ministers to visit this huge construction site down in southern Dalmatia. The Chinese delegation will consist of around 250 members, and that isn't including the 300 business community representatives coming to the 9th business forum ''16 plus 1''.

A total of more than 700 entrepreneurs have been registered, and many opportunities are on offer to Croatian companies when looking at entering the giant Chinese market, meaning that the initiative is on them. B2B meetings can be arranged with the help of an application created by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), and as Croatia's SME coordinator, it will officially launch the 16 + 1 coordination mechanism for small and medium-sized enterprises. The major promise for Croatian companies which operate within a multitude of different sectors lies in exports when it comes to deeper cooperation in doing business with China.

Croatia's visibility for the Chinese is continually growing, by about fifteen percent annually, while the number of tourists from China has increased by an enormous 120 percent over the past two years alone. In 2019, a record 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Croatia, which is the fastest growing market in the whole of the Republic of Croatia.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.


Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik