Wednesday, 2 December 2020

'Grow Croatia with Google' Initiative for Economic Recovery and Development

December 2, 2020 – With the new initiative named "Grow Croatia with Google" presented by Google, the goal is to significantly contribute to the recovery and development of the Croatian economy and accelerate the digital transformation, and thus respond to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As reports, the coronavirus pandemic and the simultaneous lockdown greatly affected the economy. However, the current situation also opens up new possibilities, as consumers turn to the internet which increases the need to accelerate the digital transformation of business.

The technology that has enabled us to work and learn remotely in recent months, virtual socializing with friends and family, shopping, and using a variety of online services can play a significant role in helping SMEs survive the crisis today.

But not all companies are ready for such a rapid change, and the main obstacle for most of them who have already started an online business or are planning to do so is the lack of knowledge, skills, and tools.

‘Digitization is a significant challenge'

That's why the Grow Croatia with Google initiative seeks to accelerate economic recovery and development through the use of technology, tools, education, and advice to help 10,000 local businesses, communities, and people become stronger, more resilient, and enable faster development by the end of 2021.

"In Croatia, in cases of lack of own resources, the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family, and Social Policy through the network of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) and active employment policy measures funded by the European Social Fund seeks to support individuals and companies through measures to educate the workforce. These measures enable the training of employed and unemployed in order to strengthen their employability," said Dragan Jelić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family and Social Policy.

He also pointed out that the goal is to encourage the digitization of the Croatian economy, which has been further accelerated due to the outbreak of the pandemic.


Source: Pixabay

The Grow Croatia with Google initiative is adapted to the "new normal" and is implemented in partnership with Algebra College and offers tools, courses, and advice such as free online digital marketing courses, free tools for collaborating with teams and suppliers using Google Meet and workshops to help people in acquiring relevant digital skills that can help them find a job, advance in a career, or develop a business.

"For micro and small entrepreneurs, digitization of business and the acquisition of appropriate skills is a significant challenge. That is why, in cooperation with Google and Algebra as a workshop provider, we have provided free support to our customers. I would put special emphasis on those who have decided to use our measure of self-employment and start their own entrepreneurial story. We are talking about more than 20,000 users who represent a completely new generation of entrepreneurs who will have to continue their business in the 'new normal' in which digital business and digital skills are the basis for business success," added Dragan Jelić.

Online workshops

The director of the Croatian Employment Service, Ante Lončar, also took part in the presentation of the initiative. As part of the Digital Garage initiative, the CES cooperates with the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family and Social Policy, Google, and Algebra by organizing digital marketing workshops aimed at strengthening the country's current and future workforce with digital skills and helping small and medium-sized enterprises.

"During July and October, the CES included a total of 390 beneficiaries of self-employment support in the workshops, thus allowing them to further improve their business. Since we saw the benefits of the workshops during our participation in the initiative, we decided to expand the target groups for education, and we offered an introductory workshop called Introduction to Digital Marketing to unemployed people and other job seekers who are in the records of the Bureau and want to expand their knowledge," said Lončar.

The mentioned workshop is currently held once a week in an online form, and since the beginning of its implementation (through November) they have included a total of 560 people. This workshop is still conducted for all interested candidates.

Reducing the digital divide

"As the traditional main drivers of economic growth gradually disappear, the digital economy, whose potential in Croatia has not been fully exploited, is taking on the role of catalyst for economic growth," said Joško Mrndže, Google's director for Adriatic region.

Namely, Mrndže says that according to the report of the consulting company McKinsey, with a strong focus on digitization, Croatia has the potential to generate 8.3 billion euros of GDP by 2025 (additional about 2,000 euros of GDP per capita).

"With this in mind, we presented the Grow Croatia with Google initiative as a continuation and expansion of the Digital Skills learning platform, which is part of the Grow with Google program, which we have trained more than 37,000 people since its launch in 2016. Through the Grow with Google initiative, we will accelerate this pace to help 10,000 Croatian citizens and companies find jobs, digitize and grow, and thus participate in reducing the digital divide in Croatia," concluded Mrndže.

The Grow Croatia with Google initiative was launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family, and Social Policy and the Croatian Employment Service, and under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Latest Jobkeeping Measures Welcomed by Croatian Tourism Association

ZAGREB, Oct 21, 2020 - The Croatian Tourism Association (HUT) on Wednesday welcomed the government's latest jobkeeping measures and amendments to eligibility criteria with regard to a decline in turnover in the second and third quarters of the year.

In the association's (HUT) latest issue of "Croatia Tourism & Travel", HUT director Veljko Ostojic underlines that the continuation of the government's job retention measures and changes to eligibility criteria with grants in proportion to the fall in turnover in Q2 and Q3 compared to the corresponding period in 2019, has expanded the number of enterprises that will apply for the measures.

"That is the key to keep workers in the tourism sector. Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have stressed that this is the most important link in the chain to keep jobs and in that regard, the survival of enterprises. We welcome the government's decision to continue implementing its measures until the end of the year in the belief that they will be extended to 1 April 2021 or the start of the tourism season," said Ostojic.

He believes that the recovery of the tourist trade is the key to Croatia's economic recovery and that it is essential to avoid laying off workers because that would have a negative impact on Croatia's overall recovery.

 ADAC: Italy and Croatia most popular destinations for Germans

Apart from that, HUT released the latest analysis by Germany's ADAC automobile association on travel by Germans this year noting that Croatia is just a step away from Italy in being the most popular foreign tourist destination for Germans in 2020 as 14.3% of Germans chose Croatia as their holiday destination while 14.9% opted for Italy.

However, according to the survey, Croatia once again surpassed Italy with regard to camping tourism with Istria chosen as the most popular camping region for Germans while Dalmatia 'jumped' from fifth to second place among most favorite regions.

"The results of this survey and the hugely positive step by Croatia's Istria and Dalmatia regions in the eyes of German tourists provides us with a clear direction for Croatia's tourism promotion and communication for next year," said Ostojic.

He added that ADAC's survey showed that Croatia's campsites recorded the best improvement in quality in Europe, including those in Istria which scored an average of 4.2 points on a scale of 1 to 5.

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.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Economic Expectations for Croatia Deteriorate Mildly in Sept

ZAGREB, Sept 29, 2020 - Economic expectations in Croatia deteriorated mildly in September, under a wave of pessimism in the services sector, but managers expect to employ new workers, a European Commission report released on Tuesday notes.

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for Croatia decreased by 2.3 points in September compared to August, slipping to 88.6, the Commission's regular report shows.

In August it jumped by 7.7 points, signalling a strong wave of optimism after stringent lockdown measures against the coronavirus were lifted. Those measures led to the ESI sinking to a record low of 72.3 points in April.

By far the biggest deterioration in expectations among managers in September occurred in the services sector, which is obvious in the drop in the relevant index by 4.8 points after jumping by 19.3 points in August.

The consumer confidence index deteriorated too, by 3.8 points.

Construction confidence and retail confidence, however, improved slightly, increasing by 3 points and 2.4 points respectively.

Industry confidence remained at the same level as in August, when it had plunged compared to July.

Managers expect that they will continue to employ new workers, with the Employment Expectations Indicator recording an increase of 3.8 points compared to August, when it also increased, by 2.1 points, the Commission's report says.

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.

Friday, 4 September 2020

FinMin: Full Economic Recovery Expected in 2022

ZAGREB, September 4, 2020 -This year's economic decline will not be as sharp as originally estimated, a full recovery is expected by 2022, and our goal it to leave the crisis behind as soon as possible, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Friday in Opatija, where he attended the Croatian Money Market conference.

The government had earlier projected that GDP would drop by 9.4% in 2020, and when asked by reporters whether the drop would be lower than 9% according to the new projection, Maric said that the drop on the year would still be marked but lower than originally projected.

He said that they would report on it in a government session in two weeks and that the projection would be the basis for planning some measures and next year's budget.

Maric underscored that despite the depth of the crisis, Croatia had been much more prepared for it than it had been in 2008, in terms of macroeconomics. He noted that we need to leave the crisis behind us as soon as possible as last time it took us 11 years to recover and only in 2019 did we manage to reach the level of GDP from 2008.

He said that the response to the coronavirus-caused crisis had been timely and adequate, underscoring that the focus was on job retention.

Minister Maric also said that the Next Generation EU recovery instrument could be a great opportunity for Croatia in this challenging situation as it can be used not only for economic recovery but also for resilience.

Asked when those EU funds would be available, Maric said that implementation would fully commence in the second half of 2021 but that part of the funding would be available to Croatia in the form of advance payments before that.

"Next year, Croatia will receive an advance payment of at least 10%, or about HRK 3 billion, and that can be used for these measures and will be part of the budget," he said.

Maric mentioned the Solidarity Fund in connection to Zagreb's post-earthquake reconstruction as an example of an advance payment.

"We are speaking of €500 million, possibly even up to €700 million. A few days ago we received the biggest payment yet from the Solidarity Fund, of €89 million," he said.

Commenting on yesterday's meeting with US Ambassador to Croatia Robert Kohorst, who presented the government with a draft agreements on double taxation avoidance, Maric recalled that the basic aim of these agreements was to protect citizens and entrepreneurs from double payments of tax.

As for the coronavirus crisis, Maric said that everything was under control.

"We are rational, we are implementing measures, we are endeavouring to react in time and adequately. There are a lot of challenges, some activities are still affected and measures have continued for some sectors. We all need a healthy and positive climate, without irrational and unrealistic promises and we all need to act together," he said.


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.