Friday, 16 July 2021

Davor Nađi Interview: "Fokus Party Not for American-style Economy, Dutch or Scandinavian Preferred"

July 16, 2021 - One month after the local elections in Croatia, the liberal/center Fokus party president shares with TCN reflections of his Zagreb mayor candidacy, details on political views, plans, and hope for the future of Croatia. Learn more about the Fokus party in an exclusive Davor Nađi interview conducted by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

2021 local elections for Croatia concluded back in June, and as with every local election, the majority of political parties whose candidates earned some new positions in the local governments managed to taste both victories and losses are overall happy. Some parties from both left and right political wings celebrated as scientists whose work won the Nobel prize. Even election losses were interpreted as victories, drawing attention to the number of votes, that although they may not score political roles, show growing support. If there is a once in four years occasion when political parties have as much optimism as the Croatian Adriatic has drops of water, it’s the local elections. 

Currently in parliamentary opposition, Davor Nađi, president of the Fokus political party, politically declared as center-oriented, also doesn't hide his optimism following the result, but it seems he is a bit more toned down in that excitement than some of his political competitors. Satisfied to see his colleagues from the party keeping their previous positions, and some even selected for new ones, he is expecting the Fokus party to grow in the future while remaining aware of Fokus being new and young on the scene - is careful to say more than he can bargain for. Nađi ran for Zagreb mayor, but in the end, didn't manage to win neither the "main prize" nor a seat in the Zagreb Assembly. He noted, however, that his candidacy helped to attract new Fokus members in Zagreb, but again stating it without grandiose announcements, rather with mild optimism, careful not to step out of the line of realism. 

In an e-mail interview, Nađi commented what happened in the Zagreb elections, did NGOs stepped out of line in supporting current mayor Tomislav Tomašević, and what do Fokus voters find attractive in the political party best known for reforming the town of Sveta Nedelja. Are they American-styles libertarians as described by some, and what European politicians are in line with Fokus’s ideas, are just some of the things Nađi revealed in the interview.  

davor_nađi_n1_cut.jpg

screenshot / N1

You are the president of the Fokus party, and candidates from your party had won in Sv. Nedelja, Samobor, Sv. Ivan Zelina and Dugo Selo. So, your party currently has four mayors. Can you list for our readers where your party had candidates for mayors, assemblies, and counties? How do you comment on „your mayor's" first-month post-election, and what moves would you point out as excellent in that time?

Except for these four cities, we also won in the municipalities of Križ and Pirovac. We ran for mayors and local and regional assemblies mostly in central Croatia (Zagreb and Zagreb county) but also in Čakovec, Slatina, Petrinja, Pirovac. We won 50 members of local and regional assemblies, including the president of assembly in Čakovec.

Most of our mayors were reelected, so they just continued working on projects. However, I would like to point out our new mayor of the city of Samobor, Petra Škrobot, who already contracted procurement of software for transparency of city budget and public procurement, which is one of the flagship policies of the Fokus party.

How would you briefly explain to our readers what your party represents and advocates politically? What politicians, foreign or Croatians are your role models, and why?

We represent the fight for lower taxes and fewer regulations for citizens and the private sector and for a more efficient public sector. That means that we want that people and companies can keep more of the money they earn for themselves and decide on what they want to spend it. For example, that is the only correct way to solve the housing problem – to make sure that people earn and keep more money. Further on, that means that the private sector gets better value for money through better service of the public sector where, in our vision, worst or/and unnecessary public servants would be let go, and the best workers would get a financial reward. We also talk and act on investments in infrastructure, which is important for preparing for future climate change challenges.

I can’t say I have some role models in politics, but I like the politics of Dutch PM regarding the economy because they have a small and efficient public sector that provides good service to their citizens. That allows them to keep their economy very competitive, which results in a better life for their people.

You express deep care for private investments, lowering taxes, and overall creating a better environment for private business and entrepreneurship. But, when talking about entrepreneurs in Croatia, people roll their eyes as many of our famous „entrepreneurs“ are associated with crime, corruption ties to politics, and unfair privatization that ended up in many people losing their job. What is your opinion on these entrepreneurs, such as Todorić or Horvatinčić? How to fix that negative perception of entrepreneurs?

Yes, the private sector is very important to us. We care about entrepreneurs but also about their employees. We also care about the best public servants too. 

I think that public opinion on entrepreneurs is changing in a good way because of a new generation of successful entrepreneurs that succeeded in the global market with no connections to the government. Todorić and Horvatinčić are the exact opposite of them and represent everything that is wrong with this country. It’s wrong to call them entrepreneurs because they are a product of crony capitalism. The only cure to fight people like them is an independent and efficient judiciary.    

New option for liberals in Croatia 

You ran for mayor in Zagreb. The polls didn't give you too much of a chance, but libertarian (classical liberal) oriented site Liberal.hr said that you could be „the biggest surprise of the Zagreb elections“. To tell you the truth, it didn't seem likely you will become a mayor, but I was very surprised you didn't win a seat in the assembly. What went wrong in Zagreb, and how is it possible that the city with the most developed business climate and entrepreneurship (and with a lot of entrepreneurs) didn't reward your entrepreneurship-oriented ideas, at least with the seat in the assembly?

Well, Fokus is a new party, and I’m relatively new in politics, so a lot of people weren’t informed about our program and achievements. Fokus party didn’t exist in Zagreb until this year, while other parties were building their organization for many years, so it was hard to catch up in just a few months period during a partial lockdown. However, even though we didn’t win a seat in the assembly, we achieved some other goals. Now we have a lot of new members, and a strong organization in Zagreb and a lot of people have heard about FOKUS for the first time. Further on, we are the strongest liberal party in Zagreb, and we had better results than a lot of old traditional parties. So I believe that in the future, our support will only grow in Zagreb.

Davor_during_his_campaing_in_Zagreb_23.jpg

Davor Nađi during his campaign in Zagreb © Davor Nađi

You said on your Facebook site that you didn't receive enough media attention, and indeed you weren't invited to the debates (with the explanation being that only those who earned 5% in polls will be invited). However, you had banners and posters across Zagreb where you talked about how you are experienced to be a mayor because of Sveta Nedelja, where you were a deputy mayor, and the town did receive media attention few years back for amazing changes introduced there. What was your contribution to the transparency of public servants, lowering taxes, and canceling the subtax in Sveta Nedelja as deputy mayor? 

I was the designer of those policies with the strong support of mayor Zurovec and the city council, and I was working on these policies from the beginning until the implementation. I’m very proud of that because Sveta Nedelja did the biggest tax cut in Croatia, became the most transparent city in Croatia, and received a reward for the best local economy three years in a row.   

You criticized some of the moves by the new Zagreb mayor Tomislav Tomašević. Can you repeat what do you find problematic in his governance so far, but also, is there anything positive, something you would support him in if you made it to the Zagreb assembly?

There are some things that are good, and some are not. I reacted on one occasion, but let's wait a little bit more time before I can comment general impression so far.

However, for our readers who are foreign and didn't have the chance to see your comment in Croatian, can you briefly explain what did you found problematic with Tomašević early on to the point that you had to react publicly?

He stopped most of the public procurement. Even though I understand his concern that there might be corruption problems, that is not the way to solve that problem. That problem should be solved with better process and clear guidance from the mayor to the city administration because if public procurement is stopped for too long, there will be problems for citizens. On the other hand, in a short period of time new mayor will not be able to change much if he doesn’t make the process of public procurement more transparent and efficient. 

Far from the US philosophy

 Once on N1, you said political parties in Croatia are still pretty socialistic. Since on that occasion you were a guest at N1 regarding Zagreb Reconstruction Bill, did you mean they were socialistic just in that regard or in general? Are Croatians also socialistic too?

They are socialistic in general, and that bill was just the latest example. That orientation of political parties in Croatia resulted in a situation in which an enormous part of the economy depends on the state so we actually have crony capitalism. That sends the wrong message to the people, so people lose self-confidence and think they can’t earn for themselves and their families, and instead, they rely on the state to help them in every aspect of their life. They simply don’t take into account the fact that the state is corrupt and inefficient, which may be because of inadequate financial literacy.

However, it seems to me that the tide is changing with the lead from the local level from cites like Sveta Nedelja and that people are beginning to see the benefits of liberal policies.

When you say the parties are socialistic, some could think this is the heritage of Yugoslavia. However, aside from the communist experiences of South-Eastern Europe, the overall European political culture and tradition goes along the way „yes to democracy, yes to free market, yes to the individual freedoms“ but also „yes to social care, yes to free health, yes to free education, yes to supporting cultural and artistic projects, scientific research, etc“. Many people see Fokus as being against that and wanting to dismantle that European political culture with American political culture, which seems to be notorious in Europe for its health and education system, which as people see it, „is alright if you have cash, but not for the poor“. Are you indeed into „making Croatia American rather than European?“ and if so, how would you address the mentioned sectors of health, education, culture, and science? What about HRT in that context (as the idea of a public TV financed by the state is a European invention in the media landscape)?

Of course, we are not for an American-style economy. We prefer the Dutch or Scandinavian style with high economic freedom and adequate social benefits. Some people don’t understand that “free” health care doesn’t exist. Taxpayers pay for that. And if we think a little bit more about our health care system, do we really have health care that is accessible to the poor? How long are the waiting lists? People pay taxes for health care, and when they need it, then they don’t get it. That is not free health care! Almost the same is for everything else. I believe that vouchers would solve that problem because then even poor people could afford health care service from the private sector, and the public health care system would have to be more efficient and provide better value for money. The same thing is possible with education. HRT should be significantly downsized, and subscriptions decreased with the option to opt-out from their service.

When it comes to the overall Croatian political landscape, Fokus does offer something truly different from other political options, and it seems quite right to expect that Fokus will continue to grow. But, what do you think made Fokus uprise to start in central Croatia, in Sveta Nedelja, Samobor, Dugo Selo, and Sv. Ivan Zelina? Is there something that makes the culture and society in these areas different comparing to the rest of Croatia that they were the first to recognize and give a chance to your program?

Fokus also has a mayor of Pirovac in Dalmatia and president of the city council in Čakovec, members of City council in Slatina, etc, so I wouldn’t say that our policies are only recognized in central Croatia. However, we have better support in parts of Croatia, where fewer people work in the public sector and more in the private sector. That is not surprising since we promote policies that would result in a more efficient public sector and less red tape and taxation for the private sector. 

 Davor_during_his_campaing_in_Zagreb.jpg© Davor Nađi

 Up next: European elections and Croatian Parliament 

On the note of local success, many view local elections as a forecast for what can happen in parliamentary elections. How would you rate your chances on the next parliament elections based on local results?

I’m very optimistic. Fokus has a very good position to grow and to achieve a great result. Fokus is already a success story and we have grown in a number of members in every part of Croatia. I believe that a new government after elections will not be formed without a strong party or coalition from the political center, and if we look at the results of local elections, Fokus is the fourth party by a number of mayors in Croatia. Also, we are the strongest party of the political center in national ratings, so that gives us reason to believe that we can gain even more support from our citizens in the future.

 Back to the Zagreb elections. The two main candidates represented Gree-left values and national, conservative, sovereign values. Tomašević not only got support from some of the other European mayors but, just as with Škoro's values, there are plenty of same-minded people in Europe sharing those values. You mentioned your appreciation for the Dutch Prime Minister, but are you as well in contact with like-minded parties and politicians in the EU?  

Fokus is a new party, so we still haven’t formed significant international alliances, but we can see ourselves working with other European liberal parties. Of course, the one with the best results is Dutch VVD that is in power on the state level. 

But when we talk about the support that Tomašević or some right-wing parties and NGOs in Croatia had in recent years from abroad; I would say that there is a thin line between support and meddling into elections, and I would say that that line was crossed.

But, can we expect that Fokus will try to be in communication with them? Any plans for running on European Parliament elections as a good point to meet with other think-alike politicians in the EU?

I said that we don't have some significant alliances with them. However, we are in contact with some of them. We will see where that will take us. EP elections could be the first opportunity to test eventual cooperation.

And regarding what you said about there being a thin line between support and meddling in elections and how that line was crossed in Zagreb elections by NGOs, is there a risk of entrepreneurs doing the same thing when supporting, either financially or with public influence, certain parties? How can we prevent such meddling legally but yet with respect to the right of political expression to organizations and individuals?

I don’t see the financial support of Croatian entrepreneurs to political parties as a problem. The problem is only if they receive privileged treatment after the election in return for giving financial support. I would go one step further and say that we should welcome donations of private individuals and companies to political parties because that would mean that political parties would be less dependant on public financing. That should be a normal part of the domestic election process. However, if foreign money is included in financing political parties or their leaders, direct or through other channels, then we as a state have a problem.

To conclude, you are MA of the economy, and you talk a lot about economic solutions. Are our economy and business truly the core issues politicians need to address? Additionally, what are your views and the views of Fokus on defense policy, diplomacy, international relations, emigration policy (asylum seekers trying to enter Croatia), Croatian veterans, diaspora, and the ideological, historical disputes among Croatians, which for better or worse seem to often resolve the elections on a parliamentary level?

It would take a much longer conversation to answer all these questions, but I will try to answer in few sentences. Yes, I believe that economy is the most important issue that needs to be addressed because that is the place where value is created and which provides a better life for people and necessary funding for all government programs. Without a strong economy, the state can’t finance defense or social benefits. Unfortunately, you are right that elections are, in the biggest part, decided on other issues that target emotions rather than reason. 

When it comes to defense policies, liberals believe that the basic tasks of the state are to provide to their citizen's rule of law and protection from foreign and domestic threats. So we should have adequate defense capabilities. On the other hand, we have no problem financing social benefits to real war veterans, however almost 30 years after the war, there shouldn’t be any new users of these benefits. Regarding international relations, our position is that Croatia should remain an EU and NATO member with strong relationships with the USA and with a clear position that China can’t be our partner until they don’t behave by the same rules like everyone else with the biggest concern regarding human rights issues.

Even though we are a small country, that doesn’t mean we can’t lead by example. It is up to us if we will stay on the bottom of every European statistic table or we will start going up. We have all the resources we need to thrive.

Learn more about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC page.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Entrepreneurs To Have One Chance For Debt Forgiveness, Reports Večernji List

ZAGREB, 2 June, 2021 - Every entrepreneur should have one opportunity to have their debt forgiven during their entrepreneurial life and to be able to do business without hindrance, Večernji List daily said on Wednesday.

This is provided for by the Directive on preventive restructuring frameworks and second chance from 2019, which EU member states have to introduce into their legislation by mid-2021, that is in a month.

The Croatian Ministry of Justice has also announced that it will initiate amendments to the Bankruptcy Act and the Consumer Bankruptcy Act to adapt them to the Directive, but a bill of amendments has not been presented yet so it remains unclear whether Croatia will additionally regulate discharge of business debts.

In Croatia, there are currently about 16,000 entrepreneurs with blocked accounts, and about 8,000 of them are companies, while the second half are craftsmen and other entrepreneurs who keep business books. The total debt of all entrepreneurs amounts to about HRK 6 billion.

The situation is much more difficult for nearly 240,000 citizens with blocked accounts, whose debt principal totals about HRK 17 billion.

So far, the state has twice written off debts of citizens with blocked accounts as part of special campaigns, but that has not significantly affected the overall situation.

Debt write-offs for entrepreneurs were the most common in pre-bankruptcy settlements established by former finance minister Slavko Linić during Zoran Milanović's term as prime minister. Later, the law changed and debt write-offs are now less frequent.

The EU Directive does not address citizens' debts directly, but it proposes that states apply the principle for debt forgiveness for entrepreneurs to over-indebted citizens.

Under the Directive, everyone should have the opportunity to have their debt written off in a procedure that should last no longer than three years, Večernji List said.

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

 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Summer Business School: A Chance for Entrepreneurs at Step-Ri Science-Technology Park

May 27, 2021 - This June, a five-day Summer Business School organized by Step-Ri Science-Technology Park and the American Embassy in Croatia makes Rijeka the place for entrepreneurs.

Science parks, research parks or technology parks or less intriguingly known as innovation centers, are a purpose-built cluster of office spaces, labs, workrooms, and meeting areas designed to support research and development in science and tech, says Bidwells, one of the UK's most reputable property consultancy companies. Common infrastructures worldwide and in Europe, the biggest city in Kvarner, Rijeka, is no exception in having one.

Step-Ri is a science-technology park, part of the University in Rijeka, and a place where science and economy meet to encourage entrepreneurship based on knowledge and new technologies.

„As one of the leading institutions in Croatia when it comes to entrepreneurship, Step Ri brings the newest knowledge in innovation and management from around the world through interesting education and business consulting. With our knowledge and experience, singlehandedly and with the help of the international network of partners and friends, we create projects and specialized programs to encourage entrepreneurship initiatives for both employed and unemployed, students, and the scientific community. With new services, business models, personal and organizational competencies, we make already successful entrepreneurs more competitive“, says Step-Ri's official website.
One example of such initiatives is the upcoming Summer Business Camp which will take place from June 23-27. And what's more interesting, this five-day program is brought to Step-Ri in collaboration with the American Embassy in Croatia.

„Summer Business Camp brings teams from all Croatia that want to improve or refine their business ideas and solutions through exercises, lectures, and individual coaching, “says Step Ri, promising extraordinary mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and investors.

This year, special attention will be given to the gaming startups, but other industries are also welcome. Regardless of whether you are already an entrepreneur or just aspiring to be one, you are welcome to apply if you have a developed business idea or a functional prototype.

Learning how to bulletproof your idea, experienced entrepreneur as a mentor, a chance to hear directly from investors what are they looking for and how to deliver it, valuable feedback and honest thoughts to accelerate your project, creating new opportunities, meeting other people in the business, and a having a good time- are some of the promises by Step-Ri for those who apply.

But, it would be best if you hurried, as June 6 is very close, and that's the deadline to beat. At least ten teams will be selected after a committee of experts evaluates project applications. Bed and breakfast accommodation for up to two team members, lunch at the venue, local bus tickets for getting to the venue, and a commemorative T-shirt await for those who are selected. And once in, a panel of venture capitalists, business angels, and business people will award the best with Apple iPad Pro (1st prize), Apple iPad Air 4 (2nd prize), and Apple iPad 8 (3rd prize).

Pieces of technologies such as the aforementioned above can certainly come in handy to entrepreneurs, but what about money? The actual finance for your projects?
„Many teams in the past received funding from participating investors and judges. However, nobody but you can answer that! Come and pitch your idea and see how far it will take you!“concludes Step-Ri regarding finance possibilities to turn your vision into a reality.

Learn more about Rijeka on our TC page.

For more about education in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Zadar: Contracts For Social Entrepreneurship Worth HRK 10 Million Presented

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović and deputy director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development Luka Bogdan presented eight contracts in Zadar on Friday worth nearly HRK 10 million for projects to strengthen the capacities of old and new social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

"Today, we signed contracts with entities that are just starting and that are developing their business in accordance with principles of social entrepreneurship," said Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović, noting that the ministry has provided over HRK 112 million to encourage social entrepreneurship.

The pandemic and crisis have created an opportunity for doing some things better and fairer, he said.

I believe that we can find a way in our business to regain a positive social impact. There are four counties among the co-signers: Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia and Lika-Senj counties. All forms of entrepreneurship in these areas are more important than ever before, mostly due to the impact the pandemic has had on the tourism sector and all related activities, Minister Aladrović said, adding that by signing the projects they want to strengthen the capacities of old and new social enterprises through additional employment and education.

Deputy director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development Luka Bogdan  said that social entrepreneurship was one of the models connecting solidarity and entrepreneurship that could be seen every day, not just in a crisis.

The purpose of the projects is to employ members of vulnerable groups -- women, Croatian war veterans and victims of the Homeland War, people with disabilities and others, and this will include creating new jobs and improving the knowledge and skills of employees through specialised forms of training and employment.

Before presenting the contracts cofinanced by the European Social Fund, Minister Aladrović and his associates had a working meeting with representatives of the City of Zadar on increasing capacities of retirement homes.

According to state secretary Marija Pletikosa, it is estimated that about 5% of the population aged over 65 needs accommodation in a retirement home, and Zadar has not yet reached the capacity to accommodate 3%, so it is necessary to build new retirement homes.

Aladrović said that he supported the idea because increasing the number of accommodation units for the elderly population across Croatia was one the priorities of his ministry.

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

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Croatian EY Entrepreneurs of the Year Announced

November 17, 2020 - The Croatian edition of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year award has been completed. Hrvoje Josip Balen, Mislav Balković, and Tomislav Dominković from the Algebra company were named as the new Croatian EY Entrepreneurs of the year.

As Poduzetnik writes, one of the largest and fastest-growing educational groups in Croatia was chosen from six finalists in a competition of more than 55 candidates from 40 companies. As the winners of the national edition, Algebra will represent Croatia at the world finals in Monte Carlo.

Algebra is a company focused on undergraduate and graduate education, lifelong learning, and corporate education. Also, Algebra prepares high school students for graduation and offers a digital education for primary school students. They are also active in the field of educational consulting and digital publishing. During the 21 years of its existence, more than 120,000 people have completed various types of educational programs in Algebra, and 15,000 students of all ages enroll in various fields and studies each year.

Today, Algebra is the most important educational partner of companies such as Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Cisco, Adobe, Red Hat, Vmware, and many others, and it is also a prominent member of numerous eminent academic initiatives.

"Despite all the hardships that befell us this year, with great energy and desire, we managed to fight back and continue to develop our dream. We come from a sector that is not primarily perceived as entrepreneurial, from the education sector, but we were committed to building a successful system by which we will participate in creating new ideas, added value, and future professionals for the benefit of all of us. Thank you to fellow entrepreneurs for the recognition, which will certainly serve as an additional motivation for us in the days to come," said Hrvoje Josip Balen from Algebra during the proclamation.

The expert and the independent jury consists of entrepreneurs and investors Nenad Bakić and Saša Cvetojević, together with previous winners Alan Sumina, Đuro Horvat, Marko Pipunić, Mate Rimac, and Silvio Kutić, led by the President of the Management Board of Atlantic Grupa Emil Tedeschi. The winner was chosen according to global criteria which, in addition to financial indicators, focus on entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, personal integrity, and strategic direction.

"Although the circumstances of life and business have changed, what remains unchanged are the values underlying this award and program. These values are positively evidenced by the entrepreneurial news that resonates with the public in recent months, but also over the years. Almost all previous laureates and finalists of the past five years have achieved great results, and they are connected by hard work, knowledge, desire, courage, and the ability to gather outstanding teams. Besides, the desire for constant education and the acquisition of new knowledge is crucial for their success. It is the constant development of new ideas and knowledge that will be the foundation of further success in all areas," said Emil Tedeschi, President of the Jury, in his introductory speech. Speaking about the importance of the award, he added: "This is a unique award given by entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs, which celebrates entrepreneurship with the message that the best among us are all role models and inspiration."

Winners Hrvoje Balen and Mislav Balković from Algebra in the company of Berislav Horvat, Saša Cvetojević, Nenad Bakić, Mate Rimac, and Josip Pavlinić at the award ceremony of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year award / Poduzetnik.biz

Apart from Algebra, the selected group of this year's finalists, who presented their success stories in Zagreb's Lauba on Friday, November 13, consisted of Nikica Gabrić from the Svjetlost Clinic, Anita Cvetić Oreščanin, Dražen Oreščanin, and Lidija Karaga from the company Business Intelligence (Poslovna inteligencija), Gordan Lauc from Genos, Stjepan Šafran from Metal Product, and Matt Darko Sertić from Applied Ceramics.

During the opening ceremony for the most successful Croatian entrepreneur, Berislav Horvat, Country Managing Partner at EY Croatia, said:

"This year was specific, it put every individual, including everyone who has dedicated their lives to entrepreneurship and creating new values, numerous unexpected temptations. I am convinced that even in such times, it is entrepreneurs and their innovations, optimism, ability to quickly adapt and find the best solutions that can re-create new values and help the further development of society. Therefore, a big thank you to all entrepreneurs for the extra effort they put into building a better society just when it is most needed."

Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić pointed out that glorifying entrepreneurial success is extremely important in these unprecedented times and that entrepreneurs have once again shown how important their role is in the development of the economy and society as a whole.

Croatian entrepreneurship has once again shown that it has the strength and potential, and the sixth edition of this most prestigious world award in entrepreneurship presented the most successful and brought additional motivation for business development and perseverance.

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

Thursday, 17 September 2020

One-Stop-Shop Opens in Split, Offering Support to Foreign Entrepreneurs

September 17, 2020 - A conference of the TASKFORCOME team was held on Wednesday evening to encourage the development of foreign entrepreneurship in the City of Split. A one-stop-shop is an initiative intended for facilitating the process of opening a business for future citizens of Split.

Opening your company in a new country is very challenging, especially in Croatia, because of its exhausting bureaucracy. Everyone who tried to start their business here is familiar with filling out tons of papers and knocking on thousands of doors to get an answer. 

"We will try through this project to bring this whole process closer to you, to your friends or anyone who has some ideas about starting their own company, start-up, or becoming a social entrepreneur", Marin Urlić, from CEDRA Split, said.

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Toni Jerković from the Service for International and EU Projects of the City of Split welcomed all gathered and explained that Split is not only a destination for rest and entertainment but can become the core of development and launching entrepreneurial ideas and ventures.

"We believe that Croatia, as part of the European Union, is developing and opening to foreigners that want to start their business here. In this project, the City of Split saw an opportunity to equip the now-abandoned space in the Multimedia Cultural Center (better known as the Youth Center) and open a one-stop-shop, and thus use the potential of empty public spaces for the benefit of not only immigrants but also the local population", he stressed.

Those interested will be able to get free advice and support in starting a business - from consulting tips for developing plans, strategies, and processes in their company to marketing, financial and other advice for the development of innovative products.

It is expected that the one-stop-shop will be equipped by the end of this year, and civil society organizations from the Youth Center Platform will also operate in that area.

Michael Freer, who moved from Great Britain to Split five years ago, shared his experience. He fell in love with the mountains, sea, and the climate and decided to stay. He used to work for CEDRA Split, but he left them for his own company, Ensoco. He wants to share the first-hand experience and help others with useful information when starting a business in a new environment where you know neither the language nor culture.

"Through this project, we want to help all foreigners from all countries from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, China, from EU member states. Those from BiH and Serbia, as well as from Russia, know the language, they can communicate here, but they need advice on starting a business. We want to create an ecosystem between local people and foreigners to show that Croatia is not just a place for a week or two vacation but a great place to live", Michael explained.

Besides Michael, Sarah Dyson from Expat in Croatia and Nick from 45 degrees sailing also shared their experiences.

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Entrepreneurs Expect Clear Economic Strategy, Reforms

ZAGREB, June 30, 2020 - Entrepreneurs expect the next government to urgently adopt structural reforms and define a clear economic strategy, according to an online round table organised on Tuesday by the Croatian Employers Association (HUP) and Vecernji List daily.

HUP director-general Davor Majetic said that due to the coronacrisis, there was mainly talk about short term measures, but added that structural reforms must not be forgotten.

He said the next government should continue with the measures to help the economy and retain jobs as well as implement structural reforms from day one. "They have never been more important."

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said the government must create conditions for the economy to function as well as possible by reducing taxes and non-tax as well as administrative levies and by improving the investment climate.

He said the coronacrisis had shown that the economy could not function without a stable and strong state. He said the state should not be too involved but that, in partnership with businesses, it should decide which industries were strategic and base growth rates on them.

Maric said the EU's Recovery Fund was a big opportunity for Croatia and that it was necessary to start preparing projects.

Josip Tica of the Restart Coalition said strategic sectors should be in the function of added value and that it was necessary to stimulate consumption and investment. He also underlined digital transformation.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Municipalities with Most Entrepreneurs in Croatia, Viškovo, Medulin and Matulji

As Adriano Milovan/Novac writes on the 26th of March, 2019, the Croatian municipalities with the largest number of entrepreneurs in the country are Viškovo, Medulin and Matulji, according to FINA's new data on the matter.

According to this new data, 584 entrepreneurs had their headquarters registered in the municipality of Viškovo near Rijeka back in 2017. Following is the municipality of Medulin in Istria, with 508 entrepreneurs having their headquarters located in this area, and the municipality of Matulji near Opatija, with 501 entrepreneurs having their headquarters there.

On the other hand, the smallest number of entrepreneurs (only one) were found in the municipality of Saborsko in Karlovac County. Of 428 Croatian municipalities taken into account according to the number of entrepreneurs based in their territory, Ervenik in Šibenik-Knin County had only two registered entrepreneurs, and Zadvarje in Split-Dalmatia County had a mere three.

In all Croatian municipalities in 2017, a total of 19,821 entrepreneurs had their headquarters in one area or another of the country. They employed a total of 119,787 workers, according to FINA's information. Although differences in the number of registered entrepreneurs among Croatian municipalities are huge and reflect major differences in the degree of development among them.

Only 39 Croatian municipalities had 100 and more entrepreneurs in 2017, according to Fina's data. Between 51 and 99 entrepreneurs could be found across 79 municipalities, and most of the municipalities, as many as 258 of them, boasted between 11 and 50 entrepreneurs. 36 municipalities had between six and 10 entrepreneurs, while 13 municipalities had four or five entrepreneurs. Only three municipalities, Fina's data shows, had just one to three entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs based in municipalities in 2017 realised revenues amounting to 72.8 billion kuna, representing significant growth of 9.7 percent. The expenditures of these companies back in 2017 rose by 10.2 percent. The consolidated net profit of these companies in 2017 stood at 2.8 billion kuna.

Back in 2017, these Croatian companies also achieved great growth in employment. Namely, with respect to the previous business year, employment grew by 7.4 percent, which is more than employment growth in urban businesses, which stood at 5.6 percent in the same period.

The largest number of employees, up to 4,353 in 2017, were employed by companies with their headquarters based in Trnovec Bartolovečki in Varaždin County. Following is the municipality of Stupnik in Zagreb County, with 3,855 employees, and Viškovo, with 2,367 employees in companies registered in the area of ​​that municipality.

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

 

Click here for the original article by Adriano Milovan for Novac/Jutarnji

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