Friday, 23 July 2021

HUBBAZIA - A Business Incubator in Opatija for Tourism Startups Open for Applicants Until August 5, 2021

July 23, 2021 - Opatija is known to be Croatia's "cradle of tourism", hence, it's no wonder that it became home to HUBBAZIA - a centre for creativity and innovation in tourism. This business incubator, co-financed by the European Union, is now accepting applications from start-up companies that have original, sustainable, and creative ideas to further boost tourism entrepreneurship in Opatija. Applications are open until August 5, 2021! 

One of the most important (if not the most important) economic branches in Croatia is tourism and through HUBBAZIA, the City of Opatija encourages and attracts young startup companies to open and create new sustainable business ideas to further enhance the development of tourism in the city by providing full management training and mentoring, fully-equipped co-working space for brainstorming and lastly, venture capital financing. Joining HUBBAZIA is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to help increase their company's efficiency while significantly reducing looming business risks.

In return, through this project, the City of Opatija hopes to attract more foreign and domestic investors, regional economic and social development growth, and a more fulfilling relationship between the city's small to medium enterprises and the local community's needs. With HUBBAZIA amounting to a total value of HRK 2,543,985.25 (EUR 338,850.47), thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, the project will serve as big assistance to youth who are striving in launching their own businesses and will ensure the growth of Opatija's tourism industry.

Conditions for application 

The City of Opatija, together with PAR Business School, welcomes young entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and business models related to tourism AS LONG AS the business entities are not older than 3 years. The program will have 5 project cycles, meaning, it will have 5 generations of participants. The deadline for the application for its 1st cycle will be on 05.08.2021 at 12:00. The workshops and mentorships will begin on 16.08.2021 and will be held in the newly renovated and modernly equipped Villa Antonia. If interested, CLICK HERE for the application link.

What to expect?

After the submission of all applications closes, HUBBAZIA will conduct the selection phase which usually lasts for 1 month. If your business manages to get through, you will enter the mentoring and education phase which lasts for 4 months along with 25 hours of workshops each month. Here, your company will be mentored by experts in business, finance, marketing, sales, web design, investment, and product development to help you shape and enhance your business ideas. Next is the final consultation/construction phase, where you will be given a month to finalise your business construction model. The whole cycle culminates on Demo Day when participants get to present their ideas to the public and attract investors. 

Attendees will be entitled to have free co-working space, internet, meeting room, consumables for training, counseling, and mentoring, presentation on HUBBAZIA websites and social networks, and minimized initial fixed costs. Most importantly, HUBBAZIA will be a space for like-minded individuals to brainstorm and network their business with other entrepreneurs and to gain a wider range of business information and contacts - a definite and exciting once-in-a-lifetime chance!

For more details on HUBBAZIA, CLICK HERE.

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Podravka Group to Invest HRK 5 Bn Over Next Five Years

ZAGREB, 9 June, 2021 - Over the next five years, the Podravka Group plans to invest about HRK 5 billion in the modernisation and digitalisation of production and logistics, marketing and acquisitions, the group said on Wednesday after the Supervisory Board green-lighted its business strategy until 2025.

"The implementation of the adopted strategy includes investment of about HRK 1.7 billion in the modernisation and digitalisation of production and logistics processes, about HRK 1.4 billion in marketing to achieve organic growth, and about HRK 2 billion for acquisitions," Podravka said in a statement.

The group's Food division will focus on product and packaging development and innovation to increase the availability of products and adjust them to the needs and habits of different consumer groups.

The business strategy also sets the criteria for the consideration and selection of acquisitions. With possible acquisitions in the Food division, Podravka aims to strengthen its presence and position on markets to pursue further accelerated growth.

The Pharmaceuticals division (Belupo) will focus on strengthening growth on international markets, notably in central and eastern Europe, expanding its portfolio with products  in additional anatomical, therapeutic and chemical groups, and boosting growth on the domestic market by introducing new products.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

British American Tobacco (BAT) Announces HRK 200 Million Investment in Kanfanar Factory

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - During a visit on Wednesday by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to the British American Tobacco (BAT) factory in Kanfanar, BAT revealed an investment of HRK 200 million in the production of a new category of heated tobacco products (HTP), underlining the importance of the new logistics centre in Rijeka.

"By expanding production in Kanfanar and opening a hub in Rijeka, we are continuing with BAT's significant investments in Croatia. With the introduction of production lines for new product categories, Croatia is additionally strengthening its position on the global map of production sites in the tobacco industry. We are continuing to expand our selection for consumers in Croatia," BAT Adria director Zvonko Kolobara said in a statement to the press.

He added that the increased capacity in Kanfanar would help BAT meet growing demands for HTP in Europe and northern Africa.

Kolobara thanked the government and Prime Minister Plenković for their efforts in creating an investment climate that stimulates further investments.

Plenković expressed satisfaction that BAT is continuing with its investments in Kanfanar and ensuring jobs. BAT's announcement of the investment comes after its announcement that it could leave Croatia due to unfavourable business conditions.

Plenković underlined that the new investment was an example of a good business climate and that BAT did not exert any pressure on the government to meet its demands to continue doing business in Croatia.

"The new, HRK 200 million investment in new products means a new impetus, enthusiasm and a new generator of business and with that, a contribution to Croatia's economy. The company employs 1,600 people and another 800 cooperate closely with BAT and make a living that way. The investment plans have been coordinated with their headquarters in London and all the employees at the factory will be satisfied while the entire economy of Istria County will benefit from BAT's operations," said Plenković.

He noted that the government was open to large global investors.

"It is excellent that BAT has established a hub in Rijeka for products from China that are distributed throughout Europe. That is additional confirmation of Rijeka's attractiveness as an exceptionally important transport and commercial port in the country. As far as BAT's staying is concerned, the government took account of the Croatian economy and creating conditions for all foreign companies doing business in Croatia and investors to have the same treatment. It is obvious that BAT has decided that the Kanfanar factory is important and that it wants to invest and that Croatia is important to it. There was never any pressure," said Plenković.

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Thursday, 8 April 2021

HRK 20 Million For Areas Populated By National Minorities

ZAGREB, 8 April, 2021 - The government on Thursday made decisions on the implementation of programmes for financing local infrastructure and rural development projects in areas populated by national minorities, for which HRK 20 million was earmarked in this year's budget.

The programmes pertain to areas that are markedly below the national development average in which national minorities make up at least 5% of the population according to the 2011 census.

Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak said the programmes would ensure the minimum standards of municipal and social infrastructure as well as financial instruments for family farms.

The government also adopted a regulation on the financing of national minorities' public needs to enhance their rights and protect as well as promote their cultural, national, linguistic and religious identity.

Waters Act amendments

Also today, the government sent to parliament amendments aligning the Waters Act with EU legislation.

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Tuesday, 16 March 2021

$480,000 Invested in Upgrade of Rijeka's Offshore Emergency Response Centre

ZAGREB, 16 March, 2021 - The refurbished building housing Rijeka's Maritime Crisis Centre for Faster Response to Any Disaster off Croatia’s Coastline was officially opened on Tuesday.

The investment into the upgrade of this offshore emergency response centre in the biggest Croatian seaport totalled US$ 480,000, and the lion's share of the investment was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

During the ceremony, the state secretary of the Croatian Sea, Transport and Infrastructure ministry, Josip Bilaver, thanked the U.S. administration and military as well as the US Embassy in Zagreb for this donation in the amount of HRK 3.2 million.

The ministry has invested a million kuna, while the local county authorities provided 100,000 kuna for the project.

"The U.S.-Croatia partnership at sea is essential to the two countries’ NATO military cooperation and shared security. That is why the United States, through the U.S. Military’s European Command (EUCOM), provided assistance to the Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transportation and Infrastructure and the Rijeka Harbor Master’s office to advance training and emergency-response capabilities at sea," the embassy said on its website.

The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Victoria Taylor, who today joined State Secretary Bilaver for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, expressed satisfaction with the completion of this project.

Over the last decade, the USA has set aside HRK 4.5 billion to support numerous civilian and military projects in Croatia, she said.

The Rijeka centre is described as a a renewed facility that will become "the central point for planning, training, and management in response to emergencies at sea, from supporting persons and vessels in need to addressing maritime accidents and oil pollution."

"The upgraded center will therefore play a critical role in maintaining the safety and environmental stewardship of Croatian coastal waters, ensuring quick action in response to a potential environmental disaster. Protection of the environment is a key priority for both Croatia and the United States, and joint capacity to mitigate against incidents and accidents at sea can make all the difference in a crisis."

The embassy recalls that "Rijeka is already a hub for U.S.-Croatia cooperation, with the port city benefiting economically from nearly 900 million kuna in contracted services by the U.S. Navy for ship maintenance and support since 2011."

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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Investment in Petrinja Infrastructure, Reconstruction Announced

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak met with Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović on Thursday to discuss an intervention plan for the reconstruction of the city after a devastating earthquake in December, after which a group of disgruntled people verbally attacked the mayor.

The intervention plan is aimed at the social and economic regeneration of small towns, it was said.

The minister said Petrinja had been implementing HRK 140 million worth of EU-funded projects until 2020 and that several more remained to be contracted.

She said the goal was to utilise the funds available until the end of 2023 in the Petrinja area and invest in infrastructure and ongoing projects.

Tramišak said €111 million had been ensured for building new state-owned flats in Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and other towns affected by the earthquake.

If standardised buildings and houses will be built, construction could begin soon, she added.

Mayor Dumbović said he was satisfied with the solutions proposed and that the Culture Ministry had promised that Petrinja would look as it did before the earthquake. 

Mayor verbally attacked by protesters

Several dozen protesters rallied outside the venue of the meeting, complaining about the lack of transparency in decisions concerning the right to reconstruction aid and about the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The demonstrators blocked the exit of the fire station where the meeting was taking place, preventing the mayor's car from leaving the venue and announcing new protests.

Dumbović told the RTL commercial television channel in the evening that the incident was politically motivated. Asked who was behind the demonstration, he named Luca Gašpar Šako, the local coordinator of the opposition Bridge party.

"They are not aware of the damage individuals are doing to Petrinja. Petrinja did not deserve this. It turns out that we are lawless cowboys wanting to achieve something by force," the mayor said. 

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Higher Interest in Croatia among Foreign Investors, Conference Hears

ZAGREB, Sept 24, 2020 - There is a markedly higher interest in Croatia among foreign investors, partly owing to EU membership and partly to the business transactions of recent years, Daniel Radic of the KPMG consulting firm said on Thursday at the ''Investing in Times of Uncertainty'' conference.

Companies from the Agrokor system have also put Croatia on the investors' map, he said, adding that he did not see the COVID-19 pandemic as having affected investor confidence.

The conference was organised by the Enterprise Investors fund and the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia.

Enterprise Investors has been continuously looking for new investment opportunities in the Adriatic region, including Croatia, while the Studenac retail chain has identified potential acquisitions expected to be made by next year, said Michal Kedzia, a partner in the fund.

Enterprise Investors is one of the leading private equity funds in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year it bought the Pan-Pak bakeries chain and Studenac in Croatia, having previously bought the Intersport sporting gear chain.

Kedzia said the fund was looking for new investment opportunities not just in retail but in IT and technology as well.

Asked if the fund was interested in investing in Croatia's Ledo frozen food producer, he said the fund, as a rule, did not comment on transactions.

The question was put because the Fortenova group said this week that it had received a score of non-binding offers for Ledo Plus, Ledo Citluk and Frikom, which make up the Ledo group.

EBRD focused on green investment

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is focused on helping the private sector, notably green investment such as renewables, the food industry and the IT sector, said Miljan Zdrale, head of the EBRD agriculture sector for Central and Southeast Europe.

The EBRD's goal is for green investment to account for 50 percent of all investment by 2025, he added.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Horvat: Investment Cycle in Croatia Continuing

ZAGREB, July 1, 2020 - Economy Minister Darko Horvat on Wednesday said that the investment cycle in Croatia was going on through projects launched by his ministry, research and development projects, and through monitoring entrepreneurs' innovative ideas.

He recalled that the government's measures to bail out the economy during the corona crisis and added that entrepreneurs could still use job keeping incentive measures in June through a shorter working week for employers with more than ten employees on their payroll and the grant is in in the amount of HRK 2,000 a month for each worker.

That measure has also been foreseen for micro-enterprises that have recorded lower incomes and a fall in business activities as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Today the self-employment incentives scheme has been reactivated and recalled that this scheme had enabled the employment of 19,936 people in the period from October 2016 to March 2020.

 The government has adopted a measure for all those who had previously received incentives for self-employment to expand their business.

Horvat said that the government and relevant ministries have secured funding to support the cash flow for Croatian entrepreneurs to save every job, trade, company, and family-run farm.

The Croatian Agency of SMEs, Innovations, and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) has received 5,500 applications and secured sufficient liquid funding to secure loans for 3,500 enterprises under unprecedented favourable terms. "They are being issued with an interest rate of 0.25% and a grace period of a year," he added.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

INA Seeks Strategic Investment Status for Sisak Biorefinery Project

ZAGREB, June 23, 2020 - INA has submitted a request to the Ministry of Economy for the Sisak biorefinery project to be awarded strategic investment status, the oil company said in a press release on Tuesday.

The investment is worth €250 million, and part of that is expected to be covered from the EU Innovations Funds.

INA said that despite the challenging business climate, it is continuing strategic projects and the transformation of the Sisak refinery complex into an industrial centre. One of the activities in Sisak would be to develop a biorefinery thanks to which the company could produce second-generation bioethanol from biomass along with producing green energy.

In February, INA signed an agreement with the French AXENS group related to Futurol technology. At the end of last year, it also signed an agreement with the Belgian De Smet Engineers & Contractors to design the relevant base facility and its integration in the existing refinery structure.

INA has conducted testing of a mix of biomass as part of the EU GRACE (Growing Advanced Industrial Crops on Marginal Lands for Biorefineries), which has produced good results for the production of second-generation bioethanol.

The president of INA's management board, Sandor Fasimon, said that the project of developing a biorefinery is in accordance with the company's business plans and proof of INA's dedication to its "New Direction" programme.

The Sisak complex is important to INA's business and all the activities we are taking are a precondition for making a final investment decision. Support from the EU and the Croatian government is a key precondition to finally realise this significant project for Croatia and INA which entirely fits into Europe's Green Deal energy strategy, Fasimon underscored.

INA's New Direction 2023 programme foresees concentrating oil production at the Rijeka Refinery and transforming the Sisak complex into an industrial center. In addition to the biorefinery component, other alternative locations in Sisak include the production of bitumen, which should be operational in the first half of 2021 and followed by the production of lubricants for which a feasibility study is being conducted.

INA also plans a logistics centre and currently a budget for the centre's construction is being prepared as well as applying for a building permit for a solar electricity plant, the company said.

INA recalled that works at the Rijeka Refinery are also underway for the construction of a heavy residue refining unit worth €533.3 million.

In June a test run for a propane-propylene unit valued at €73.3 million was conducted, which is a valuable product in the petrochemical industry, INA said.

Monday, 8 June 2020

HGK: 2019 One Of Best Years For Investment Funds

ZAGREB, June 8, 2020 - Last year was one of the best years for investment funds with the value of their assets exceeding HRK 26 billion and this year despite the obvious fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. the sector has been significantly maturing, it was said at the Top of the Funds award ceremony on Monday.

President of the association of companies for the management of investment funds within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, (HGK) Hrvoje Krstulovic underlined that 2019 was one of the best years for investment funds and capital market with Undertaking for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) funds increasing by 18.5% to HRK 22.5 billion and a jump in alternative investment funds of 14.5%  to HRK 4.2 billion.

Those two figures, combined together, give the number of HRK 26.8 billion which is almost equal to the value of assets at the end of 2007, said Krstulovic.

Despite the crisis in 2020, 95% of physical entities retained their investments in funds, he explained and the decrease that has been recorded mostly relates to institutional investors, he said.

He underlined that a significant maturity has occurred in the entire sector from clients, to sales processes and on to regulators.

The strongest effect of the coronavirus epidemic was recorded in March when the value of assets of investment funds fell by 30% however in April an increase of 1.4% was recorded and the total value of UCITS funds at the end of April amounted to HRK 15.9 billion.

Top of the Funds awards in five categories

The Top of the Funds awards for the best management of investment funds in 2019 was conferred to Intercapital Bond for the best equity open-end investment fund (UCITS) while the best mixed open-end investment fund award went to Allianz Portfolio. The best open-ended investment fund was awarded to PBZ Equity while the particular open-ended investment fund award went to Intercapital Income Plus.

There are currently 23 companies managing investment funds in Croatia.

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