Saturday, 14 August 2021

Baranja Red Pepper Harvest is On! Despite Conditions, Yield is Good

August the 14th, 2021 - Baranja red pepper is often referred to as ''red gold'' among those who have a soft spot for it, and this much loved vegetable grown in Eastern Croatia has done very well this year despite unfavourable conditions for the most part. The Baranja red pepper harvest is already on.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite a year of extremes so far, the producers of Baranja red peppers, a spicy and popular Croatian vegetable, expect a good harvest with some high quality. Some growers have already started harvesting what they have, and the peak is expected in around ten days. They don't have to worry about the placement of their Baranja red peppers because the customers have long since recognised the worth of this domestic product, and this Baranja ''red gold'' is set to be sold out in record time.

The Lakatos family from Kopacevo has already carried out their first Baranja red pepper harvest and in a few days they will have a big workload on their hands. They expect good yields and quality in all of their ten greenhouses.

''I'm hoping for four more harvests, last year we had five harvests in total, and now we'll see how it's going to be depending on how the year went,'' said Tamara Lakatos from Kopacevo for HRT.

This year is good for Baranja red peppers, but one of the most demanding to date, the growers claim.

''Well, I think this year was the hardest because of the extreme heat and the wind. Nothing has been going in our favour,'' pointed out Zuzana Jozef from Lug.

It’s hard work, but the effort and work pays off. The Varga family from Bilje will produce two and a half tonnes of sweet and hot ground spicy peppers, and they have no concerns about whether or not they'll manage to sell it all.

''Baranja is a God-given location for red peppers as far as the climate and the type of country are concerned, really, everyone says that there are no spicy peppers like Baranja red peppers anywhere else,'' said Tatjana Varga from Bilje.

The demand for Baranja red pepper is so high that it is continuing to sell out in record time.

''It all just disappeared in the first month, because people couldn't go to Serbia and many of those who didn't buy it from Baranja before started doing so,'' explained Zuzana Jozef.

''I think that people have finally realised that Croatian products are of very high quality,'' said Kristijan Lakatos from Kopacevo.

Although 140 kuna should be set aside for a kilogram of sweet spicy peppers, and 150 kuna for a kilogram of hot peppers, nobody even asks about the price when making a purchase. All that seems important to customers is that what they're buying is Croatian and from Baranja.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Friday, 13 August 2021

Original Croatian Products Positioned on Brand New EU Portal

August the 13th, 2021 - Original Croatian products have been placed on a brand new European Union (EU) portal, putting a spring in the step of the many much loved domestic products this country traditionally produces.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the European Commission (EU) has created an online portal on products with special geographical labels called GIview, which provides an overview of these products protected by and across the European Union, including designations in the process of protection and geographical indications of non-EU countries.

It is brand new a portal where product information is presented in the form of what's known as a GI card containing the contact details of groups of manufacturers of geographical labels and their control bodies, the product's production area shown on the map, photos and the product's description, the geographical area and any sustainability statements.

As the youngest member state of the European Union, the Republic of Croatia and as such original Croatian products are currently in ninth place in terms of the number of registered names of agricultural and food products, and the first on the list of products with this sought after label was prosciutto from Krk.

Croatian producers of these products, in addition to recording an increasing trend in sales on both domestic and European markets, point out that protected geographical labels and authenticity are not only important for product recognition, but also have the function of protection from the threat of the grey market.

Today, there are 31 protected original Croatian products, 21 more name protection procedures are underway, and the last to be registered as far as Croatian wine goes was Muskat Momjanski, which has been labelled since the beginning of August.

For more information on original Croatian products, special European Union labels and much more, make sure to check out our Made in Croatia section.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Istrian Kastelir-Labinci Boasts 15000 Residents and 150 OPGs

August the 10th, 2021 - When you think of Istria, you probably think of Motovun, Vrsar, Porec, Novigrad, Pula, Rovinj... I could go on. There are very many hidden little places all over Istria which most people don't even know about, much less visit. The Istrian Kastelir-Labinci, with its 1500 residents, is just one of them. This little place, however, is climbing the ladder when it comes to tourism.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, right in the very heart of Istria lies this little municipality which boasts an impressively rich of offer of local products despite having only 1500 inhabitants.

The Istrian Kastelir-Labinci Municipality proudly points out that half of its 1500 inhabitants are engaged in domestic production and as many as 150 family farms are registered there. One of them is owned by the Kocijancic family, who recently enriched the area's growing local offer Robinson accommodation with a capacity for 50 people.

According to the owners, Antonija and Valter Kocijancic, Natura Camp Karli is an oasis in a natural environment with a combination of forest and olive groves in decorated wooden houses and tents.

The 10,000-square-foot green area is located on the edge of the village surrounded by vineyards, orchards and cultivated areas, and offers five high-quality accommodation units in Robinson-style accommodation - a camping resort, wooden tree houses, glamping tents in tree canopies, covered tents and free places on the grass for tents.

"Our household has a long family tradition when it comes to winemaking and olive growing, and recently we've even started producing honey. All of the family members are employed on the family farm. This year is specific in that our household, after five years, managed to open a camp with Robinson accommodation,'' explained Antonia Kocijancic.

Foreign guests are noticing the Istrian Kastelir-Labinci more and more...

Their camp offers accommodation in wooden houses, covered tents and glamping tents. ''These facilities provide the special pleasures of peace and relaxation because they have no electricity, only flashlights. Motorhome parking with eight plots is specially arranged with all water and electricity connections, and the accompanying facilities such as toilets and kitchen are fully furnished and used by all guests in the camp.

The toilets have a bathroom for the disabled, as well as for children, men, women and even pets. There's also a gathering place by the fire in the camp. The kitchen has a fireplace and a bread oven, a refrigerator, an oven and a freezer, and guests can use vegetables, olive oil, coffee, ice cream, homemade jams and honey,'' Kocijancic pointed out.

In order to make the specialty of this little Istrian destination even more accessible to visitors, the municipal government, the local tourist board and the Vitis Association have all come together and designed a special offer. Every Friday, during the months of July and August, tourists can visit local family farms and restaurants and taste products and order items at promotional prices.

For now, the response from foreign tourists is more than fantastic, of which there are over two thousand a day in the Istrian Kastelir-Labinici area.

"Our most frequent guests are foreign guests, but we were among the first to have a nice group of young people from Zagreb with their pets. Among the more numerous visitors from Europe, the most frequent guests are those from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia and Italy, but there are also guests from Switzerland, France and Poland,'' the Kocijancic family pointed out.

A praiseworthy EU project

In addition to Robinson tourism, which they started engaging in only this year, this family also offers wine, olive oil and honey, all from their own production. This family farm cultivates as many as four hectares of vineyards and 3,000 olive groves, and they also have 40 bee hives. As they say, they don't have any subcontractors, and everything they process and offer to guests is from their very own production. The products can only be bought from them, and the most sought after is, in true Istrian style, olive oil.

This is a project funded by the European Union with a grant of 50,000 euros from the rural development measure 6.2.1. While that figure is already high, the owners point out that the value of the investment is many times higher than that, as their camp opened in July and they aren't lacking when it comes to making plans and coming up with new ideas.

“Our most significant investment was this camp that opened four weeks ago. For now, we're still getting used to it and seeing what the reactions of the first guests are like, so we will eventually think about some further plans at the end of this season,'' concluded the Kocijancic family who are placing the Istrian Kastelir-Labinci area on the tourism map.

For more, follow Made in Croatia and our travel section.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Istrian Gin Takes Home Gold Medal at 2021 World Spirits Award

August the 9th, 2021 - Istrian products continue to wow the international community, and despite olive oil definitely being the most well known item from this beautiful region of Croatia, Istrian gin is gaining on it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Aura distillery and the products of the Sirotic family have been winning first places and prizes in almost all of the competitions in which they participate, and the last big recognition in a row came for Karbun gin at the world competition "World Spirits Award 2021", where this gorgeous Istrian gin took home gold.

In addition to this gold medal, the Istrian gin from this same family called ''Navy Strength'' won the Master Medal at ''The Spirits Business Gin Masters 2021'', the recognition that only one single product receives, which is rated by all of the judges in the competition for points to win the gold medal. Karbun Navy Strength also won a gold medal at the "World Spirits Trophy 2021" competition.

“It's a great success to be able to win such valuable prizes among international gins. I worked on our gin for a long time, learning and trying out different variants of production and combinations of spices, until I was completely satisfied with the results. This recognition is a confirmation that I've gone down the right path,'' pointed out Misel Sirotic, the owner and director of Aura.

The Aura distillery is not only excellent at producing Istrian gins, their Teranino also took home a gold medal at the World Spirits Trophy 2021.

According to Sirotic, the secret of his family distillery lies in the effort and skill they have worked on and nurtured for years, the whole family participates in the work, and all of their successes so far are the result of constant work, investment, training and creating original production methods that their appreciative audience recognises. Today, they offer 25 types of liqueurs and brandies and four types of Istrian gin, and they also produce jams.

You can find their products in specialised wine shops and in Aura's stores in Buzet, Novigrad, Porec, Motovun, Hum, Groznjan, Vrbnik, Rovinj, and outside of Istria in Split and Rijeka.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 7 August 2021

Young Zagreb Brewer Mirko Drmic Launches Own Crnomerec Craft Brewery

August the 7th, 2021 - Mirko Drmic went to extreme lengths in order to create his very own craft beer brewery, and the coronavirus pandemic didn't throw a spanner in the works. Mirko believes that you only regret the chances you didn't take in life, so he threw caution to the wind and it has paid off.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, Mirko Drmic is just 26 years old, and this young Zagreb brewer opened the Local Craft Brewery in Crnomerec in Mikulici last year, in the midst of the global pandemic, under the slogan "Think Globally, Drink locally!/Misli Globalno, Pij Lokalno!".

Craft brewing has been gaining firm momentum in the last few years in the world and right here in Croatia. A large number of people have started producing beer for their own needs, but it takes a lot of courage and will to enter the increasingly competitive market with craft beer.

One of those who was encouraged by this move was Mirko Drmic, and the main stars of his small neighbourhood brewery are the hoppy red ale beer Drma (6% alcohol) and the summer refreshment of Tauk (4.5%) from the Session IPA category. In the autumn, he says, this collection will be joined by the new Purger beer, with which this young brewer plans to win over his neighbouhood, and this winter will be marked by his very first black beer.

But, where did this all start? After graduating from high school in economics, and then from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, Mirko Drmic was sure of one thing - he wanted to start doing something of his own.

He fell in love with craft brewing a few years ago, and he decided to turn that idea into reality back in 2017 when, as a student, he worked as a waiter in the USA through the Work & Travel programme. He returned two years later having earned enough money to open his own craft brewery.

“The goal was to make money to build my own brewery and start production. Thanks to the programme for self-employment through the CES, I received 75,000 kuna and additionally invested more than 130,000 kuna of my own money ", states Mirko.

The inspiration for the name of his first beer came, symbolically, from his surname, Drmic, ie the family nickname Drma, and Mirko's father Ivan had the honour of being on the label of the first bottle designed by Mirko's friend Duje Brecic.

"I knew Drma would be my first beer. I filled 20 0.33L samples and carried it to few cafes each to see if they'd like it. Everyone said they did, and that's how the story started,'' the young brewer explained.

The period when he worked in the USA and learned about craft brewing was the inspiration for the name and label of another beer. He worked in the small town of Montauk, or Tauk for short, where the small local craft brewery, Montauk Brewing Company, was located.

The Tauk label also includes a lighthouse, which is a symbol of this place and which is also the oldest lighthouse in the entire state of New York from the time of George Washington.

Admittedly, the time taken to start the company and present the beer was quite challenging for the determined Mirko Drmic despite his initial enthusiasm. It took place back at the beginning of March 2020, just before the first lockdown when restaurants put their keys in their locks for almost two whole months.

He had already produced Drma by then, but had to wait until the end of August 2020 just to make his first sale. It was challenging during the lockdown due to waiting for the suppliers of production equipment because, as Mirko explained, suppliers procure production material from Italy, which was the most affected country in terms of the pandemic at the time.

“I’d been waiting for equipment since March, but I used that time to see where I was and how I might organise some other things until everything came to life again. At the end of August, I sold my first barrel in Zagreb's Harats Beer Boutique. It went well until the second lockdown came towards the end of the year,'' recalled the brewer.

After Drma, he also introduced Hoptimus (American IPA) in March, a 500-litre special that quickly sold out, and then in the summer, Tauk arrived.

Currently, his beer can be found in a total of 25 stores and restaurants across Croatia, most of which are in Zagreb (Harats Beer Boutique, Beer & Snacks, Fakin Craft Bar and more) and thanks to distributors, Mirko Drmic's craft beer can also be found in Rijeka, Djakovo, Zadar and Split.

He produces 1,000 litres of beer in a 40-square-metre office space inside his own family house in Mikulici in Crnomerec. The space in the first part consists of a kind of brewery where he brews and produces the beer, while in the second part, the beer matures in bottles and barrels.

“It takes about a month from brewing beer to it going into a bottle. I’m just focused on brewing and I want everything I’ve started to be taken to the next level. It's all slowly starting to come to its own now. It's been challenging because I had to start twice, after two lockdowns.

Beer requires a lot of investment. When you fill the beer in the bottle, it must also mature in the bottle and in the barrel. You have to do three batches to make sure you always have stock. By the way, the capacity is 2000 litres per month of Drma and Tauk, and now I'm at 1000. I hope that the market will demand more. Fortunately, Zagreb is a big city, and I'm still a small producer,'' Mirko Drmic said.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Deutsche Bahn Group Becomes Investor in Croatian Gideon Brothers

August the 5th, 2021 - The Croatian Gideon Brothers company specialises in robotics and has gained more and more attention of late. The company's latest foreign investor is no less than the well known Deutsche Bahn Group.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Croatian Gideon Brothers company, which deals with robotics and software solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI), recently announced an investment from Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures (DBDV), a venture capital subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn Group, as part of a 32 million US dollars Series A funding round.

“Gideon Brothers is developing products that change the rules of the game, and they've proven they have significant growth and market interest. We believe that the future of mobile robotics will be determined by autonomy based on AI and 3D robotic vision, and we're very pleased to welcome the Croatian Gideon Brothers company as one of the companies in our portfolio,'' said Boris Kühn, CEO of DB Digital Ventures.

The Series A Edition

Series A was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies with the participation of DB Schenker, Prologis Ventures and Rite-Hit. This round of financing was joined by some of the existing shareholders of Gideon Brothers who were among the first investors: TransferWise (now Wise) co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, Pentland Ventures, Peaksjah, HCVC (HardwareClub), Ivan Topcic, Nenad Bakic and Luca Ascani.

According to the Croatian Gideon Brothers company, the recapitalisation of the A-Series will accelerate the development and commercialisation of the company's autonomous mobile robots (AMR) that automate horizontal and vertical material handling.

They also plan to expand to Germany in the City of Munich and to the US in Boston where they will open offices and expand the operations of the Production, Sales, Marketing and Customer Success departments in key markets of the European Union and the USA.

Gideon Brothers specialises in the flexible automation of horizontal and vertical material handling operations in unstructured, human-operated warehousing, manufacturing and retail environments.

With their advanced mobile robots and comprehensive software solutions for autonomous indoor and outdoor operations, they work to help companies solve the most complex supply chain challenges of today: growing customer expectations, increased product variability and growth in logistics volumes, increasingly diverse distribution channels, and labour shortages in particular.

The increase of efficiency

As they point out, the autonomous mobile robots (AMR) made by the Croatian Gideon Brothers company increase efficiency and productivity by taking on low value-added operations, such as transporting, retrieving or the disposing of products, so that employees can engage in more complex tasks.

They say that with advanced Gideon Brothers technology, real collaboration between humans and robots is finally becoming possible and opening up more and more new opportunities for growth.

“The growing demand for smart automation solutions confirms the belief that autonomous robots are an indispensable tool for building sustainable growth. We're extremely pleased to have the opportunity to build partnerships with innovation leaders who share our vision - creating new synergies that bring real collaboration between humans and autonomous robotic vehicles powered by our next-generation technology,'' said Matija Kopic, the CEO of Gideon Brothers.

To briefly recall, this successful Croatian company recently entered into a partnership with Vector Conveyors from Spain, which was their first distributor for the Spanish market.

They explained that the partnership is part of their sales strategy that includes direct sales channels to key customers and indirect sales channels, by expanding the network of distributors through which they will offer their products, services, technical support and system integration.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Friday, 30 July 2021

Uplift Platform Seeks to Aid Small Enterprises in Market Development

July the 30th, 2021 - The Uplift platform is a Croatian platform aimed at providing help and aid to micro and small enterprises in terms of their wider market development.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, micro, small and medium entrepreneurship is recognised as one of the key segments of the Croatian economy, and encouraging their improvement is vital for the development of a better and more competitive economy, at least according to Gea Kariz, the Marketing Manager at Mastercard, which is the holder of the Uplift.hr platform.

The Uplift platform is aimed at helping micro-enterprises, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises in their growth and development of business here in Croatia, offering more than 130 informative and educational texts, more than fifteen videos, as well as possibilities for networking, mentoring and even promotion.

Relevant research, analyses and studies in cooperation with the Zagreb Institute of Economics will be regularly published on the Uplift platform, in order to educate and inspire those seeking such help. "Through the Uplift project, we want to provide this segment with everything that is needed for the technological and market development of these companies," added Kariz.

Advice will be shared by numerous Croatian experts from various, sometimes very different fields of expertise, in order to provide all those seeking the Uplift platform's help with a spring in their step.

On the site, visitors will be able to watch a series of video Uplift interviews with well known Croatian TV presenter and editor Zoran Sprajc, where entrepreneurs, experts and consultants will explain what obstacles they have encountered in their business journeys and what steps need to be taken in order to run a successful business.

Luka Baranovic from Humanact, Hrvoje Cosic from Aircash, Hrvoje Bujas from Crno jajete, Maruska Vizek from the Institute of Economics, Zagreb, Zoran Pejovic from Paradox Hospitality, Marin Medak from RougeMarina are just some of the interlocutors.

As part of the Uplift platform, a special educational programme has been designed, Uplift Academy, aimed primarily at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises from the tourism sector. The idea is to adapt the programme to the current needs of the market through the seasons.

The online programme lasts 20 weeks and a total of 200 hours is conducted by Algebra, beginning in October this year. The first generation of the academy will consist of 32 scholarship holders who will have the opportunity to attend the Uplift Academy for free.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Osijek PLANtaza Association Gives Eastern Croatian City New, Positive Shine

July the 28th, 2021 - The Osijek PLANtaza Association (Udruga) has, for seven whole years now, been breathing life and positivity back into that Eastern Croatian city.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, associations form an important tool in community development, but also in encouraging the empowerment of individuals through volunteer or work experience, given that in Croatia, associations are often both employers and creators of new content.

''They shouldn't be underestimated, and they should be given concrete support and encourage their development,'' stated Darija Walter, president of the Osijek PLANtaza Association, which was founded back in 2014 by a group of enthusiasts with the desire to start positive stories in their often overlooked city.

From the very beginning, they have been focused on promoting a sustainable way of life, ecology, creativity and art, as well as engaging in socially responsible business, thus reviving the small but very strong and creative Osijek scene.

The Osijek PLANtaza Association currently boasts 40 members, half of whom are active, and on the eve of their seventh birthday, they have more than 140 implemented projects and activities under their belt, they also continue to cooperate with a large number of civil society organisations, creative individuals and entrepreneurs, and strengthen their own forces with new members.

Urban interventions in Osijek

Darija says that the first projects of the Osijek PLANtaza Association were various creative and ecological workshops, the ReArt festival and the Papergirl project, which they adapted to their needs and created a new concept of event/socialising with an emphasis placed primarily on exchanging creativity in different locations.

When they founded the association, they were supported by several other existing Osijek associations - the Shine Dance Studio, the Slama Association and the Slap Creative Development Association - with which they still cooperate and continue to launch new projects, but the cooperation has expanded beyond Osijek and even beyond Croatian borders. An example of that is the Vucedol Interreg project, which they;re currently implementing with partners from Budapest and Pecs (Hungary), as well as the Museum of Vucedol Culture (Croatia).

“Cross-border cooperation on the Interreg project will only further strengthen our capacities and give us a spring in our steps for some new ideas, especially with organisations that share our views on doing responsible business and having a sustainable view of the future. Fortunately, more and more individuals are launching healthy and sustainable stories through actions via associations or independently on the development of a sustainable lifestyle that is now, more than ever, needed because of the possible challenges we as humanity are facing and will face.

We've recently been developing projects that are directly related to the development of tourism potential, especially in terms of the development of urban culture, such as the Urban Intervention project. The project includes several activities aimed at reviving forgotten and abandoned buildings.

It's aimed at questioning spatial relationships through a combination of architecture and street art and the interaction of the renovated buildings and the local community. The best example of this is the oldest tram station in Osijek, built back in 1926, which became an open-air gallery with the Urban Intervention project, within which three academic artists have presented themselves so far.

Urban interventions have triggered a continuity of creative changes in space such as outdoor galleries, mosaics, painted benches or power boxes. These may be small things, but they also require organisation and a detailed implementation plan. Educational projects such as the Green School and the MOSS project (mobile solar station) have so far been successfully implemented in 11 primary schools throughout the City of Osijek.

Our first EU Golden Year project aims to achieve cooperation with the pensioners of the City of Osijek through the implementation of 200 activities, social and intergenerational programmes, and our good cooperation with partners will only further enrich the lives of pensioners who need special support due to the situation caused by ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

We've also launched some new projects such as Take Care of the Mask, My Opportunity and Urban Osijek, which we believe will achieve its results and leave a good mark on the the City of Osijek and the wider county,'' stated Darija.

Excellent cooperation with young people

The goal of the Zbrini project is to advocate for a city without disposable plastic, the My Opportunity project should further empower young people in terms of mobility and participation in Erasmus programmes, while the Green School project will introduce students from five primary schools to young farmers and permaculture food farming.

Darija believes that the consciousness of individuals began to change for the better after the pandemic struck, but that at the same time, the consciousness of the business and public sector is waking up too. New generations understand the benefits of renewable energy much better, and the awareness of young people, as Darija says, is most evident through the implementation of the MOSS project.

“Students and young people want to be involved in project activities and so far we've enjoyed some very nice collaborations, especially in schools that conduct civic education as an elective subject. We try to offer interesting and creative solutions to the youngest in our society through educational programmes, because that's the only way we can expect better generations to come after ours,'' stated Darija, adding that the Osijek PLANtaza Association's cooperation with local authorities is decent enough, but that it could be better, especially in terms of more concrete communication.

The Osijek PLANtaza Association is currently implementing the activities of the EU Golden Year project, and will participate in the Osijek Summer Night, where they will organise a Dance for pensioners along with numerous other events. They also carry out programmes of emotional development and planting a therapeutic garden in the yard of the local retirement home, outdoor exercises, and even computer literacy workshops.

"In any case, we have a working summer and autumn ahead of us, as well as a celebration of our seventh birthday, which we hope will be possible," concluded Darija Walter.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Zagreb Company Pri Suncu Delights Lovers of Traditional Ice Cream

July the 23rd, 2021 - The Zagreb company Pri Suncu is definitely a hit among all those engaged in a constant and often losing battle with a sweet tooth. This father and daughter team are all about Italian ice cream, sorbet and more.

As Ivan Tominac/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Nina and Mario Saric are a father and daughter team whose family business, the Zagreb company Pri Suncu, has firmly won over all the palates of Croatian confectionery lovers, and the focus of their business story is the production of original Italian ice cream. It all started while Nina was still in her teens.

She learned about the traditional way of preparing and producing the globally adored Italian type of ice cream, and her urge was so strong that after finishing her food technology studies, she decided to start a business with her father, and that's how the Zagreb company Pri Suncu came to be.

“About three years ago, when we started intensively preparing to start a business, a common realisation grew in us that told us that what we want to do is be authentic and ultimately produce and offer people a product about which they'll say: That’s it! Establishing a new philosophy and raising people's awareness of ''real'' original Italian ice cream, even if they call it ''craft ice cream'' is our business mission,'' said Nina's father and one of the co-founders of the Zagreb company Pri Suncu, Mario Saric

Passion and motivation were the key ingredients, and in order to bridge the whole path between which leads to success, they invested around one million kuna. In addition to their own funds, the CES self-employment support and a micro investment loan from HAMAG BICRO helped them greatly in getting their business up on its feet.

That amount helped them enter the market with even more confidence, and with a well-researched market today, they're ready to say what their main advantage is.

"The production and sale of ice cream is growing from year to year, but the vast majority of ice cream produced is industrial, which can't be produced with the technology and ingredients that produce good craft ice cream. We opted for the manual production of ice cream, during which we make the ice cream base ourselves, and then add other ingredients to it, depending on the flavours of the ice cream. As such, our ice cream has a much stronger flavour intensity and a creamier texture which also gives a lighter feeling after consumption. All of our milk flavours (except tiramisu) are gluten-free and egg-free, while all of our fruit sorbets are intended for a vegan diet, because they're produced on the basis of water,'' added Nina.

The inscriptions ''craft'', ''artisan'' or ''gelato artigianale'' on industrially produced ice cream mean nothing but are merely an enticing PR message to insufficiently educated customers. According to the pair, real ice cream is a miniature niche and as such represents an opportunity, but also a risk that has a focus placed on looking for professional staff.

''Here on the Croatian labour market, at least when it comes to ice cream, confectioners trained to prepare ice cream in the classic industrial way predominate, which is an important problem when it comes to employment in production. In addition, the sale of ice cream in Croatia has a strong seasonal impact, so for a small company like ours it doesn't matter whether we produce it in the winter or summer.

Finally, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought additional uncertainty and oscillations to the market, making it difficult to plan for production volumes. For these reasons, we've decided to employ people in production according to our current needs, mostly for a certain period of time, until the market conditions allow us a different approach to this key premise for the development of any business,'' explained owners of the Zagreb company Pri Suncu.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Croatian OptimoRoute Software Going from Strength to Strength

July the 17th, 2021 - The Croatian OptimoRoute software is gaining traction and attention, and with it some big ambitions indeed.

As Novac writes, the Croatian OptimoRoute software is a piece of route optimisation software already used by several thousand companies and is developing very strongly. The American investment fund Prelude Ventures invested a massive 6.5 million US dollars in the company last year, estimating that OptimoRoute has a great chance of conquering the global market.

"Our investors believe that we can, with a little luck, reach a value of one hundred million dollars, and they think we're not far from a billion dollars. We'd rather try something big and ambitious and see where that takes us, than play it safe in the European way,'' said Marin Saric, the co-founder and CEO of OptimoRoute, during an appearance on the show Entrepreneurial Mindset.

Croatian OptimoRoute software experienced rapid growth of one hundred percent during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to food delivery companies and stores that receive goods from central warehouses, route optimisation is now needed by companies from thousands of different industries, including floriculture, house cleaning and yard maintenance.

"The whole world is changing! Route optimisation, which used to be interesting only to "geeks", has turned into a global mega trend. We rode that wave early enough and now we are trying to surf on it and see how far it will take us,'' said Saric.

"We want to be globally present. We want to gather the strongest engineers we can reach here in Croatia, and beyond if necessary, in order to bring them to Zagreb and create a new generation product. Not only do we want to create the best software, but we want it to be office software which is available to everyone at a very low cost. Bill Gates wanted to see a PC on every desk, and we want to see our software for organising a mobile workforce in every small company,'' revealed Saric.

Although the Croatian OptimoRoute software primarily targets small businesses, it is also used very successfully by large ones. Among their biggest clients at the moment is one pipeline passing through five states of the United States of America.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

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