Sunday, 5 June 2022

DiWine Summer: Croatian Diaspora Meeting G2 Returns for 8th Edition

June 5, 2022 - One of the most important Croatian diaspora meeting opportunities returns for its 8th edition next month - Meeting G2.8. The press release. 

Join us at MG2.8!

We present to you this year's MEETING G2.8 Conference "DiWine Summer" which will be held on Tuesday, July 5th, starting at 5 pm in the premises of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, Zagreb, Trg Stjepana Radića 3.

MEETING G2 Conference is aimed at networking business people of Croatian origin from around the world, and this year, for the first time since the 2019 Conference, our participants from Croatia and the world - will gather live in Zagreb. Due to the global pandemic, the past two years have been marked by virtual and hybrid conferences, which did not bypass MG2, so we are looking forward to reuniting live, exchanging business cards, meeting exceptional business people and sharing successful and inspiring business stories.

We believe that you will be delighted by the central theme of this year’s Conference "Croatia on the global wine list", and you will have the opportunity to participate in the most attractive part of our program which we traditionally call “WHO’S WHO in G2”.

As in the past seven years, we are persistently building business relations and encouraging investments in Croatia, and so far cooperation has been established between companies and businessmen and women from Croatia and 26 countries on five continents.

The registration fee is 100 euros, which includes participation in “WHO’S WHO in G2”, panel, wine tasting and dinner. Warm welcome and see you at MG2.8!

Association for Business Connection of Homeland and Croatian Diaspora

Radnička cesta 1A, HR-10000 Zagreb

Privredna banka Zagreb


IBAN: HR3723400091110925819


You can learn more about Meeting G2.8, including the finalised programme as it appears on the official website

For more news and features about the Croatian diaspora, visit the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 19 November 2021

MG2.7 - Time Lapse Conference Connects Croatian Businesspeople Worldwide

November 19, 2021 - The Meeting G2 business conference will be held for the 7th year in a row! This time, entitled MG2.7 - Time Lapse. 

The Association for Connecting Business in the Homeland and Diaspora - Meeting G2 - will be held for the seventh time. 

The Meeting G2 conference aims to network business people of Croatian origin from around the world, which is also an ongoing mission of the Association. They do not deviate this year, although still under challenging circumstances. This year's conference will present to the Croatian diaspora from all over the world what has been achieved so far, the successful examples of both domestic and returning entrepreneurs, messages from the diaspora, and announcements of new planned activities that the Association imagined being even more connected, relevant and accessible. Opportunities to connect even closer and more concretely.

This year, the MG2 conference will be held on November 27, 2021, from 3 to 5 pm, entitled "MG2.7 - TIME LAPSE", to enable all partners and friends in all parts of the world to follow live online and actively participate in discussions. Entrepreneurs of Croatian origin from Croatia and the world, dear friends, and panelists from previous years will share their success stories firsthand. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to hear what has changed in these six years and what should change from Croats on five continents.

The conference can be followed from the comfort of your home office/homes from all over the world in preparation for Advent and Christmas time ahead.

"We are building the MG2.7 conference based on the success of the past six years, during which we organized in the heart of the Croatian capital: 6 conferences and 43 panels with 236 panelists, presented 42 Croatian start-ups, gathered more than 1000 participants from 33 countries, of which more than 315 businesspeople from the diaspora, which we have connected in our homeland with almost 300 Croatian companies, the best domestic entrepreneurs, exporters, and innovators.

Our Association is continuously working to strengthen cooperation with Croatian chambers worldwide, which from year to year are becoming an increasingly important factor in helping our exporters in local markets. We are persistently building business relations and encouraging investments in Croatia, and so far, cooperation has been established between Croatia and 26 countries from five continents," said the Association. 

More information and this year's program can be found at and information about the first six meetings and the goals achieved.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Connecting the Diaspora: Croatia Meeting G2 Returns for 6th Edition

October 27, 2020 - An important gathering for the strengthening of ties between Croatia and its diaspora takes place next month as the 6th edition of Croatia Meeting G2 takes place in Zagreb. 

One of the things I have been monitoring over the last few years has been the growing cooperation between Croatia's entrepreneurial sector and the business-minded members of the Croatian diaspora - it has been an exciting journey to observe as a foreign fly on the wall. 

On the surface, things should be fairly simple. The diaspora are successful, weatlh-creating and extremely patriotic. Croatia should be an obvious place for investment and economic cooperation. And while it is true that foreign remittances from the diaspora was more than direct foreign investment to Croatia last year, it is also true that many in the diaspora are extremely reluctant to throw money in Croatia, having suffered many bad experiences with money sent and invested during and in the aftermath of the Homeland War. 

One of the key things missing is trust. Finding the right partner in the homeland is not always easy, especially when the culture over the generations is to put trust and faith in a distant cousin in the homeland, often with disastrous results. 

Thankfully, things are changing, and there are now various initiatives bringing the diaspora closer to the private sector in Croatia. Croatia's young entrepreneurs are engaging more with their diaspora counterparts, relationships are being formed, and business is getting done. Trust is returning as private business engages with private business. 

One of the best of these initiatives is Croatia Meeting G2, which is organised by a mixture of Croatian and diaspora professionals, all of whom are committed to a strengthening of ties and a better Croatia. Held each year in Zagreb, Meeting G2 returns for its sixth edition next month, and it is one of the premier diaspora networking events in the Croatian business calendar. 

As one of the few foreigners with no Croatian heritage to attend these events, I find it fascinating to watch so many sections of Croatian society to come together - some without even a common language, but all bonded by a passion for Croatia itself. Some diaspora conferences are more about emotion than substance, but I have always found the G2 programme stimulating, with a wide selection of guests and topics - and I have never left it without making new friends and several new interesting stories for TCN. 

This year's event - Croatia Meeting G2.6 takes place once more at Forum Zagreb Congress Centre in Green Gold, with a wide variety of local, diaspora and international speakers on some fascinating Croatia-related topics. Having attended the event for some years now, I am delighted to be asked to speak at the conference for the first time. I will be participating in a panel on the second day called 'World' First Haven for Digital Nomads.' Moderated by Eugene Brcic Jones, the other panel speakers will be digital nomad visa champion Jan de Jong (from Split via Zoom), Tanja Polegubic, Andres Wil Gerdes (from Malta via Zoom) and Katarina Bulic Bestulic. 

You can check out the current schedule of sessions below.

Day 1 - Wednesday, November 16 

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Day 2 - Thursday, November 17

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For more information about the Meeting G2 sixth edition, and to register, visit the official website

For more news from the Croatian Diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Emotion to Business: G2.5 Redefining Croatian Diaspora Relationship with Homeland

November 6, 2019 - Meeting G2.5, the fifth edition conference connecting the business-minded entrepreneurs of Croatia and its diaspora took place this week. A great success with some very positive seeds planted.  

Of all the complicated relationships and aspects of life in Croatia, none is arguably harder to understand for a foreigner like me than that of the Croatian diaspora and the homeland. When I started TCN four years, I had little concept of the Croatian diaspora, and none whatsoever of the differing relationships between various sections of that diaspora. 

It didn't take me long to get my first lessons... 

With relatively little English-language news coming out of Croatia, and with many second and third generation diaspora unable to speak much Croatian, TCN became a natural source of news for many who lived outside the Homeland. And it didn't take long for a naive foreigner to start upsetting people, from the very first day of TCN in fact. Looking for a signature interview to launch TCN, I thought I had done rather well by scoring an interview with Croatia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and it was an education to receive a torrent of abuse from Sydney at the very mention of Vesna Pusic. 

With time, I learned that the relationships with the Homeland were understandably linked to the reasons for emigration. Many New Zealand Croats, for example, considered themselves more Dalmatian than Croatian, their reason for emigration largely economic when Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Australia, by contrast, there was a sizable influx during the Tito era, the main reason being political persecution. As a result, emotions about the former Yugoslavia period and mention of the 'T' word evoke very strong and entrenched emotions. All totally understandable. 

There was one aspect of the diaspora experience which united all sections of the diaspora, however, or so it seems to me. Intense disappointment with their experiences of financially supporting the newly-independent Croatia with investments, many of which were made with emotion, and a large proportion of which was abused by those in Croatia entrusted with those investments. 


I was invited to speak at a diaspora conference in Osijek last year, the first time I had been to a diaspora conference. I was not quite sure what to expect, but my initial impressions on the first day were quite depressing. There was such a focus on the tragic stories of the past and the waves of emigration that I felt almost as an intruder at a funeral. Thankfully, the mood lifted with the energy of the younger business-minded generation, who wanted to look forward. I particularly remember Ognjen Bagatin, CEO of Bagatin Clinic lifting the mood of the entire conference - you can read my reflections of the whole event here.

And if I had to grade the conference between emotion and business for that Osijek conference, it would have been Emotion 9, Business 1. Nothing wrong with that, just my perception. 


The 2nd Diaspora Tourism conference in Split earlier this year was an altogether different affair, with a lot of younger blood in the audience, and a LOT more positive stories. Panel after panel of successful returnees told their stories and if the aim was to send a message to the diaspora that perhaps it was time to take a fresh look at investing in the Homeland, the conference achieved considerable success. There was still plenty of emotion built into the programme, however, and my foreign fly on the wall report is here

Emotion 4, Business 6. 

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This week saw the fifth edition of Meeting G2, a Zagreb diaspora conference much more focused on business and building meaningful bridges between entrepreneurs in the Homeland and the diaspora. I attended last year's event, G2.4 and was impressed by the business focus and real discussions taking place, as well as the focus on promoting and presenting young Croatian businesses with potential. But this year's event was outstanding, on so many levels. 

Ante Lucic's Cronnect initiative once more presented five great startups looking for investors, and the experienced Croatian jury chose their winner - Miret, the eco shoe startup business from Duga Resa. We will have an indepth interview with Miret on TCN shortly - it is a great product. 

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There was plenty of patriotism on show as well, with the style awards going to Josip Hrgetic, one of the G2.5 organisers. Great tie!  

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Five of the most successful Croatian franchises were also given their chance to present and impress in search of new franchisees.  

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There were several excellent panels, such as the powerful and successful Canadian Croatian diaspora business community. 

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But arguably the most useful aspect of the entire conference was the networking. From my experience, many conferences make the mistake of trying to pack in too many presentations, leaving little or no time for delegates to actually meet each other and forge connections. And in this regard, G2.5 was outstanding. The opening evening included a session called Who's Who in G2? Every participant was given 30 seconds to say who they were, where they were from, something about their company, and what was their interest in G2.5. With more than 100 people to listen to, the session was expertly controlled by Aco Momcilovic, and it was interesting to watch people making mental notes of people to approach now that they knew who they were. 

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And they networked. I must have been to over 30 conferences in Croatia in the last three years. None has come close to the connections I made yesterday, both in person and in my inbox since I left the conference about 20 hours ago. Several others I spoke to had the same feeling. Yes, there was emotion - and some incredible ties... - but this is a conference which is firmly focused on concrete connections, projects and solutions. 

Emotion 1, Business 9. 

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That emotion may rise a little today, as the final day of the conference includes a field trip to Zadar, as well as a visit to the tuna farm of one General Ante Gotovina. 

The message is clear. Croatia is very much open for business, but this time not on emotion as in the 1990s, but with serious, successful and determined entrepreneurs. Those bridges are being built slowly, and it is a journey that this foreign fly is very much enjoying following. 

To learn more about Meeting G2.5, visit the official website

For the latest from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section


Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Meeting G2.5 Opened by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović officially opened the MEETING G2.5 Conference - Let's Build Business Bridges today. 

The fifth edition of the conference aimed at creating business connections between the homeland and Croatians living abroad started today in Forum Zagreb Conference Centre, and it brought together over 200 businesspeople with Croatian heritage from 18 countries. In her address to the participants of the conference, the Croatian President said that there's an entire population of Croatia living abroad today, so it's essential to listen to what the immigrants are telling and suggesting to us. Although we were able to take some steps forward in our economy, there's a long road ahead of us. If we want to develop faster, we need to make room for the entrepreneurs to do what they know best. She told the audience that their experience and knowledge are the wind in the back for so many, especially for young people, which allows them to play a vital role in our future. She invited everyone to keep working together for a better tomorrow, as we build the new Croatia. 

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The conference started yesterday with a pitch session - the competition between the six Croatian start-ups which presented their innovative projects in 10 minutes to the jury. The jury comprised of entrepreneurs from Croatia and abroad, and they found the start-up Miret to be the best. They want to produce the most ecological sneakers in the world, and their award is to participate at no charge in a workshop held by the PWC consultancy company, as well as to have a promotional video produced by the magazine "Poduzetnik." Clover, MeshPoint, STEM, Worcon, and Venatus Jones also participated in the session. 

The presentation of the five successful Croatian franchises was held at the conference, all of whom are members of the Association of Franchises with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. Those were Body Creator (a program for weight loss and body sculpting, which has been around for 18 years), Business Cafe (a concept for business networking, being held in 7 countries), Direct Booker (an agency for private accommodation booking with 21 offices in 7 countries), Place2go (a specialized magazine distributed and sold in 15 countries) and Surf'n'fries (selling fries in carefully designed packaging in over 60 stores in 20 countries on four continents). Around 200 franchise systems are operating in Croatia, with roughly 17000 employees in about 1000 locations. There is room for improvement, as currently, only 12% of those franchises have Croatian origins.

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Each participant at the Meeting G2.5 conference got the opportunity to present their business and highlight who (s)he wants to connect to during the Who is Who in G2 program. That way, numerous successful projects were presented at the same time, including projects from the construction, metallurgy, IT, HR services, consulting, and communication management. Five-panel discussions are also on the schedule, with over 30 participants, well-known Croatian entrepreneurs from Croatia and abroad, as well as the representatives of the national and regional administration. Fashion, novelties in the IT sector in Croatia, remarkable Croatian exporters, strong business bonds between Croatia and Canada as well as the experiences of working in Austria as an entrepreneur will be discussed. Between the panels, several inspirational business stories were told by Marko Buzolic from Plava Laguna, Vlado Lendvaj from the Croatian IT Association, and Tomislav Anadolac and Hrvoje Bušić - the creator of the world's best gin. 

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The program of the Meeting G2.5 was completed by brief lectures held by professor Božo Skoko, who talked about the development of the identity and branding of Croatia, the lobbyist Natko Vlahović on the importance of the upcoming Croatian presidency of the European Union, and the esteemed designer Boris Ljubičić on the importance of the design and the creation of the Croatian visual identity. 

Learn more about G2.5 on the official website.