Thursday, 23 September 2021

How Croatian Businessman Allegedly Kicked Turkey Out of €150m Project

September the 23rd, 2021 - A scandal involving a Croatian businessman and Turkey has caused international scandal and seen powerful politicians from both countries apparently discuss it.

As RTL/Silvana Mendjusic writes, the construction of the first geothermal power plant in Ciglena near Bjelovar in a project worth more than 300 million kuna, and it was started together, and the Turkish investor, the majority owner, cut the ribbon in the company of Minister Tomislav Coric. Production at Geoen began, and huge sums of money and generous support began to flow into an account.

Over a period of twelve years, they were supposed to earn more than a billion, and then it all got complicated. The minority owner, Croatian businessman and entrepreneur Dragan Jurilj, allegedly set out to get the Turks kicked out of the story and has so far succeeded. While he claims that everything is being carried out according to the law, the Turks claim that their investment was stolen from them. They're threatening arbitration, warning that in the end everything will be paid for by Croatian citizens, and they have even called on Erdogan for help.

On the sidelines of the summit in Antalya, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Turkish President Erdogan talked about illegal migration, Bosnia and Herzegovina, economic cooperation, but also one concrete and currently very ''hot'' case involving this Croatian businessman.

"We've been informed that our President Erdogan mentioned the case to the Croatian Prime Minister," said lawyer Ozlem Canbeldek Akin.

According to the legal representative of the Turkish company BLT, who claims that their Croatian partner stole a project worth more than a billion kuna from, the stakes are high, and they're equally nervous on both sides.

"How they did not have a fair trial!? All of these processes are legitimate and every investor in the Republic of Croatia is obliged to respect final court decisions, whether they're satisfied with the outcome or not. I'm not satisfied with all these verdicts," said Dragan Jurilj.

The dispute, which has now risen to quite a high political level, is one taking place much lower down, a few thousand metres below the surface in fact, deep in the geothermal treasures of Croatia in which these former partners are arguing over the ownership of the Velika geothermal power plant near Bjelovar. The Turks claim: "We've invested about 300 million kuna in this, that's roughly 55 to 60 million euros. We have invested a lot, and now we've been left with nothing."

At the beginning of this saga, which is all to do with the ownership ratio within Geoen - the project holder was 80 percent for the Turkish company, and 20 percent for the Croatian businessman and their partner, Dragan Jurilj.

"I gave the company 157 million in appraised assets - four wells, permits, a power purchase agreement, concessions... I didn't indebt the company, I gave the company 157 million. They were supposed to give 300 million to give and not borrow based on my assets. They they just took out loans and indebted the company,'' said Jurilj.

''Why didn't you take out a loan yourself?'' Jurilj is asked.

- Well, OK.

''You had no references at the time...''

- That's right. I didn’t have any references at the time, but for references you get a commission or some smaller percentage, you don’t get 80 percent.

''Okay, did you agree to it?''

- I didn't agree to anything. They were supposed to convert that loan after the completion of the project, they were one hundred percent indebted to the company, and they were supposed to convert it into capital reserves. They didn't do that.

Two years ago, the geothermal power plant was inaugurated. According to the agreement, the financing is on the side of BLT. And we've met those requirements. BLT has provided the capital and a loan," he said.

Along with Muharem Balat, the owner of the Turkish company, Minister Coric openly praised the project. He will now be asked to rule on the administrative proceedings.

"Our investment was stolen from our shareholders, we want compensation from those shareholders. But if we fail in that, then we'll have to go to the European Court of Human Rights and we'll seek arbitration and compensation which will then end up being the burden of Croatian taxpayers which we wouldn't have wanted… "

The foundation of any such move, he says, will be the thesis that they didn't have the right to a fair trial in Croatia.

"There's no arbitration, so Croatia can't be responsible for inter-member relations, the Republic of Croatia can only be responsible if it harms the project, if the project stops functioning for any reason ...", said Dragan Jurilj.

When operating, the geothermal power plant produces electricity for about 29,000 households in total. The power plant is a privileged producer of energy, as it produces electricity from renewable sources, it is then sold on at a discounted price. This directly regards about one billion and 200 million kuna of revenue annually, if not more.

Last year’s amount alone is enough to understand why these ex-partners are fighting so hard for ownership, as back in 2020, they produced 76.2 gigawatt hours of electricity and 120 million kuna without VAT was paid. The market value of energy was 21 million kuna and the amount of aid paid out was 99 million kuna. This generous relationship between the market and the preferential price is the greatest thing this plant can boast of.

It all started last year, say the more than disgruntled Turkish partners. Jurilj then sent an envelope to Turkey marked as an invitation to the Assembly of the Society. But it wasn't an invitation to the Assembly, but some unimportant documentation. Invitations to the assembly don't need to be notarised. If you register an envelope in the post office as an invitation to the Assembly - it is classed as an invitation. So, he registered it and at the session of the Assembly in our absence he changed the management. According to our agreement, our members must be on the board. They kicked us out of that session.

How the deception of the Turks began, according to them...

"I sent an invitation to the Assembly based on the Companies Act, I haven't engaged in anything illegal. I've invited them to the Assembly several times. If they don't respond the first and the second time, I have the right to legitimately make decisions," Jurilj added.

That's illegitimate, claimed the Turks. They then filed a complaint and the measure was temporarily suspended in the Commercial Court. Jurilj was then asked not to send the invitation to Turkey but instead to their Zagreb branch. Unfortunately, another invitation to Turkey was sent, this time it really was an invitation for the Assembly, but when the Turks received it, because it takes some time for the shipment to reach Turkey, they claim that the Assembly had already been held.

"I did everything according to the law, if something was late, then that's not my fault, and they ignored my invitation to the Assembly for a couple of years," claims Jurilj.

They say they asked you to send it to the office in Zagreb.

"It's not written in the law, it says it's sent to the address of the centre. I sent them that invitation."

Doesn’t it feel like you wanted them not to come?

"I did everything according to the law."

Jurilj and his new partner Goran Pavlovic convened a new assembly, they called upon Turkish board members, and then Jurilj demanded that the Commercial Court in Zagreb, due to non-fulfillment of the partnership agreement, register the deletion of the Turkish company BLT from the project.

"Unfortunately, at the Assembly held without our presence, they made a decision that BLT must pay additional performance to Geoen," the lawyer added.

BLT reacted by submitting to the Commercial Court the measure according to which the exclusion of BLT could not be carried out. Unfortunately, at the Assembly held without our presence, they made a decision that BLT must pay additional payments to Geoen.

The Turks claim that in one year, Dragan Jurilj withdrew more than 80 million kuna...

The Turks have had the most objections to the court register. The response we received from the Commercial Court was: "Oh, we checked the court register and you aren't co-owners, plus there is no more Geoen and we have to suspend the proceedings."

They are directly accusing Jurilj of ''extracting'' more than 80 million kuna from the company since the summer of 2020.

"That isn't true, and secondly, BLT has expressed disloyal behavior, disrespect and made threats of lawsuits against banks, and threats to institutions that have succumbed to its influence ...", the Croatian businessman said, and the Turkish investors are now filing criminal charges for fictitious debentures.

"They managed to extract eight million euros paid by HROTE (Croatian energy market operator)," the lawyer added.

"At the same time, the bank isn't allowing me to dissolve the company's account, although I'm the director, the authorised person and the sole owner.'' said Jurilj.

What has HROTE got to do with it all?

What's going on now? The power plant is still working. In the first eight months, the power plant produced electricity worth 25 million on the market. There have been incentives worth 49 million. But those 75 million HROTE - the market operator with which the energy purchase agreement was signed - are no longer being given to anyone.

HROTE proposed to the court the establishment of a court deposit in which they would pay the funds. The court refused to establish a deposit, HROTE appealed and the appeal proceedings are ongoing. Dragan Jurilj, on the other hand, accuses HROTE of paying 25 million kuna to Geoen into a foreign account.

"I went to the bank on behalf of Geoen, and the order wasn't accepted. They came to HROTE to transfer my money abroad, HROTE isn't even the director of the company, it was reported to the institutions which deal with this, and that Turkish bank has been as well,'' said Jurilj.

HROTE replied that their actions were supported by appropriate court decisions and that Jurilj's allegation was unfounded.

If HROTE doesn't pay you, do you not have a contract stating how you'll perform your obligations to the workers?

“According to the workers we're dealing with, we have issues with the difficulty of paying the tax debt according to the budget because it is a debt from 2020 while BLT ran the project and while they were taking money from the project,” claims Dragan Jurilj.

DORH (State's Attorney Office of the Republic of Croatia) has been informed of the situation

We informed the DORH in a timely manner about the legal situation regarding Geoen, as well as about our actions. Given the many ongoing court proceedings, we don't wish to go further into commenting on the statements made by the opposing parties.

"They're ignoring the opinions of the law. They haven't yet transferred the energy purchase agreement and are putting the entire plant into question, and then it will only continue to harm BLT and me as a creditor member, and the state budget."

The chronology of court decisions shows that the Commercial Court in Zagreb and the court register acted faster in favour of Croatian businessman Dragan Jurilj, and slowly when decisions had to be made, they leaned more in favour of BLT.

"We were first deleted from the court register, we lost our stakes, and while we were fighting for those stakes, Geoen was attached to GS, and the economic entity was transferred to another Eco Consult entity."

They pointed out that they haven't so far been allowed to prove their claims in court.

"We have nothing to lose, I'm being honest, I know these are serious accusations being made against the judges. I wouldn't want to go that far, but when I look at the case, there are things I can't understand, some things can't be legally explained." the Turks claim.

"BLT constantly keeps going to all these institutions and claiming to have been damaged, that they're going sue the state, but they can't sue the state. They do have the right to demand compensation for those shares and they'll have them paid. Nobody is trying to run away from that fact," assured Jurilj.

In this dispute, both parties filed several criminal charges, the State Attorney's Office was informed in the meantime. Jurilj, on the other hand, is exploring a new geothermal field - Slatina dva, which is twice as strong as the power plant near Bjelovar, and there is a much bigger investment to be had in Slatina.

The Ministry of Economy failed to respond to our request. Although the representatives of the Turkish side claim: None of Jurilj's companies still has a legal basis for the exploitation of geothermal waters. They explained that the rights from the license can be transferred to another economic entity only if the Government, at the proposal of the Ministry, gives explicit prior written consent. However, Minister Tomislav Coric is not making any sort of move as far as this is concerned - yet.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Croatian President Extends Condolences to Turkish Counterpart Over Wildfires

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has offered his condolences to Turkey, where forest fires have led to deaths and material damage, and invited his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Croatia.

I spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this evening and he thanked Croatia for sending the Canadair CL415 plane and two crews to help put out wildfires in Turkey. I extended my condolences to him and the entire Turkish nation for the suffering of people in the wildfires," Milanovic wrote in his Facebook post on Monday evening.

He said that sending the firefighting airplane to Turkey was a token of friendly and partner-like relations between the two countries, saying that the decision to send the plane was made together by the Croatian government and him as the Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces.

"I invited president Erdogan to officially visit Croatia so that we can continue to build and develop friendly relations between our two countries.

Turkey is suffering the worst fires in at least a decade. The fires in Turkey began last week and now threaten the cities of Antalya, Bodrum and Marmaris, where hundreds of tourists and residents were evacuated from their hotels and homes.

Eight people have been killed by the fires.

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

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Plenković Requests Turkish President's Support for Bosnia Election Legislation Reform

ZAGREB, 17 June 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, requesting Turkey's support for efforts to ensure respect for equality of all three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for an election legislation reform in the country.

Plenković flew to the Turkish city of Antalya to attend a summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), being held under Turkish chairmanship. Turkey assumed the SEECP chairmanship on 1 July 2020. Plenković met Erdogan on the sidelines of the meeting.

"One of the topics was Bosnia and Herzegovina. I underscored that it is very important for Croatia that all three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina are equal, notably the Croats who are the least numerous," the Croatian premier said after meeting with the Turkish head of state.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Croats and the government in Zagreb claim that the Croats are currently not represented on the country's collective presidency and in other institutions because the current member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, Željko Komšić, who sits as the Croat representative, is only the nominal representative because he was elected thanks to votes from the Bosniak electorate.

"For us, it is also important that consensus is reached on the election legislation reform during the process of negotiations between political parties and institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in this regard, I asked for Turkey's support," said Plenković.

"Of course, in the political sense, Turkey has closer relations with the Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and finally with the political leadership of the SDA party. Therefore it is essential that we, Turkey and Croatia, in dialogue with friendly institutions and political parties that are close to us, seek solutions that will ensure that all the peoples and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina feel satisfied," Plenković said.

Croatia-Turkey relations very good and friendly

Plenković described the Croatian-Turkish bilateral relations as very good and friendly.

There are many Turkish companies doing business in Croatia, and Ankara would like to intensify the business cooperation, according to Plenković.

"Croatia is open and we think that will be very much to our benefit,"  he added.

 Plenković informed Erdogan that Zagreb appreciated Turkey's care for a huge number of refugees and efforts to prevent the reactivation of the western Balkan migrant route.

The Croatian PM believes that the agreement between the EU and Ankara on care for migrants will be honored

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

Saturday, 6 March 2021

New Krizevci Settlement to be Erected for Turkish Railway Workers

March the 6th, 2021 - A new Krizevci settlement is springing up which will house those working for a Turkish company which is constructing the railway line to the Hungarian border.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just in front of Krizevci, a workers' settlement being built by the competent Turkish company is being erected. This will be the home of those working on the construction of the brand new railway, which Croatia desperately needs, stretching all the way to the Hungarian border. The project is otherwise worth a total of 2.5 billion kuna.

This new Krizevci settlement consists of about twenty smaller houses. There are dormitories for the railway line´s workers, a dining room and a kitchen. There will also be a lab, workshops, and even a gym. At the peak of the construction work, between 700 and 800 workers from Turkey will be housed there, according to a report from Dnevnik.hr.

"According to the contract, the duration of our project is 42 months. I can say both on behalf of my colleagues and on my own behalf that we have been very well received here. We feel good here and we haven´t been having any problems at all,¨ said the project manager Mehmet Yilmaz.

"The town is beautiful, and I hope that in the future I will have the opportunity to explore Krizevci and the surrounding settlements even more, meet more local people and that we will adapt and accept the local culture," said railway line worker Cemil Şentürk.

Hairdresser Valentina said that they managed to communicate with the local Croatian population "with their hands and feet" and added that when it comes to hairstyles, they let the hair stylists do what they think would be best.

In addition to the local hairdressers, Krizevci itself will also benefit, with taxes and surcharges on the salaries of the Turkish workers, and they have already hired some local Croatian workers.

"Some Croats are employed in cleaning services and all the additional services that such a settlement needs," said Mario Rajn, the mayor of Krizevci. For the next four years, this will be the 60th settlement within Krizevci, and also the most populous of them all.

For more, follow our business section.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Turkey Willing to Help Croatia in Reconstruction of Quake-Hit Areas

ZAGREB, 26 February, 2021 - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited the city of Petrinja on Friday, saying that Turkey, which was one of the first countries to send relief aid to the quake-affected areas in Croatia, was willing to continue helping this region.

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman thanked Turkey for the rapid response and delivery of generous humanitarian assistance.

Immediately after the 29 December 6.2 strong quake in Sisak-Moslavina County, which claimed seven lives and caused extensive damage, Turkey sent 272 heaters and 480 tents to the affected region.

The Turkish minister recalled that after Izmir was hit by a 7.0 strong quake on 30 October last year, resulting in hundreds of casualties, Minister Grlić Radman had immediately contacted him to offer assistance.

With that dose of understanding and friendship, we then wanted to be the first to come to your aid, Cavusoglu said. He conveyed Ankara's readiness to help Croatia in future reconstruction projects in this area.

The Turkish official added that his country lies in a seismically active region and has gained experience in dealing with the aftermath of such disasters.

In August 1999, a 7.6 strong quake hit the city of Izmit and killed 17,000 people. In 2011, an earthquake left more than 500 people killed in the city of Van.

We shared this destiny with you in a sad and sorrowful way, Cavusogly said.

Ankara has sent 10 experts from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) to Croatia.

Furthermore,  200 prefab housing containers have been delivered from Turkey to Croatia, said Minister Tomo Medved, who heads the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December quake.

Medved expressed gratitude and said he was sure that Croatia and Turkey would continue fostering their friendship.

In the Šešerin container settlement, Cavusoglu handed keys to the donated containers.

Grlić Radman described the donation as a strong form of solidarity.

Cavusoglu is the first Turkish foreign minister to visit Croatia after 12 years.

Turkish assistance also included the donation of 500 blankets, hygienic articles and food as well financial assistance from several Turkish companies.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Turks Building Power Plant Worth 250 Million Kuna in Legrad

As Novac writes on the 30th of June, 2020, the Turkish company MB Geothermal is about to realise the very long-awaited construction of a geothermal power plant in Legrad in Koprivnica-Krizevci County, Podravski reports.

Just over a month ago, the Croatian Government passed a regulation on quotas to encourage the production of electricity from renewable energy sources and high-efficiency cogeneration. According to that document, twenty megawatts of power have been approved for geothermal power plants, and it is precisely that aforementioned Turkish company which will ask for that much power for its power plant being constructed in Legrad.

The Turks could get the support of the Croatian Government because they went the furthest from all those interested in Croatia with their Legrad-based geothermal power plant project. The power plant project has been created, and the only obstacle is the county spatial planning situation, according to which the current version in Legrad doesn't actually provide for a thermal power plant.

The power plant in Legrad, as things stand now, will be constructed with advanced technology, and unlike the project not far from Bjelovar, which the Turkish company has already realised, in Legrad, the carbon dioxide which will be released in the process of steam exploitation, will be returned together with warm water into the reservoir. There are plans to use geothermal water for other purposes in addition to producing electricity, too. It was announced that the remaining water, after passing through steam turbines, would be used to heat a greenhouse and to produce vegetables.

''For now, only a power plant has been planned, but the project also envisages a connection where hot water could, instead of being returned to the soil, be redirected to some other facilities, if there's interest in that,'' said Ivan Sabolic, Mayor of Legrad, who stated that the construction of the power plant has an estimated price tag of 32 million euros, but if the accompanying projects, such as greenhouses or even spas, were realised, the amount of investment would be much higher. The project should start in the spring of next year and be completed by the year 2025.

Legrad has been somewhat abandoned and there is a shortage of residents as many have left looking for better lives economically speaking, mostly to Europe. Therefore, at the beginning of the year, the mayor offered houses owned by the municipality for sale for a mere kuna. The ad read: ''Whoever wants to live in Podravina, on the border with Medjimurje, is less than 40 years old, has a job and has no criminal record, is welcome. The house will cost one kuna, the person can count on additional financial support and a quiet life in the countryside. Quiet, but not boring,'' - Nineteen people responded.

The investor in the Legrad power plant, the Turkish company MB Holding, which includes MB Geothermal, was founded back in 1968, and built the first geothermal power plant in Turkey and later built three more.

For more, follow our business page.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

WBAF Croatia is First Croatian Project for Experienced Turkish Investor

WBAF Croatia will focus on facilitating access to finance for start-ups, start-ups, MSPs and fast-growing companies, and will start with international training programs for investors. Baybar Altuntaşa, a successful Turkish entrepreneur and investor is set to kickstart his very first Croatian project.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of January, 2019, on Monday, January the 21st, in Zabok's Bračak castle, the first office of the World Investment Forum of Business Angels (WBAF) opens in the European Union. As we reported recently, the office will provide education for startups and business angels as it has been available in London. This includes elite tourism and the support of Krapina-Zagorje County. Such unusual news is otherwise an everyday thing for Baybar Altuntaşa. This prosperous Turkish entrepreneur, angel investor and entrepreneur promoter has a number of international success stories behind him.

Over in Turkey, he is also celebrated as a TV star in their version of the entrepreneurial reality show Shark Tank. He is the president of the Turkish Business Angels Network (TBAA), vice president of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) and founder and president of WBAF. He has been coming to Croatia fairly regularly since visiting for the very first time back in 2015, and Poslovni Dnevnik talked with Altuntaş about his debut Croatian project.

You developed the QBAC program based on the WBAF program on the London Stock Exchange. You have been an advisor for this LSE program. What exactly did this program offer to LSE investors?

First of all, the WBAF wants to help increase financial engagement across the globe. We also want to help investors make good and early returns on their investment, as this generates resources for more investment in new startups. And thirdly, the WBAF wants to speed up the conversion of public money into smart money, to encourage innovation. We've designed a course to provide business angels with knowledge and tools to help them achieve their own goals as investors, which in return will contribute to achieving the WBAF's goals for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

How will the Croatian version of QBAC, called QBAC Bootcamp Croatia, differ from those over in London?

In Croatia, we've strengthened the bootcamp with panel discussions, round tables and debates. It will be comprehensive and will involve a cultural interaction with the Croatian investment ecosystem. This will also include visits to technoparks, student meetings, and fundraising for startups.

How did you come to the assessment that for QBAC Bootcamp Croatia there is a market of 500,000 business angels, ie, potential customers?

I believe that Croatia will be a training center for European investors, through the WBAF training programs that will be implemented there. The European Business Angels Network statistics for 2017 reveal that 320,000 business angels invested 9.6 billion euros in Europe in that year. Furthermore, the Angel Capital Association (ACA) statistics show that 340,000 business angels filed 26 billion dollars in the United States last year.

As the QBAC Bootcamp Croatia is new and the only such thing in the world, it's clear that none of these thousands of business angels received a Qualified Business Angels Certificate, and most of them were not licensed by their governments as a business angel. Holding a certificate or a license, of course, isn't mandatory for somebody who wants to invest. However, it's understood that a training program which reduces risks and increases the return on investment for business angels is of great importance. Learning through work is very different from what you do after having learned something.

What are the expectations of the WBAF from the office in Croatia?

By opening this office, the WBAF provides Croatia with the opportunity to network in the investment world. It will have a co-ordination role for EU members entrusted to it, in which the WBAF has high representatives in Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.

The countries you mention, which will be "covered" by the Croatian office, usually have bigger and more active communities of business angels than Croatia. What is Croatia's advantage to you, and why are you opening the first office in the EU here?

Croatia is the birthplace of Nikola Tesla, one of the most important inventors of the 19th century and the symbol of inventiveness. Today, in the 21st century, through WBAF Croatia, inventors in Croatia will be better connected with global capital markets and smart financing through business angels. The result of this convergence will be innovations that will create a major competitive advantage for the Croatian economy. The WBAF Office in Croatia means more startups, new ideas, smart financing, and innovation.

How did the office opening project in Croatia evolve? The initiative allegedly came from Krapina-Zagorje County prefect Željko Kolar?

Yes, months ago, Željko Kolar invited me to visit Zabok. We saw the castle of Bračak and learned a lot about its history. I was impressed by how the county had turned such a historic building into a modern, smart building.

Prefect Kolar told me that he wanted to turn Zagorje into a centre for entrepreneurship, startup and innovation in the EU. At the Croatian level, that county wants to strengthen the startup community throughout the country. But they're looking further and further afield. They're planning to network entrepreneurs and investor angels from around the world, and because of that they're stimulating the growth of small and medium businesses and creating new jobs. A simpler approach to financing, this beyond the framework of the usual banking system, is conducive to accelerating financial inclusion as an integral part of the strategy that should affect society at the local and at the national level. I wondered if it was possible for such a small country to become Europe's leader in innovation. Then I left Croatia with this thought in mind.

After that, what personally motivated you to open up the WBAF office in Croatia?

Croatia's success at the FIFA World Cup in 2018 encouraged me to support this project. Croatia isn't a big country and it only has four million people, but the way the Croatian national football team managed to get to the final and defeated the teams of Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Brazil, China and Turkey, that's a miracle. Then I decided to look at the Kolar's project much more seriously and I presented the idea of ​​opening the WBAF offices of Croatia to the members of the administration. All the members of the board were in the meeting and we agreed at once - It doesn't matter how big the country is! It's important how ''big'' the people are, how persistent, and passionate they are to realise their dreams.

What can startups and business angels in Croatia expect from the WBAF office?

WBAF Croatia will focus on facilitating access to finance for entrepreneurs, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and fast-growing businesses, and will start with international training programs for investors. The plan is, moreover, to promote programs for entrepreneurs who will prepare them for receiving investments, organise investment forums for startups, arrange international investors' arrivals to Croatia, and promote Croatian entrepreneurs and businesses globally.

The WBAF office is opening under a licensed model. What are the conditions [for that]?

The office in Croatia will be managed by the Entrepreneurship Centre of Krapina-Zagorje County, which has a WBAF license. The president of the WBAF steering board in the Republic of Croatia will be Prefect Željko Kolar. By taking over this responsibility, the county will become part of the world's financial and business network, which aims to facilitate access to capital for entrepreneurs of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the intensive growth phase.

Will there be cooperation between offices in Croatia with those in Tanzania, Macedonia or future offices in Brazil and other countries?

The WBAF believes that launching an office at the national level provides a great opportunity for governments to discover the real power of startups and businesses to boost their economies through innovation, investments, business angels. and entrepreneurship. It's good to see that governments around the world realise the importance of investing, business angels, and entrepreneurship to foster the development of their economies.

Many governments, especially those in Europe, offer generous tax incentives for angel investments. To support such a system, the UK and Turkey have already adopted laws on business angels investing. Islamic economies have also begun to see the importance of the capital market at an early stage. In fact, the Islamic Development Bank has included angel investments on its list of recommended topics that should be considered at its annual conference in Jakarta.

The WBAF is inviting all governments and policy makers to use their knowledge, mentoring and networking of qualified business angels, and to turn public funding into smart financing by establishing close co-operation between public institutions and private resources. Working together across borders, with a common vision, we're in a good position to make positive changes in the global economy. I'm sure that co-operation with other WBAF offices across the world will enable a faster impact on both the Croatian and world economies.

Stay up to date with much more by following our dedicated business page.

 

Click here for the original article/interview by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Croatian Hotels Raise Prices, Fail to Notice Mediterranean Rival Recovery

Could the recovery of tourism in countries like Turkey threaten to take the wind out of Croatia's wings?

Monday, 14 May 2018

Two Turkish Companies Considering Purchasing Konzum?

Could Konzum potentially get Turkish owners?

Monday, 8 January 2018

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović Heading to Turkey Tomorrow to Meet with Erdogan

One of the themes the two leaders will discuss will be the current situation in Southeastern Europe, with particular emphasis placed on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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