Friday, 16 July 2021

New and Improved FOI Course: Business Applied Information Technologies

July 16, 2021 - Continuing to improve education, a new and improved FOI course is open for the academic year 2021/2022. Meet the program of Business Applied Information Technologies.

With a fantastic display of informatical knowledge and growing interest in the field observable among Croatian pupils, it is only logical that the education system follows the demand.

Faculty of Organization and Informatics (FOI), based in Varaždin but part of the University of Zagreb, is already one of the more known high-education institutions for computer-sciences-inclined. But, as Srednja.hr reported, starting next academic year this autumn, an improved bachelor's study program will take its first students.

„By process of revision, and by following trends and modern markets, FOI successfully innovated a professional bachelor's program called Business Applied Information Technologies (PITUP), says Srednja.hr.

The article adds that the program has a multidisciplinary approach in combining information technologies and digital business. The program also develops in two directions: app development and informatics support aimed to allow students to progress in their preferred area. The education for the new and improved PITUP apart from Varaždin will also be available in cities and towns such as Varaždin, Sisak, Križevci, and Zabok.

As stated by Faculty's official website, FOI is active for more than 50 years and spent that time well in educating the most qualified experts in information technology, economy, organization, communicology, and other fields of similar direction.

„To educate our students, all the needed infrastructure is secured: equipped laboratories, videoconference halls, electronic learning system, wireless network for Faculty buildings and modern equipped library and reading room“, says FOI.

In addition, FOI has two buildings, with building two being within a five-minute walk from the center of Varaždin, and from building one directed towards Varaždin Student Dorms and the newly built Student Restaurant.

„Employers recognized the knowledge and skill of our students. From this year, ecx.io digital agency, that does business as part of IBM iX Group, collabs with FOI to give scholarships to three freshmen year students that will take the PITUPeducational program in Sisak Educational Centre“, added Srednja.hr

The city of Križevci also offers scholarships for three students from Križevci that stay in their town to study the new program.

Learn more about Varaždin on our TC page.

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

Friday, 5 March 2021

President Zoran Milanović: Energy Efficiency Can Help Adjust to Climate Change

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - Economic losses in the EU due to climate change extremes amount to €12 billion annually and energy efficiency can help adjust to climate change and create jobs, not lose them, President Zoran Milanović said on Friday after meeting with representatives of Croatia's regional energy agencies.

The meeting was held at the Bračak Energy Centre in Zabok on the occasion of World Energy Efficiency Day, observed on 5 March to raise awareness of the need to reduce energy consumption and sustainable energy use, the president's office said in a press release.

In the past 13 years, together with counties, towns and municipalities, Croatia's regional energy agencies have been implementing sustainable energy use projects. Investment in clean energy exceeds HRK 1 billion.

They successfully participate in many EU projects for the energy-efficient renovation of public infrastructure, developing new business models and financial instruments, which makes them Croatia's energy transition pioneers, it was said at the meeting.

President Milanović said there was no successful adjustment to climate change without energy efficiency and that the climate crisis was potentially the biggest global crisis of the future.

"The experience in achieving renewable and efficient energy and climate protection in Croatia, which regional energy agencies already have, is a good example to all in Croatia at local as well as national level that we can and must do even better when it comes to energy efficiency. Our children must go to better schools, the buildings we live in should be both safe and energy-efficient, our cities deserve to become smart in terms of energy," he said after the meeting.

"The economic losses in the EU due to weather and climate extremes already amount to €12 billion annually. Energy efficiency is what can help us to adjust to climate change, not to lose jobs but create them, raising the standard of living of us all," he added.

Croatia has five regional energy agencies which employ 70 experts while the EU has 350, some of which have been active more than 40 years.

There are four million green jobs in the EU today, including 1.4 million in the production of energy from renewables and over 900,000 in energy efficiency activities, said Julije Domac, the president's energy and climate advisor.

"That's what we should focus on. Croatia has the know-how, as evidenced by the fact that Croatian energy agencies regularly coordinate European development projects, provide services to the European Commission and are active across the European Union. Today it's important that each of us know that energy efficiency means better for them, for Croatia, and then for Earth," he added.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Business Angels Open Office in Northwest Croatia

ZAGREB, January 21, 2019 - A World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) office was opened in Zabok, northwestern Croatia as of Monday and it will gather business angels from all over the European Union.

The office makes Krapina-Zagorje County part of the world's financial and business network aimed at facilitating access to capital for startups and scaleups, it was said at the opening.

The WBAF is an international organisation helping new companies finance their business endeavours and the people that are part of it are called business angels.

WBAF president Baybars Altuntas said at the inauguration that last year 340,000 business angels in Europe invested 9.8 billion euro in startups.

Today innovation is important. The challenge for entrepreneurs in the 21st century is to find investors, but they need the know-how, mentoring and networking. Money can be found in a number of sources, but only business angels can provide the rest, he said.

Altuntas said he chose to open an office in a small country while watching the 2018 FIFA World Cup in which, he said, small Croatia played. It doesn't matter how big a country is but how big the dream is, he added.

Among those attending the opening was the Macedonian minister without a portfolio in charge of investments, Zoran Šapurić, who hopes a regional office will be opened in Skopje too. We expect that to be an incentive to economic cooperation in the region, including between Macedonia and Croatia, bearing in mind that our relations are excellent in every sense, he said.

Šapurić, Kosovo Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minister Besim Beqaj, Ghanaian Business Development Minister Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, and Croatian Deputy Parliament Speaker Siniša Hajdaš Dončić took part in a panel on global cooperation in facilitating access to international financing for startups and scaleups.

Hajdaš Dončić said support institutions today were expected to help the 5-7% of the population which had the entrepreneurship gene. They are formal and informal social networks which operate in contemporary economy through innovation, investment and integration, and Krapina-Zagorje County has now provided one of those networks, he added.

The opening of the WBAF office in Zabok has also been supported by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. She will receive a WBAF delegation in Zagreb on Tuesday.

More news on doing business in Croatia can be found in our special section.

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

Monday, 14 January 2019

Zabok to Become Croatian Home of Academy for Business Angels

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of January, 2019, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved old Zagorje buildings, Bračak near Zabok, will officially become a real, ''angelic'' building at the end of January, 2019.

On the 21st of January, the first office of the the World Bank Investment Forum of Business Angels (WBAF) in the European Union will be officially inaugurated at the Bračak palace. Bračak palace, which is 130 years old, will have a new function after playing the role of both a former children's hospital and an energy centre.

Zabok's beautiful palace will be transformed into the first academy for business angels in the Republic of Croatia, which will combine education with the field of elite tourism. Baybars Altuntaş, the president of the WBAF, holds several impressive titles. He is a highly successful Turkish investor, the vice president of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) and a senior advisor to the elite program on the London Stock Exchange, a program designed to boost investment capacity for small and medium-sized investment companies who are the first to attract the capital of business angels.

"After Croatia, as a small country of only four million people, was able to compete in the World Cup until the finals, and showed that there were ''big'' people, persistent and with big hearts, who have the type of quality needed for the work, I supported the idea of ​​the prefect of Krapina-Zagorje County, Željko Kolar, that in Bračak, a palace boasting a rich history which, with the help of technology and knowledge turned into a very smart building, that WBAF should open its first office in the European Union there,'' stated Altuntaş.

Renata Brkić, High Commissioner for WBAF Croatia says that the first service to be offered at Zabok's Bračak palace will be the international QBAC Qualified Business Angels Certificate (QBAC). "The QBAC program has been run by the WBAF on the London Stock Exchange so far, and in cooperation with the office for Croatia, we've upgraded it with the elite tourism offer and we'll offer it as QBAC Bootcamp Croatia on the global market," said Brkić.

She stated that there is a market for 500,000 business angels for this service. "The first group will start off in May," Brkić said. Željko Kolar, Prefect of Krapina-Zagorje County and the initiator of the opening of WBAF's office in Croatia, says this project confirms the fact that the county is recognised as an open, competitive and business partner sector.

"In the first year, we want to create an entrepreneurial network of business angels not only from Croatia but also from EU countries, to educate investors according to qualified investment courses that we will prepare and identify good business opportunities that can be invested in this area," noted Kolar.

He explained that the county in which the Zabok palace is located, Krapina-Zagorje, is the holder of the WBAF license and that the entrepreneurship centre of Krapina-Zagorje County will be in charge of the operational office for Croatia. Along with Kolar, the management of WBAF's office is also the CEO of HUP (Croatian Employers' Association) Davor Majetić, the assistant director of HZMO, Dražen Mršić, the managing director of Hanfa, Petar-Pierre Matek, as well as Renata Brkić, who states that WBAF is planning to open up a number of offices around the world this year. The first was opened last year in Tanzania.

This is the second in the Republic of Croatia. More offices to follow will be based in Taiwan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Macedonia, and Brazil. "WBAF, with the opening of this office, is providing Croatia with a chance to network in the world of investment,'' added Brkić.

Make sure to stay up to date with more information on doing business in Croatia by following our dedicated business page.

 

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

Friday, 27 July 2018

Bentleys and Laser Eye Surgery, Zabok Company Goes From Strength to Strength

Huge export success for one Zabok-based company, from laser eye surgery to Bentleys.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Croatia Hot Air Balloon Rally Paints the Sky of Zagorje

The biggest hot air balloon festival in Croatia saw 15 participating teams from all over Europe

Friday, 23 March 2018

Contractor Selected for Major Railway Project

ZAGREB, March 23, 2018 - Swietelsky d.o.o. of Zagreb has been selected to modernise and electrify the railway line between Zaprešić and Zabok, a project worth 614.4 million kuna, of which 85% is co-financed by the EU, the HŽ Infrastruktura rail company announced on Friday.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Old Brick Warehouse to Be Turned into Modern Hotel

A new hotel project in Zabok is underway.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Sv. Katarina Hospital Enters Finals of European Business Awards

One of the best Croatian hospitals is in the finals of a prestigious international business competition.

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