Saturday, 11 September 2021

Union Says Anti-Maskers’ School Invasion Should Be Condemned, Punished

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - The Preporod union of school employees on Saturday condemned the anti-maskers who invaded the elementary school in Krapinske Toplice yesterday, saying it was not a protest but a threat to the safety and mental health of those who were present, which should be condemned and punished.

"The public condemnation of this violent incident should be prompt and total," the union said in a press release.

It added that the invasion of the 30 anti-maskers was also an organised disturbance of the peace, and that they and the organiser should be promptly and severely punished.

As for reports on police conduct, Preporod said the police should be punished too if their behaviour was indeed unprofessional and their response to the behaviour of the anti-maskers "late and mild."

Preporod said that as of Monday the education authorities should send experts to the school to provide psychological support to the pupils, and that Minister Radovan Fuchs and his associates should visit the school as soon as possible, thereby supporting the pupils, their parents and all of the school staff.

The union reiterated that security in schools was lacking and called on the education authorities to do more to create conditions preventing any kind of violent behaviour in schools.

County head: Security will watch school entrance

Krapina-Zagorje County prefect Željko Kolar told Hina on Friday that as of Monday morning security would watch the entrance to the Krapinske Toplice elementary school as well as the schoolyard, where parents protested against mask-wearing earlier in the day.

Kolar said he would do everything so that pupils could come to the school without fear and that the county would ensure that classes were held without disruption.

He said the protesters broke the law banning organised protesting or gathering near a school during classes. He added that the police did not do a good job because the protest should have been banned or broken up.

Kolar said 308 pupils went to that school and that the parents of only two were protesting against masks, whereas all other parents and their children complied with the COVID rules.

The protest was held because an eight-year-old pupil who refuses to wear a mask, Nikola Gaćina, has been banned from entering the school since Monday. It was organised by his father Kristijan, who says a mask makes it difficult for Nikola to breathe and that the school does not allow him to use common areas without it. Thereby, he said, his son is being denied the right to an education.

Headmaster: Children's health and safety come first

The school's headmaster, Samson Štibohar, said children's health and safety came first and that the protest was the result of one parent's refusal to comply with the measures, protocols and decisions under which headmasters had to create work guidelines for the new school year.

"The problem is that the pupil and his parent refuse that he wear a mask in the hall and the toilet and when entering and leaving school, which takes maybe two minutes," he said, adding that he saw nothing positive in the protest.

"I won't say it's genocide against pupils, but it's something horrible. I saw there a lot of negative energy, meanness, a lot of frustrated people. If they want to achieve something, that's certainly not the way," said Štibohar.

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Friday, 21 August 2020

Kolar Presents Candidacy For SDP Leader

ZAGREB, Aug 21, 2020 - Krapina-Zagorje County Prefect Zeljko Kolar on Friday presented his candidacy to run for the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the internal election, saying that he will advocate a modern Croatia with an efficient judicial system and a functioning market economy.

"My desire to run as a candidate did not come overnight. That was not a spontaneous move but the product of my wish for more than necessary changes in the party," he claimed.

He said that he would develop the SDP as a modern center-left party while overcoming rifts inside the SDP.

Thinking about candidacy for prime minister, not a priority now 

Asked whether he would be a candidate for the prime minister's position, Kolar said that that was not a priority now, however, whoever has the best chance of defeating Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic should be the candidate.

That decision is up to the presidency and main committee, Kolar said, and added that he would be willing to support whoever will be the best option.

Remarking on membership numbers which his opponent Grbin spoke about, Kolar said that it was disastrous that of the 34,000 SDP members only 11,500 pay their membership fees and announced that one of his first steps would be to deal with the issue of membership.

Grbin was a member of the presidency in two terms, he could have dealt with that. I wasn't because I was conducting the duties of county prefect, said Kolar.

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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.

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

Monday, 16 January 2017

Positive Year for Zagorje: Number of Guests Increased by One Third

Krapina-Zagorje Mayor Zeljko Kolar has announced new investments in tourism for 2017, which includes three new hotels and ongoing discussions with foreign investors about building a large tourist camp.