The Croatian Diaspora

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

By 5 November 2019

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.