Croatian Ambassador encourages community leaders and business professionals to come together to create mutually beneficial economic ties
CLEVELAND, April 3, 2019 – The Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP)—Cleveland hosted an Evening with the Croatian Embassy — an event to connect Croatia and Northeast Ohio for economic empowerment — on Friday, March 29, 2019 at the American Croatian Lodge in Eastlake with support from the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia to the United States located in Washington, D.C. The black tie event was also co-hosted by the American Croatian Business Association (Cleveland).
“Croatia has strength as a member of the European Union and NATO. Because of our deeply rooted connection to Cleveland, having around 50,000 Croatian Americans in the area, we would like to create ties between Northeast Ohio and Croatia for trade, joint business ventures, investment and to link companies on a global level,” says Pjer Šimunović, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States in Washington D.C.
Ambassador Šimunović was accompanied by Mirna Vlašić Feketija, Minister Counselor, and Nikica Kopačević, Counselor, also members of Croatia’s diplomatic mission to the U.S.
The event engaged conversations around economic development, trade fostering and knowledge exchange in order to: establish an economic development pathway between Croatia and Northeast Ohio, encourage Croatian Americans to network within and outside of Northeast Ohio and promote Croatian culture and awareness.
Not only is Croatia a business powerhouse on the global level, it’s also flourishing locally. Two local Croatian American owned businesses, and ACAP members, showcased their companies at the event: Secure IT Asset Disposition Services, specializing in IT asset disposal and recycling services, owned by Mario Jurcic in Oakwood Village and Matic Farms, a hops farm in Thompson owned by Luka and Nikola Matic.
“I’m proud of my Croatian heritage and to be an American,” says Jurcic who is also ACAP Cleveland Vice President. “It was an honor to be a part of this evening that celebrated my heritage and nationality. I hope my story can inspire someone in my community to combine their education and dreams to pursue their own business opportunities.”
Jerry C. Cirino, Lake County Commissioner, presented Ambassador Šimunović with a proclamation of contribution of Croatian residents to Lake County and Dennis Morley, Mayor of Eastlake, presented him with the key to the city.
Earlier in the day, Ambassador Šimunović met with Cleveland Major Frank Jackson and Ken Filipiak, City Manager, Mentor, to discuss potential trade programs. The City of Cleveland also presented him with a proclamation as did Ohio Congressman Dave Joyce who co-chairs the Croatian caucus in Congress.
In addition to prominent Northeast Ohio business owners, distinguished attendees included: Kevin Kelly, City Council President, Cleveland; Kirsten Holzheimer–Gail, Mayor, City of Euclid; Dennis Morley, Mayor, City of Eastlake; Mark Rantala, Executive Director, Lake County Ohio Port & Economic Development Authority; Ted Carter, Chief Economic Development & Business Officer, Cuyahoga County; David Bowen, President, Northern Ohio District Export Council; Bill Koehler, CEO, Team NEO; and Joe Cimperman, President, Global Cleveland.
Embassy of the Republic of Croatia
The Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Washington. D.C. is the primary Croatian diplomatic mission to the United States. It operates 11 Consulates across the U.S. The Croatian Embassy represents the interests of Croatia and Croatian citizens in the and conducts the majority of diplomatic work on such interests within the U.S.
Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP)
The Association of Croatian American Professionals is a non-profit organization bringing together professionals, business leaders, academics, students and community organizers. Their mission is to foster leadership, collaboration and to promote the advancement of issues relevant to the Croatian-American community. In four years, ACAP expanded to 11 chapters, including Cleveland, in the United States and Croatia with 750 members — and growing — worldwide.
American Croatian Business Association (ACBA)
The American Croatian Business Association is a non-profit corporation that formed in 1983 and consists of a wide variety of businesses in Northeast Ohio. Members include professionals such as architects, accountants, engineers, doctors, travel agents, bankers, realtors and management and financial consultants. The ACBAs’ goal is to unite all business and professional people of Croatian descent to develop, encourage, promote, and protect the industrial, commercial, professional, financial, cultural and general business interests of the Croatian community.
Proceeds of An Evening with the Croatian Embassy will benefit the ACAP national conference that will be held in Cleveland, Ohio from Sept. 19 through 22, 2019. The conference aims to bring together more than 500 professionals from all facets of the U.S. and international professional community, including a delegation from Croatia’s Chamber of Commerce. For more information, please visit croampro.com.