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India-Croatia Startup Bridge: Why Indian and Croatian startups are more connected than ever before

India-Croatia Startup Bridge: Why Indian and Croatian startups are more connected than ever before

At the India-Croatia Startup Bridge presentation today (Photo: Indian Embassy)

New Delhi / Zagreb, 20 December 2021 – In order to strengthen international cooperation and the innovation environment, India and Croatia have launched the India-Croatia Startup Bridge, an initiative that enables startups, investors, incubators, corporations and entrepreneurs from both countries to connect more strongly, expand business and position themselves in the global market.

This digital platform creates a kind of bridge between entrepreneurs who are provided with the technological infrastructure to run joint projects. It is the basis for all future bilateral programs aimed at improving the startup ecosystem between India and Croatia.

The Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment (HAMAG-BICRO) and Startup India presented the India-Croatia Startup Bridge with the aim of strengthening Croatian-Indian cooperation, ie trade and economic cooperation between Croatia and India. The initiative on Monday, December 20, at the BIRD Incubator, moderated by Željko Krizmanić, BIRD leader.  

Participants were addressed by Indian Secretary of the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India) Shruti Singh. “Indo-Croatian Startup Cooperation is the first step between our two countries to jointly promote technology, share knowledge. This bridge will act as a reference point for startups in any of the countries with the aim of expanding into another market and providing a platform for startups where they can show their innovations to a global audience.

The Ambassador of India to Croatia, Raj Kumar Srivastava: “It is a wonderful feeling to achieve something as planned, despite the challenges of this pandemic. We embarked on this journey exactly one year back to start connecting the Indian and Croatian innovation ecosystems from the bottom up, today reaching an important milestone in establishing something tangible to ensure future growth. This startup bridge between India and Croatia would enable Croatian startups to take advantage of 3S (speed, scale, sensitivity) defining the Indian ecosystem and strengthening cooperation within 3T (talent, technology and trade) between our two countries. There is also great potential for building partnerships, while promoting innovation for the global good.” 

India-Croatia Startup Bridge: Why Indian and Croatian startups are more connected than ever before

Ambassador of India, Raj Kumar Srivastava & Vjeran Vrbanec, CEO HAMAG BICRO (Photo: Indian Embassy)

Aastha Grover, Head of Startup India, stating that she is convinced that India-Croatia Startup Bridge will strengthen cooperation between the startup ecosystems of the two countries.

On the Croatian side, Vjeran Vrbanec, President of the Management Board of HAMAG-BICRO, addressed the gathering. “I believe that India-Croatia Startup Bridge will be the foundation for all programs aimed at improving the startup ecosystem between India and Croatia. Creating a network of startups, mentors, entrepreneurs, business investors and support institutions will allow us to jointly highlight the importance and potential of growing startups together.

Bojan Batinić, Director of the Directorate for Internationalisation, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (Croatia) said that Croatia recognises that startups have a very important role in the economy. “They create new products or services and new business models. It is important to continuously improve the ecosystem to enable the creation and growth of startups. This event will improve the possibilities of partnership between Croatia and India and open space for further cooperation between Croatian and Indian startups.

India-Croatia Startup Bridge: Why Indian and Croatian startups are more connected than ever before

BIRD Incubator

Držislav Škeljo, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in India, said that this initiative, to launch a bridge for cooperation between new Croatian and Indian companies (Croatia-India Startup Bridge), was a valuable step forward in opening new ways of cooperation and deepening current Croatian-Indian economic relations. “For Croatian companies, this could create many business opportunities in one of the world’s fastest growing large economies,” said Škeljo.

Finally, the guests were addressed by Matija Ražem, Senior Vice President of Infobip, who has worked with the Indian startup ecosystem for many years and offered Infobip’s experience for future initiatives to be organised within the India-Croatia Startup Bridge. 

India-Croatia Startup Bridge: Why Indian and Croatian startups are more connected than ever before

More information on the India-Croatia Startup Bridge initiative is available on the following link: https://www.startupindia.gov.in/content/sih/en/india-croatia-bridge.html

The main goals of the India-Croatia Startup Bridge initiative:

Knowledge sharing: comprehensive guides and tools to help startups assess technology expansion and transfer opportunities

Networking opportunities: connectivity between startups, mentors, investors and incubators in relevant sectors from both countries

Organisation of joint programs: one-stop-shop: the platform will host all ecosystem programs; from lectures, panels to exchanges of startup experiences

Capacity building platform: access to and registration for events, competitions and workshops in both countries in partnership with co-working spaces

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