By Katherine Kurelja
Even though we all want to go on vacation right now and to somewhere like sun-kissed, and lifestyle rich Croatia, I want to share another side to this small, yet diverse country. One that’s less talked about, but equally inspirational. The business side and the offerings that make Croatia a value-added business destination.
1. Home of world-class IT talent
Croatia is well known in international tech circles for its’ programming prowess, creative problem-solving and quality execution. To prove this, Croatian software development firms are no strangers to top recognition. Just a few examples are Agency Five, being named as one of the top 3 web development firms in NYC for 3 years running (if you haven’t lived or worked in NYC, it truly is beyond competitive).
Similar agencies are consistently highly ranked for quality code, customer service and on-time delivery. Additional companies include Webby award winners (considered the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet) and the most popular app in the world for learning math. There’s far more, but I think you get the picture.
2. Proven innovative thinkers and doers
There’s the saying that it must be the water. When it comes to Croatia, it’s the electricity. Nikola Tesla, born in what is now modern-day Croatia is an apt symbol for the ingenuity-heavy DNA of Croatian entrepreneurs today. Croatia is home to the world’s fastest electric hypercar, and speaking of cars, creators of the world’s first mobile parking app – helping you kiss your parking tickets goodbye.
It’s also home to the world’s best solar-powered smart bench and makers of a design your own cell phone and gaming device for kids – changing the screen time paradigm for parents. An uber-like room service disruptor came from here too. Beyond tech, Croatia boasts environmental visionaries like Miret, which manufactures the world’s most sustainable sneakers. Literally, step aside, Nike and Adidas. See bullet 1 about there being more.
3. An enviable talent pipeline
Croatia’s youth is tech-focused and primed for the next big thing or simply your next thing. High schoolers from Croatia boast 89 total medals in the International Olympiad in Informatics beating countries including Germany in total medals. In fact, Croatia only trails China, which has by far the most medals of any nation, by only 34 medals. Considering our population differences, this is not too shabby.
You’ll find programs like Croatian Makers here, the largest extracurricular STEM program in the EU for students – infusing young minds with the dedication to solving problems technically and creatively, not to mention inventively.
4. You’ll get way more than what you pay for
Open an office here or send your staff here since the cost of living is one of the lowest in the EU which also aligns with salary expectations. A win-win for employees and employers, given the premium lifestyle that includes top-notch health care provided by the government. Low priced, yet equal in quality, alternatives relative to US standards are also available. I can vouch for this personally since I have lived in NYC, Boston and San Francisco and consider myself a minor hypochondriac.
5. Ease of working relationships
Apart from the tactical like the fact that Croatia has been internationally recognized for its very high English proficiency among its population, Croatians are highly people-oriented and easy to deal with. The proof is in the countless positive reviews from tourists, but also through the growing list of foreign firms opening offices here. Another thing I can vouch for (along with their clients) is the professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication to quality work that I have seen across the board with Croatian entrepreneurs. I don’t feel I’m far from the high-performing US cities I’ve lived in when I deal with these men and women. In fact, their energy is contagious, hence my decision to work here.
From my short time living in Croatia, I can see that business opportunities for those who partner with Croatian firms are growing by the day. And the benefits are plentiful since what you save in terms of time, energy and cost you can spend on a vacation here. After all, it’s no coincidence that one of the mottos here is “Croatia: a small country, with big dreams.”