It’s the Mindset: Rimac on Attracting Diaspora, Expats to Sveta Nedelja

Total Croatia News

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Davor Đopar, Sveta Nedelja Tourist Board Facebook
Davor Đopar, Sveta Nedelja Tourist Board Facebook

Its name translates as Holy Sunday. 

And until relatively recently, it was a town which attracted very little national or international attention. 

But times have changed.

I made my first visit to Sveta Nedelja less than a year ago. I was certainly curious to see what I would find. For here was the home of the most progressive local administration in all Croatia, as well as the home of the country’s global superstar, Rimac Automobili. 

Since coming to power against the odds as an independent back in 2016, the achievements of Mayor Dario Zurovic and his team have been nothing short of phenomenal. And his success was recently reflected in the ballot box. Whereas he managed only 22% of the vote in 2016, he was reelected with a whopping 68% four years later. Quite possibly a record increase in Croatia. 

The list of achievements are quite exceptional, especially in an era of emigration and economic depression in Croatia. Jobs have increased 20% since 2017, the population up more than 10% since the last census in 2011, texes for businesses have been slashed to make it the most attractive place to set up shop in Croatia. There is free bus transport for all, and a host of other successful initiatives. It is also the most transparent administration in Croatia – no wonder the combination of factors combined so that Sveta Nedelja has been named the best medium-sized town for the economy for three years in a row, as well as one of the best 5 towns for quality of life. Pretty impressive stuff. 

And the good news is that the Sveta Nedelja transparency project is exported. The mayor’s party, Fokus, picked up four other mayoral positions in Zagreb County in the recent elections, including Samobor, which is already embarking on the path to full transparency, as recently reported by TCN

And while Mayor Zurovec and his progressive Croatia 2.0 mindset is achieving great things, the biggest name in town these days is one Mate Rimac, whose meteoric rise from a one-man band in a garage with a beat up car to global automobile superstar in a decade is rightly attracting all the column inches. 

But for all his fame and offers to develop his business abroad, Rimac remains very grounded and committed to improving Croatia and attracting jobs, innovation and knowhow from abroad. Doing business in Croatia is far from easy, taxation is high, and there are probably dozns of other reasons why it would make much more sense for Rimac to move aborad. 

But he believes in Croatia, as he posted in a recent Facebook post:


One of my goals from the very beginning was to show that it can be done even in Croatia, to create great jobs here, attract talent from all over the world and also, give the Croatian diaspora an opportunity that is worthwhile coming back for.

Every month all employees get an update about new colleagues that have joined us the previous month. For July, we have almost 50 new employees. It was fun to see this three new colleagues one after the other on the list – the first an Italian moving to Croatia and the other two – Croatians coming back from the Netherlands and Germany to join Rimac.

Many other international colleagues have joined us this month – which makes me very proud. Sveta Nedelja and its surroundings are truly becoming the home of a very diverse population.

Very important to not forget – foreigners are never taking “our jobs” but bring know-how and experience that doesn’t exist here, helping us to be a better company, grow faster and even create more jobs for locals. And of course, spreading that know-how here much faster than any university ever could. So it is, without a doubt, a net-positive for the local community. Let’s do the best we can to make all our foreign colleagues feel at home.

A tantalising snapshot of a tiny part of Croatia, where a progressive mindset from both the public and private sector can effect real change, improve livelihoods, mindsets and employment opportunities. 

Vive la revolution. 

For the latest news from Sveta Nedelja, follow the dedicated TCN section.  




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