Business Accelerator Promotes Tourist Startups

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Tourist business accelerator chooses five projects to promote.

Promotion of publicly available free drinking water and an app for exploring the city through a game are just two of the five projects which have been selected by the first tourist accelerator in Croatia “Startup Factory Zagreb”. The accelerator, which is organized by the Zagreb Technology Park, announced that, among the 46 submitted projects, they had selected five of them to receive subsidies worth up to 150,000 kuna. The winners are startups Drop Table, Freewa, Volio, Zagreb City Challenge and Run Zagreb, reports on October 11, 2016.

Frane Šesnić, director of the Technology Park Zagreb, said that he was very satisfied with the interest of the startup community for creating innovations in the field of tourism. In the first eight months of this year, Zagreb had the same number of tourists as inhabitants, 700,000 of them, which represented the growth of 5 percent, and 1.28 million overnight stays, which was 12 percent more than last year.

“Tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic activities in Zagreb and the Zagreb Technology Park wants to promote the concept of smart city and innovations in small and medium enterprises. Our goal is to promote further growth and enrich the tourist offer of Zagreb, and I am glad that startups have recognized this”, said Šesnić. He added that Startup Factory Zagreb was not only the first tourist accelerator in Croatia, but also one of the first ones in the region. “It just shows that local government can help strengthen entrepreneurship, and that is even more important for Zagreb because we would like to see more startups in the town”, said Šesnić.

Kata Barišić, a co-founder of Zagreb City Challenge, said that she had 200 potential partners who wanted to implement a new project which has been accepted by the first Croatian tourist accelerator. “Project Zagreb City Challenge is in its initial phase. Based on our experience, we see there is a need for a different approach to the city. We want to use a mobile application which would include a game to help tourists explore the city and absorb new and unique Zagreb experiences”, said Barišić.

Vedrana Vrabec, a co-founder of Freewa, said that their aim was to offer a new, unique souvenir that would be based on the abundance of fresh water. She added that Croatia was the fifth best country in Europe, according to the report by UNESCO, by the availability and abundance of drinking water. Freewa has developed an ecological water bottle and a mobile application through which tourists can find the nearest place with a public fountain or a free other water source. “We want tourists to experience this part of the Croatian tourist offer as well”, said Vrabec.


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