More Than 20 Million Euros for Croatian Companies Coming from Norway

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac writes on the 30th of June, 2020, as part of the Business Development and Innovation Croatia programme, whose main goal is to create added value and sustainable growth for Croatian companies in the field of the green industry innovation and blue growth, the Croatian private sector has a massive 20,128,295 euros at its disposal.

The aforementioned funds are available through open calls and tenders to support the part-financing of the project. The programme is managed by Innovation Norway as the fund manager for the EEA and Norway Grants business programmes, and was presented at today’s online conference held in cooperation with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

“The goal of the plan for the economy is not only internal economic stability, but also better connection with the developed economies of the world. One of them is certainly Norway,” said Ivan Skaric from the Sector for Industrial Development and Innovation System of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, emphasising that the cooperation between the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the organisation Innovation Norway began back in 2016.

Potential areas for cooperation will be defined jointly, by comparing the areas from the Croatian smart specialisation strategy and the corresponding Norwegian strategy, the so-called Dream commitment. Thus, the greatest potential for cooperation was observed in the field of energy and sustainable development, followed by food and bioeconomy, and transport and mobility. Magnar Ødelien, the director for EEA and Norway Grants in the Innovation Norway organisation, said that a strong partner in Croatia is crucial for the realisation of this project.

“So far, we’ve had extremely high-quality cooperation with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce,” said Ødelien.

The Innovation Norway programme director Anne Lise Rognlidalen presented the programme and the first call. “It encompasses three dimensions of sustainability, economic, environmental and social, by creating jobs. The application may relate to the application or development of innovative technologies, processes or solutions,” said Rognlidalen. Applications will be open from July to November the 15th, 2020.

The programme is funded by a Norwegian grant and is part of the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (EEA and Norway Grants) for the period 2014-2021. The goal is to reduce economic inequalities by financing projects that will increase the competitiveness and profitability of Croatian companies. The programme will seek to encourage and develop long-term business cooperation between Croatian companies and those from Norway. It is especially aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises of a modest technological level. A small grant scheme was introduced for them to lower their participation threshold.

The main focus is Green Industry Innovation (the manufacturing and processing industry) and Blue Growth (the maritime industry, small-scale tourism, etc.). Applicants are eligible companies that will become “greener” and/or diversify their product range/increase their capacity/introduce changes in their production processes.

Examples of projects financed by these grants in other countries were also presented, such as the use of technology for “greener” laundries, automation in furniture production, packaging in the dairy industry, the automation of plastic bottle sorting, the modernisation of cement plants, etc. With the support of HGK, Business Development and Innovation Croatia is managed by Innovation Norway, a public body of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Fisheries and the main instrument of the Norwegian Government for the development of Norwegian companies.

With a network of local offices and more than 30 offices around the world, they enable companies to grow internationally and build partnerships, and there is also a banking license. Currently, Innovation Norway is the fund manager for the EEA and Norway Grants business programmes in Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, and a branch office was recently established in the City of Zagreb.

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