December 2, 2020 – With the new initiative named “Grow Croatia with Google” presented by Google, the goal is to significantly contribute to the recovery and development of the Croatian economy and accelerate the digital transformation, and thus respond to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Novac.hr reports, the coronavirus pandemic and the simultaneous lockdown greatly affected the economy. However, the current situation also opens up new possibilities, as consumers turn to the internet which increases the need to accelerate the digital transformation of business.
The technology that has enabled us to work and learn remotely in recent months, virtual socializing with friends and family, shopping, and using a variety of online services can play a significant role in helping SMEs survive the crisis today.
But not all companies are ready for such a rapid change, and the main obstacle for most of them who have already started an online business or are planning to do so is the lack of knowledge, skills, and tools.
‘Digitization is a significant challenge’
That’s why the Grow Croatia with Google initiative seeks to accelerate economic recovery and development through the use of technology, tools, education, and advice to help 10,000 local businesses, communities, and people become stronger, more resilient, and enable faster development by the end of 2021.
“In Croatia, in cases of lack of own resources, the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family, and Social Policy through the network of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) and active employment policy measures funded by the European Social Fund seeks to support individuals and companies through measures to educate the workforce. These measures enable the training of employed and unemployed in order to strengthen their employability,” said Dragan Jelić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family and Social Policy.
He also pointed out that the goal is to encourage the digitization of the Croatian economy, which has been further accelerated due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Grow Croatia with Google initiative is adapted to the “new normal” and is implemented in partnership with Algebra College and offers tools, courses, and advice such as free online digital marketing courses, free tools for collaborating with teams and suppliers using Google Meet and workshops to help people in acquiring relevant digital skills that can help them find a job, advance in a career, or develop a business.
“For micro and small entrepreneurs, digitization of business and the acquisition of appropriate skills is a significant challenge. That is why, in cooperation with Google and Algebra as a workshop provider, we have provided free support to our customers. I would put special emphasis on those who have decided to use our measure of self-employment and start their own entrepreneurial story. We are talking about more than 20,000 users who represent a completely new generation of entrepreneurs who will have to continue their business in the ‘new normal’ in which digital business and digital skills are the basis for business success,” added Dragan Jelić.
The director of the Croatian Employment Service, Ante Lončar, also took part in the presentation of the initiative. As part of the Digital Garage initiative, the CES cooperates with the Ministry of Labor, Pensions, Family and Social Policy, Google, and Algebra by organizing digital marketing workshops aimed at strengthening the country’s current and future workforce with digital skills and helping small and medium-sized enterprises.
“During July and October, the CES included a total of 390 beneficiaries of self-employment support in the workshops, thus allowing them to further improve their business. Since we saw the benefits of the workshops during our participation in the initiative, we decided to expand the target groups for education, and we offered an introductory workshop called Introduction to Digital Marketing to unemployed people and other job seekers who are in the records of the Bureau and want to expand their knowledge,” said Lončar.
The mentioned workshop is currently held once a week in an online form, and since the beginning of its implementation (through November) they have included a total of 560 people. This workshop is still conducted for all interested candidates.
Reducing the digital divide
“As the traditional main drivers of economic growth gradually disappear, the digital economy, whose potential in Croatia has not been fully exploited, is taking on the role of catalyst for economic growth,” said Joško Mrndže, Google’s director for Adriatic region.
Namely, Mrndže says that according to the report of the consulting company McKinsey, with a strong focus on digitization, Croatia has the potential to generate 8.3 billion euros of GDP by 2025 (additional about 2,000 euros of GDP per capita).
“With this in mind, we presented the Grow Croatia with Google initiative as a continuation and expansion of the Digital Skills learning platform, which is part of the Grow with Google program, which we have trained more than 37,000 people since its launch in 2016. Through the Grow with Google initiative, we will accelerate this pace to help 10,000 Croatian citizens and companies find jobs, digitize and grow, and thus participate in reducing the digital divide in Croatia,” concluded Mrndže.
The Grow Croatia with Google initiative was launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family, and Social Policy and the Croatian Employment Service, and under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia.
To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.