A small town in northern Croatia shows that business climate can be improved.
Unfavourable economic and entrepreneurial climate in Croatia encouraged the small town of Ivanec in northern Croatia to create a framework for a modern policy that supports entrepreneurship and helps industry to be ready to face new challenges, in particular the growing competition. It has therefore introduced policies that offer the best environment to maintain and develop a strong, competitive and diversified economy, reports Poslovni.hr on October 19, 2016.
One of the ideas was to establish the Project Office of the Town of Ivanec. The idea for the Office came about during a meeting of the Ivanec Business Club, where entrepreneurs expressed the need for an institution which will provide services of business consulting, providing information, and drafting and writing of projects for EU funds and national funding programmes. The town authorities therefore established the Project Office, which helps local entrepreneurs to find new ways to receive grants and favourable loans that improve their business operations. The project directly helps local entrepreneurs, tradesmen and family farms, since their plans for development, new investments and expansion can be submitted to tenders through the Office.
The new investments create new jobs and protect existing ones, which contributes to improving the business climate, and thus creating a better economic and social situation in the community. The project has attracted great interest from within the business sector. All this contributed to the branding of the Town of Ivanec as an attractive environment for potential investors, which increases employment and improves the living standards. Thus, Ivanec found itself on the Financial Times’ list of European towns under 100,000 inhabitants which they recommend as preferred investment destinations.
Great interest of entrepreneurs for services of the Office was demonstrated by a survey of the business community, in which 94 percent of respondents said that getting free consulting services prompted them to apply to tenders and public competitions.
“The praise from the Financial Times, which ranked Ivanec as one of the top 10 small towns in Europe with the best strategies for encouraging foreign direct investments, demonstrates that the town administration continues to implement successful projects that are beyond the usual standards and practices of local government. Our Office will continue with its activities in 2017 as well. Next year, the funds for the activities of the Office will be provided on the market, which means by fees collected from users of services. However, since the work of the Office is partially subsidized by the Town of Ivanec, certain services to entrepreneurs will be offered at lower prices than those which are offered by specialized agencies which exist on the market. With this project, the town has achieved two goals: it alleviated the problem of the unemployment of young people under 29 years of age, who belong to one of the most vulnerable target groups and, at the same time, we helped entrepreneurs take part in the process of applying with their projects to national and EU funds. This project directly helps the economy, encourages re-industrialization and job creation”, said Milorad Batinić, the Mayor of Ivanec.