Designer Ksenija Vrbanic Named Best Female Entrepreneur in Croatia in 2019

Total Croatia News

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November 6, 2019 – Today, XD Xenia Design products are sold in about thirty countries. Along with Ksenija Vrbanic, this year’s best female entrepreneur laureates are Blaženka Mičević, Ariana Vela and Kata Barišić.

Designer Ksenija Vrbanic, the founder of XD Xenia Design, was named this year’s best female entrepreneur in Croatia. She was presented with the Most Inspiring Female Entrepreneur of the Year award at the fifth Best Female Entrepreneurs in Croatia award ceremony organized by Women in Adria, a network gathering female entrepreneurs and businesswomen.

Although clothing production is an industry that has almost disappeared in Croatia in recent decades, Ksenija Vrbanic has proven that you can succeed with the right mindset, even in the international market. Today, she employs 50 people and exports her products from Ksajpa near Čakovec to 28 countries on five continents.

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This, together with her company’s steady income growth, has earned her the status of the most successful female entrepreneur in Croatia this year.

“We work locally, but think globally. Fashion knows no boundaries, and we were able to prove this with our vision, knowledge and persistence”, said Ksenija Vrbanic, a designer who does not hide how many hardships she has faced on her path to success. She started exporting almost twenty years ago, at a time when Croatia was not a member of the European Union, with only eight employees and no possibility of getting a loan for products intended for export. Despite this, the designer from Međimurje had huge success with her creations in the most prestigious fashion capitals like Paris and New York. She is already recognized on the international fashion scene, and the Most Inspiring Female Entrepreneur of the Year award is her highest national award.

The Women in Adria network bestowed awards in three other categories. Blaženka Mičević, director of Agrodet, was named the Most Promising Female Entrepreneur, and Ariana Vela, consultant and founder of EU Projekti college, was named Female Micro-Entrepreneur of the Year. Kata Barišić, founder of the webshop for creative gifts PokloniMe, who also organised the Zagreb Time Travel tour last year, won the Start-up Potential award. Her innovative service enables tourists to learn about Croatian capital by travelling through time. Thanks to enhanced and virtual reality, historical events and characters are “brought to life”. Kata Barišić now plans to implement this service in Dubrovnik and Rab.

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“This year’s award ceremony for the Best Female Entrepreneurs in Croatia is taking place for the fifth time. In these five years, we have discovered a number of female entrepreneurs who not only have a strong impact now, but are also important for the future of Croatian entrepreneurship and the society as a whole. Their example should be followed – from self-employment to the employment of others, and export. This path, as we heard today, is not easy, but we hope that the state will recognize their efforts and start acting in the common interest, i.e. the one leading to new jobs and development of the economy”, said Ivana Matić, founder of the Women in Adria network.

EU funding specialist Ariana Vela, who was awarded the title of Female Micro-Entrepreneur of the Year, hopes that she will devote herself to the further development of infrastructure projects and the digital transformation of public administration in the coming period. She added that the prerequisite for the latter was for the state to opt for this process.

Surveyor Blaženka Mičević, the newly awarded Most Promising Female Entrepreneur of the Year, became an entrepreneur after leaving the public sector. Three years after this daring decision, she developed a company with seven employees that provides a unique land management service.

“I didn’t want to be a sinecurist, so I decided to build my own business from what frustrated me most at my job. We turned the most common problem of real estate investors, i.e. “you’re missing one paper”, and our expert knowledge and experience into a business”, said Blaženka Mičević.

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The award ceremony for the Best Female Entrepreneurs in Croatia hosted by the Women in Adria network was organized with the support of the Ministry of the Economy.

The partners of the project are Seat, A1, Raiffeisenbank, UniCredit Leasing Croatia, FINA – Financial Agency, Mark Pjetri Jewellery, Intimina and Merkur osiguranje.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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