Entrepreneurial Mindset: Meet the Speakers – Matija Zulj

Total Croatia News

Continuing our look at the speakers for this week’s inaugural Entrepreneurial Mindset conference in Zagreb on September 12, 2019. Next up, Matija Zulj from Agrivi.

It quickly sold out and there is a waiting list of hundreds should tickets become available. This week’s Entrepreneurial Mindset conference in Zagreb is the first of its kind in Croatia, and it includes a top draw list of speakers, several of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country.  TCN will be covering the event and we continue our series interviewing some of the key speakers. Our latest guest is Matija Zulj, the CEO and founder of Agrivi – a global farm management software company with a vision to change the way food is produced, positively impacting over a billion lives. Agrivi is one of the key global leaders in the industry – recognized by over 30 major industry market research companies and trusted by 40.000+ customers worldwide.

1. As a Brit, I notice that entrepreneurs are not embraced and supported as much in Croatia as they are in countries with a longer capitalist tradition. How does it feel being an entrepreneur here, and how did you decide to embark on this road less travelled?

Good ideas can be born anywhere in the world, and they are not fenced with the territory. Developing ideas and setting up goals does need a good environment, but each environment has its challenges. It is always great to think about learning points along the way and start doing, rather than just count barriers we see, or we have only heard about. When a person knows what are the dreams and wants to persuade them, one does not think how hard it will be, but put the right focus on the long-term vision and starts doing it day-by-day.

2. How would you compare the perception of an entrepreneur in Croatia to one in Germany or the USA, for example?

Starting points for entrepreneurs are quite different if we do compare these countries. The territory of Germany and the USA are big enough markets for any entrepreneur to check how valid the business model is and they can set operations focus only to that market to be successful. Croatia is a small country, so our entrepreneurs mostly think internationally to have a successful business. The big difference can be also seen in the number of funds that are allocated for entrepreneurs in countries and how easy/hard is possible to get it. 

The existing eco-system is more ready to work closely and give more opportunities to startups in Germany and the USA. All these differences are here, maybe it looks harder in Croatia, but that has its charm and how much you can learn along the way.

3. Tell us about your entrepreneurial experience so far in Croatia – the highlights, the lows, the successes and the failures.

In Croatia, we have a lot of talented and inspirational people with an enormous passion for making this world a better place who will not find excuses, but rather make better opportunities with doing business. I think that is the best advantage for Croatia, you can easily get surrounded yourself with this kind of people who will keep you motivated even when it is hard. I do believe every entrepreneur anywhere focuses on positive things. Entrepreneurs create and set the climate and business area they like and believe it will make a positive impact on society. It is essential entrepreneurs take responsibility for their business and what values they set and which impact their business have in the environment it is operating.   

4. What are your hopes for the conference and why did you decide to accept the invitation to speak?

The conference has a great purpose – to tell stories about entrepreneurship from the perspective of entrepreneurs. It is always great to be surrounded with mind-liked people, so I look forward to sharing and exchanging thoughts and experience with other entrepreneurs, no matter in which area they are operating, we have so much to learn from each other. I believe it is our responsibility as entrepreneurs to share our journey with each other and people who are thinking to take this career path to encourage them, and even students who are future entrepreneurs, simply to create a better environment for all of us.  

5. Tell us a little about your own entrepreneurial mindset.

I always wanted to do something that will help others to have a better place to live in, that is why I have decided to pursue an entrepreneurial path and create a company that tackles one of the biggest global challenges. I believe it is important to surround yourself with great people and big talents, give them opportunities and learn from them. Mistakes will happen, failures will happen and it will happen a lot, so it is important to focus on learning points, rather than overthink situations why it happened. 

The focus should be on daily execution with always knowing how it will help in achieving set goals. Share experiences, listen to other entrepreneurial paths that can only help in avoiding mistakes, making decisions and be quicker. Always remind yourself to enjoy the journey, no matter how hard or good it is in a single moment.

6. Instilling an entrepreneurial mindset into a society which has grown up with socialism will take some time and effort. What is the roadmap to achieve this? 

We need to celebrate the successes of all entrepreneurs in the environment and encourage them along the way. Successes can be achieved, and those who get there should share experience and mentor new entrepreneurs.

7. What advice would you have for someone in Croatia thinking about taking the entrepreneurial route?

Don’t think, just start and enjoy the ride. It will be the best journey of your life.

8. Andrija Colak once told me that the best thing about doing business in Croatia is that if you can succeed here, you can succeed anywhere in the world. Do you agree, and why is it so hard to do business in Croatia? 

Talking from the point of view of the small market with a specific history it surely represents a tougher challenge than starting on another market where all the environment has been set and runs smoothly. Challenges should be a great motivator for doing something new and good rather than something that will stop you from trying and doing.

9. How do you see the entrepreneurial scene in Croatia, and what changes have you noticed in the last ten years? 

It is a great inspiration to see great companies in Croatia that have become true role models for other entrepreneurs. We could always look at how Infobip and Rimac Automobili did it, so if they can do great business here, we should find motivation in their success.

10. Three things you would like to see to help entrepreneurs in Croatia.  

This is what I see as encouragement for entrepreneurs:

·       Changing the mindset: celebrating failures as learning points & successes as encouraging points.

·       Digitalization of administration: simpler and faster for running business operations.

·       Sharing success entrepreneurial stories: creating more conferences, meetups and set an easy environment for talking about the entrepreneurial journey.

More info on the conference can be found at www.poduzetnickimindset.biz and FB Casopis poduzetnik.

You can connect with Matija Zulj on LinkedIn.


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