Gaming Evolution in Croatia – Construction of Campus in Novska

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/Lidija Kiseljak/ writes on the 27th of August, 2020, the Sisak-Moslavina County Development Agency is the holder of the PISMO (letter) project, the establishment of the business incubator in Novska, with partners in the Sisak-Moslavina County project and the Zagreb Development Agency. The value of the project stands at 20,293,944.35 kuna (with EU support amounting to 19,938,127.84 kuna), and it lasted from the 1st of September 2017 to the 1st of September 2019.

In the selection for the best county project, this one, based in Novska, entered the finals in the Contribution to Entrepreneurship category.

The Novska business incubator has gained an enormous level of popularity in just a short time and Novska has become a regional centre for the development of video games in the fastest growing industry, which earns billions worldwide. That is why the plans are expanding and moving towards the establishment of a campus for the PISMO gaming industry, which will include a faculty, accommodation for pupils and students, a gaming industry accelerator and an business incubator for eSport. Thus, the already completed phases of the development of the facility will be further supplemented.

In the first phase of the Novska-based project, free English language lessons were provided for all children in kindergartens in the county. The second phase regarded workshops for primary and secondary schools on software tools used to create video games, while the third phase is the business incubator itself. In the fourth phase, the introduction of the high school profession of ”video game development technician”, will take place, while in the fifth comes financial support for new startups that are established.

The Croatian Employment Service also joined in with the project, making special measures only for PISMO, so it pays the minimum Croatian salary and travel expenses to all those who decide to come to Novska from all parts of Croatia for training for six months.

Startups, founded by young developers who complete their high school or education as part of the incubator receive incentives from the CES to start a business in the amount of up to 100,000 kuna, Novska gives them 20,000 kuna, and Sisak-Moslavina County provides them with 35,000 kuna.

There are 33 startups operating within the business incubator, more than originally expected, because more and more participants in education in Novska remain in established startups. On top of that, twelve brand new companies will open soon.

The director of the Development Agency, Mario Celan, believes that a large number of game development startups from other parts of Croatia will move to Novska thanks to this aid. A measure intended for small and medium-sized companies from the gaming sector in the amount of 50,000,000 kuna, which is being prepared by the Ministry of the Economy, is also being prepared.

The establishment of the Novska business incubator was initially aimed at enabling entrepreneurs to do business and create new jobs in an easier and more efficient way, to encourage as many of them as possible to establish companies, ie startups, and thus contribute to strengthening entrepreneurship in Novska and Sisak-Moslavina. That’s precisely what happened.

Since its inception, PISMO has provided an opportunity for many people to enter the fastest growing industry in the world, so it isn’t surprising that an increasing number of unemployed people from all over Croatia are coming to Novska for their six months of training. In addition to education, where a large number of participants are learning how to create video games, the PISMO incubator also offers access to the latest technology and equipment for creating computer games, financial support for self-employment and beginning with your very own startup.

From the modern technology to which they have access, there is also VR equipment, a music studio, video recording equipment, a conference hall and much more.

Strategic investments

In addition to its own education, the incubator is actively cooperating with the local Sisak Technical School, and from September onwards, it will also cooperate with the high school in Novska.

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