Entrepreneurial Mindset 2020 Conference Speakers: Meet Ognjen Bagatin

Total Croatia News

September 6, 2020 – The second Poduzetnik Mindset (Entrepreneurial Mindset) conference takes place online on September 10. Continuing our look at the speakers, co-organizer and Mr Positive, Ognjen Bagatin.  

There has not been a lot to smile about for most people in 2020, and that is certainly true if you are a Zagreb-based entrepreneur. The double whammy of corona affecting business and an earthquake damaging your home and business would be more than enough to wipe the smile from anyone’s face, but not Croatia’s Mr Positive, Ognjen Bagatin. 

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(Ognjen Bagatin with his Berlin award)

A trailblazer in the global medical tourism industry (his Bagatin Clinic was named International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year 2019 in December at the International Medical Travel Awards in Berlin), and a passionate promoter of Croatia 2.0 and stronger business links with the diaspora, Bagatin is one of the co-organizers of the excellent Poduzetnik Mindset conference, which will have its second edition on September 10 in Zagreb and be broadcast online. Bagatin is also speaking at the event and offered some thoughts on the progress of the entrepreneurial scene and changing mindset in this TCN interview.

The second Entrepreneurial Mindset conference takes place on September 10, following last year’s successful gathering. How has the entrepreneurial scene changed in Croatia in the last 12 months?

Although it seems like we are moving slowly, I think in the last 12 months there has been movement in having more and more entrepreneurial stories in the media. We have a new show on TV called Entrepreneurial Mindset, in partnership with EY Croatia on N1 Television. This is becoming very popular because we share great stories and amazing entrepreneurs who are changing the world for the better.

Through our media platform, we have met and talked to hundreds of amazing and successful entrepreneurs and have seen the better side of Croatia and our purpose is to share their stories to the public so they will inspire more and more young and old to go and chase their entrepreneurial dreams.

With corona coming, entrepreneurs had a tough time dealing with this issue, but they will come out of this stronger and more connected among each other…

The things are changing, I see so many examples of excellence, and the next step is to grow that community so that it can bring positive change for the Croatian economy.

Corona has obviously affected your plans considerably. Tell us about this year’s conference and some of the key presentations. 

Indeed, but that didn`t ruin our plans to organize it anyway… We had planned this conference to be in Concert Hall Vatroslav Lisinski for 1800 people, but corona has ensured that even more people will listen to our speakers speak.. We have more than 3000 applications at this moment and our proud that this content is very popular and that we are helping these great speakers become new role models for others.

This year we will have great speakers and it is very hard to underline just a couple, so I will mention them all because EY Croatia and Poduzetnik team have picked them carefully just for you.

So this year, our audience will have an opportunity to hear an amazing sessions from successful and experienced entrepreneurs , and here is the list: Joe Bašić, founder and director of MPG South East Europe, organizer and promoter of Ultra Europe ; Paul Bradbury, owner and founder of Total Croatia News; Bernarda Cecelja, member of the board at Bernarda d.o.o.; Saša Cvetojević, owner of MBE Adriatic; Jan de Jong, director of Webpower Adria; Ivan Franičević, president of the board at RASCO; Ana Hanžeković, member of the board at Hanza media; Jasminka Horvat Martinović, president of the board at Wiener osiguranja VIG; Korado Korlević, croatian scientist and astronomer, head of Zvjezdarnice Višnjan; Ana Lisak, director at Catering Lisak; Orlando Lopac, director at OrlandoFit; Zoran Mamić, president of supervisory board at TOMMY; Mate Rimac, founder and CEO at Rimac automobili i Greyp bikes, Manny Stul, CEO tof Moose toys, Emil Tedeschi, president of the board at Atlantic grupe; Boris Trupčević, director at 24sata; Ana Volk, member of supervisory board at Sunce hoteli d.d.; Ksenija Vrbanić, owner of Xenia Design and others…

One of the nicest touches last year was to have the front row filled not with politicians but high school students with entrepreneurial minds. You then organized other events for the younger generation. Tell us about that, and the levels of interest from the students. 

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Yes, our goal for this year is to inspire our students in 4 different cites (Osijek, Zagreb, Rijeka and Split), but due to corona, our plans were canceled, and instead, we organized Enterpreneurial mindset for students and young people with the goal of promoting entrepreneurial values among them. We had in our live event 1200 students listening to our conference from 7 different countries and 35 different Universities and schools. This was a big win for all of us, because this is proof that young people and students are considering entrepreneurship and are looking for inspiration from successful entrepreneurs.

We will definitely continue with these kinds of events and help inspire and support hundreds and thousands of new young entrepreneurs and professionals who will stay in Croatia and help us build a great economy here.

The entrepreneurial eco-system seems to be getting stronger in Croatia, and the Glas Poduzetnika association is a great focal point. Tell us about that eco-system, as well as the areas you see the biggest opportunities for change. 

I will reflect on that every crisis is an opportunity, and corona has brought us a major crisis. But in that crisis, new communities have grown such as Glas Poduzetnika, and I think this is now a turning point for Croatia to put the focus on the economy and how to grow it, how to attract more investment, have to export more, how to grow our GDP in the next 5-10 years, and find some higher purpose for all of us that will unite us (like the famous World Cup in 2018.) 

We need a powerful vision of Croatia in 2030. and a mission that will drive us forward.. I think doubling our GDP per capita in the next 5-10 years is a very powerful vision, and then we find leaders and doers who will help us achieve it.

Jan de Jong’s campaign for a digital nomad visa has shown spectacular results, and this will be a great thing for Croatia. How significant is this in your opinion, and how do we take full advantage? 

I think it is amazing, and I have heard about that idea last year at an MBA Croatia conference from Andreas Gerdes. Then it was just an idea, and now, with brilliant Jan de Jong spreading the word and helping the government look at the opportunities of this niche we are getting into. This will, together with the student visa (referring to Hrvoje Balen from Algebra), be a new era of tourism in Croatia and all year round.

We need these niches to bring us more opportunities and brainpower from all over the world. I think this is just the beginning and beg our government to speed the law policy issues so we can launch it next year as only the second country in Europe..

We will take full advantage by opening up for professionals from all over the world, not just foreign, but also our diaspora, because this could motivate them as well to return home.. The good thing, everything is in our hands, and I beg our government to not „drop the ball“ this time and go from talking to realizing this idea.

The conference is called Entrepreneurial Mindset. Why is the mindset so important here in Croatia, and how do we change it? 

With this conference we are promoting new values like vision, courage, innovation, creation, growing through mistakes, never giving up, taking responsibility, cooperation, celebrating others success and so on, and this is kind of values and mindset is what we want to be mainstream in the years ahead.

We want to open the eyes of people and make them aware that opportunities are everywhere and we bring them people that have succeeded in Croatia, that are willing to share their stories and help others grow. We will succeed only when we start to appreciate others’ success as our own, because the more people who succeed in Croatia, the easier it will be for the rest of us to succeed.

Our young families are moving abroad in search of happiness and we want to show them it can be here if we all have a common goal like doubling our GDP per capita in 5-10 years..

You are the pioneer in medical tourism for Croatia, an industry with huge potential. Where are things at the moment, and what needs to happen to push things forward?

This was supposed to be the best year ever for medical tourism, but… 

Things started rolling after lockdown but not in the numbers we all wanted, but this is just temporary, next year there will be new opportunities for our healing spas, clinics, hospitals, and medical wellnesses. Especially because we as a sector must have a chance to be able to apply to new EU funds 2021-2027.

If we want to grow as a country economically then this is a niche we need to be not among the best, but the best. We have great private health and dental institutions that are doing an amazing job, and now we need to bring some new investment in this sector.

The health sector needs to work together and create a whole eco-system that supports this industry, from schools, to EU funds, positioning Croatia as a hub for health tourism and taking advantage of digitalization of our processes inside of our health institution. If we work on that and have government support (not just oral support), then we can make this happen.

I personally will do everything I can to make sure Croatia is one of the leading countries for health and medical tourism in Europe.


To learn more about the virtual Poduzetnik Mindset 2020 conference on September 10 – and to register – visit the official website.  


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