ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 – Karlovac-based arms manufacturer HS Product was voted best large company by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and was presented with the Zlatna Kuna (Golden Marten) Award at a ceremony in Zagreb on Wednesday evening.
The award-giving ceremony brought together many business people and public and political figures, including President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić, Economy Minister Darko Horvat, Zagreb University Rector Damir Boras, former President of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Zvonko Kusić, representative of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Branko Bačić and Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Olivera Majić.
HS Produkt CEO Željko Pavlin said that the company generates 98 percent of its revenue from exports and innovates its own products. That’s why this award belongs to the company’s engineers and to all of its employees, he added.
Passenger and charter cargo airline Trade Air received the Zlatna Kuna Award as best medium-size company, while the award for best small company went to IT consulting firm Kod Savjetovanje.
Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ) was voted best bank and Croatia Osiguranje best insurance company.
The Microblink computer vision technology company was awarded for innovation, while Photomath, whose mobile application for solving mathematical problems has been downloaded more than 100 million times, was voted best post-startup company.
The lifetime achievement award went to Franco Palma, a prominent professional in the tourist industry.
Zlatna kuna – Grabar-Kitarović: We need more determination, proactivity and optimism
President Grabar-Kitarović said that the event is important for acknowledging those at the forefront of the country’s economic development.
As an indicator of the success of Croatian companies, she said that last year they increased the number of employees by 5.8 percent and overall revenues by 9.5 percent, generating a total of 21.9 billion kuna in net profit. She said that Croatian entrepreneurs have proved for decades that they can be successful in all business circumstances and cope with different challenges.
“Just as we recognise these qualities of yours and celebrate your achievements, so we respect the fundamental values and principles that you represent, those being innovativeness, creativity, hard work, commitment, persistence, competence, the values that are deeply rooted in the fabric of the Croatian people,” the president said.
She said that she is a great optimist because she knows that Croatia can advance in improving its economy and stand side by side with those countries that are now more developed than it.
“We are wise and smart enough, but we need more determination, proactivity and optimism. My vision of Croatia as a prosperous and functioning state, a competitive economy in which we all work together for the general good and for the wellbeing of every person, remains unchanged and I am ready, in accordance with my powers, to contribute to these goals,” Grabar-Kitarović said.
Zlatna kuna – Plenković underlines importance of ICT sector
Prime Minister Plenković said the government based all its economic activities in order to support entrepreneurs and business people and that they rested on fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and attracting investment. “Only in that way can we ensure lasting and sustainable economic growth… and keep up with what we call the foundation of the fourth industrial revolution, i.e. innovation, digitisation and competitiveness.”
Plenković said last year’s surplus of 3.15 billion kuna showed that the government had planned expenditures and revenues wisely, and that the 1.6 billion kuna surplus in the first half of this year showed that it had continued to do so with the same intensity.
He said the three rounds of the tax reform would relieve the business sector and citizens by 6.3 billion kuna, announcing that the tax relief would continue next year and that businesses would feel it.
Plenković said the digitisation of public administration and the judiciary would continue, and that a new public procurement law would result in more transparent and faster procedures.
He said the government measures had reduced the number of indebted citizens with frozen bank accounts by over 50,000, and that a pension reform was expected to make the system sustainable and more fair and raise pensions.
Speaking of investments, Plenković said this year they reached a record high of 2 billion euro, including 1 billion euro in tourism. He added that tourism must not be the only growing industry and that ICT was a sector in which new steps forward must be made to catch up with the companies and countries at the forefront of global trends.
HGK president Luka Burilović said the digital age had changed communication, doing business and lives, but that he did not agree with announcements that artificial intelligence and robots would take over people’s roles. “It’s true that the digital transformation will profile the winners and the losers, and which side we will be on depends less on governments and luck and more on us and our ability to accept changes. It’s up to us to be their active creator and not a passive observer,” he said.
We must decide whether we want to be a country with a rentier economy which loses its population or if we will focus on new technologies, excellence, innovation and quality jobs, he added.
For more on the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, click here.