Croatia’s New Crop of Entrepreneurs Take New Approach with Diaspora in Australia

Total Croatia News

March 8, 2018 – A new breed of Croatian entrepreneur is reaching out to the diaspora. A press release from Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb.

Ognjen Bagatin is not your average Croatian businessman. He is a non-smoker, presents at TED-talks, prefers a salad lunch to (lamb) and doesn’t believe in ‘greasing’ things along.

Bagatin belongs to the new generation of Croatian entrepreneurs – like Mate Rimac (Rimac automobili), Nenad Bakić (STEM revolucija) and Ivan Mrvoš (Steora Smart Bench) – who have caught the global digital wave and are now making ripples of their own in waters far beyond Croatia’s borders. 

Bagatin will be in Australia next week to promote a new way of doing business with Croatia’s diaspora, primarily in the rapidly growing health and wellness sector.

„We’ve been jogging on the spot for over two decades now and it’s time we change our approach with more than 3.5 million Croatian’s who have migrated from the homeland but are inextricably linked to its destiny, “said Bagatin. 

Bagatin heads Croatia’s leading clinic for beauty and dental care, Bagatin Clinic, employing more than 80 workers. The clinic is a major player in the global medical and health tourism field, winning two international awards last year, including Best International Cosmetic Surgery at the prestigious Medical Travel Summit Conference.

With record numbers of Croatians fleeing the country recently, Bagatin hopes his efforts to put Croatia on the map as a destination for health, beauty and wellness will encourage others to stay, and those already abroad, to return.

„Most of our countrymen fled to rich western countries like the USA, Germany, Canada and Australia, where they embraced democratic, market economic practices that allowed many of them to prosper akin to rags-to-riches fairytales.

„There is so much to learn from our diaspora, so many ideas and habits that we need to export back to Croatia, “he said, underlining the impact Croatia’s diaspora has made to the country’s domestic economy.

„It’s staggering! “he said. „More than $US2 billion per year in foreign receipts and according to some reports, more than $US100 billion in total since 1991, “he added.

Bagatin will be visiting Australia as part of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce delegation, landing in Sydney this Saturday, 9th March. He will also represent the Croatian Diaspora Congress (Hrvatski Iseljenički Kongres), which is holding a conference in Osijek later this year under the theme, „Odlazak – Ostanak – Povratak (Departure – Stay – Return).“

„I want to inspire changes through my example. Bagatin Clinic’s road to success was not accidental. It started after we started adopting contemporary business strategies – investing in education of staff and new technology, particularly marketing trends. “

„We’ve learned from the world’s best teachers and we are transferring this by promoting continued learning in Croatia’s health industry through Bagatin Academy – a series of workshops providing soft-skills training to health sector employees, including, doctors, nurses, managers of clinics.“

Bagatin, father of a newborn son, said his involvement in the Croatian Diaspora Congress and interest in Croatia’s diaspora stemmed from a spike in numbers of foreign patients to his clinic, especially those from diaspora.

„I was pleasantly surprised that our diaspora was visiting us and seeking our health services,“ he said. „It made me think that there must be much more unexplored opportunities out there, to create a bridge, or widen that bridge or make that bridge work both ways.“

He acknowledged that doing business with Croatia is tough and that there were many sour experiences in the past, where people from overseas arrived to invest in their homeland but were treated „like lambs to the slaughter.“

„I am hoping that my example, and the example of the new generation of Croatian business leaders will change the business climate,“ Bagatin said, mentioning meetings he had planned with Australian Croatians who also run medical clinics.

„Perhaps there are synergies that we can work on, where patients who undergo treatment in Croatia, whether cosmetic or dental, are able to continue their care in Australia,“ he said. „ I’m sure there are possibilities, let’s make this a win-win relationship.“


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