Croatian SIMORA Wins Award, Announces 50 Million Euro Investment

Lauren Simmonds

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“The concept you came up with in Croatia related to the gaming industry is brilliant, and it should be followed!” was an important message stated as the Croatian SIMORA accepted the award for the best European development agency in 2020 from the president of the European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA), Roberta DallOlio. At the same time, this is the first award to have ever gone to a Croatian agency.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, at the online award ceremony, the award was accepted from the PISMO business incubator by the director of the Croatian SIMORA, Mario Celan, who has since announced an investment worth 50 million euros in the Campus gaming industry. It regards a project that has gone through all of the necessary procedures, he explained, and is now facing a decision at the next session of the Croatian Government regarding funding from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

“The new project is coming as the second step in our development, and it’s so big that it will, in fact, make us, its initiators, even bigger and more recognisable in the upcoming period in terms of encouraging entrepreneurial activities in IT and new generations,” announced Celan.

In his review of the award for 2020, he pointed out the following: “We’d remember the year 2020 as the coronavirus-dominated year in which we were destroyed by the earthquake, but for SIMORA, we’re going to remember it as the year in which we were the best.”

After renovating and equipping two abandoned buildings in Novska with European Union money, they opened their doors to the very first startups, and today there are as many as 49 of them present there, Celan noted, who are busy creating video games in one of the most modern places in all of Europe before sending them out to the global market.

“But before entering the world of entrepreneurship, we educate the people who come here on how to go about things. At the same time, we provide the youngest children in kindergartens with free English language lessons, we educate primary school students about the world of video games from the point of view of the manufacturers, while we also invented a new high school course for high school students. We offered six-month training sessions to unemployed people, so they can learn the basics of programming and graphic processing and they receive a salary for all of those six months, after which the student is ready to make a video game on their own. More than 150 people from all over Croatia have undergone such training,” pointed out Celan, adding that startups that come to their incubator have offices at their disposal, as well as various machines.

According to him, such advanced technology transformed Sisak-Moslavina County into a modern region, thus becoming the centre of the Croatian gaming industry, while the award received by the Croatian SIMORA actually rewarded “the way of developing the region and employing young people, educating them in creating video games, offering them mentoring in order to make it as easy as possible for them to enter entrepreneurial waters, providing them with support to their start-ups and to enabling them to use state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in the PISMO business incubator,”

During the same online ceremony, the work of three agencies, two from Spain and one from Turkey, were also praised for the practices they have introduced in their own respective regions, and a round table was held.

For more on Croatian innovation, check out Made in Croatia.


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