Young Founder Of Startup Describes Nerve Breaking Process Of Opening A Company In Croatia In Public Message To Government

Lauren Simmonds

Ridiculous redtape and the apparent objection to progress highlights the problematic Cult of the Uhljeb once again, this time in the form of a touching, sad and infuriating message left on the Croatian government’s Facebook page.

As reported, a Facebook post which publicly highlighted the unnecessarily bureaucracy filled process of opening a company in Croatia drew considerable attention from social media users and has struck a chord with many.

Matija Srbic, the victim, is a young engineer and the creator of the interesting startup ”Juvo – Home Friend” based on an idea which came to him during his time at university. The startup looks into the development of smart sensors which inform parents when their young child (or children) ventures into less secure parts of the home which could present them with potential harm, such as kitchens or balconies.

He wrote on the official Facebook page of the Government of the Republic of Croatia that he had graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in July 2016 with great praise (Magna cum laude), which means he is among the best 5% of his generation. He went on to describe the numerous awards and accolades he had received while attending the faculty as well as stating his experience working at Croatian Telecom and as a web developer for two years.

Matija continues…

”During my final year at the faculty I began the “Juvo – Home Friend” startup with the idea of ​​developing smart sensors that inform parents when their child goes to less secure parts of the home like a kitchen or a balcony. Reading the information on the opening of the company on, I was keen. You reserve the name electronically, then comes a three day legal deadline (regarding the checking of the company name), then registration at the Court of Commerce within 24 hours. Although outside (of Croatia) a company can be opened via the internet in several hours, going off the experience of colleagues who opened a company in Croatia in a week sounded perfect… just perfect. I made the (name) reservation at about 14:00 on Wednesday, and given that the legal deadline is three days, I was expecting a call on Monday. The following Wednesday rolled around and I still had not received any information so I went back to the office. They told me that it still wasn’t resolved. On Thursday at around 15:30 I received information informing me that both names had been rejected. The first name (Juvo) was rejected because it does not form a meaningful whole. Expected. The second name (Home Guardians) which is the same name we used at a Microsoft contest, was rejected because the word ”guardian” could be used in the context of guardian angel and anything to do with the church is refused.”

Is this ridiculous enough for you yet? No? Read on, Matija’s tale isn’t quite over yet…

”The public notary sent the documentation to the court electronically and the legal deadline (according to the information from the site for delivery of a solution is 24 hours. I received a call from the public notary after three days giving me information that certain activities had been rejected. Although we chose the same activities which were approved for a startup in a similar situation a couple of months ago, four of our activities were rejected. We submitted changes and within three days we received the court decision that the company had been registered in the court register. Immediately afterwards, I went to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics and filled out the RPS-1 form. An hour later, I went to pick up the NKD classification decision that I needed to open a transaction account at the bank. The wrong address was written on the solution, instead of “Petraciceva 4”, “Petraceviceva 4″ was written. I checked the RPS-1 form to make sure I had not written it wrong. I entered the address correctly, but the employee had copied the address from the court’s decision.”

Matija, who clearly has the patience of a saint, (hopefully I am allowed to use that word) went on to state some of the main, impossibly frustrating and senseless issues he had faced.

”This adventure is far from over, I’ve spent three weeks opening the company and I expect at least two more. During this process, I noticed so much illogicality, but I will only mention a few things:

The limitation that a company name has to be in one of the (official) European Union languages ​​does not make much sense because the name of the company can be a fictitious word that has a specific explanation. You can see countless companies in the Republic of Croatia who have names which are not even close to the name they brand on, precisely because of these constraints.

The ”electronic” opening of a company does not exist. Everyone could send the necessary documentation via the internet. Going to the office and sitting next to an employee while she completes the application that she will send by email anyway is not opening the company electronically.

Filling in the RSP-1 form for the Central Bureau of Statistics does not make any sense. The employee records all the information from the court’s decision and just asks what your main activity will be.”

He concluded his rage inducing message to the Croatian government by saying: “As everyone in Croatia loves to boast about our startups, innovations and smart people, it would be time for them to listen to them at least once, and to make it as easy as possible for them to invest their time and energy in something they like, something that already does or will make it easier to facilitate and improve the lives of many in the near future will at the same time help the community by opening up new jobs. Do this, please, before everyone is gone.”

As Matija quite rightly states: Something simply must be done, and soon. When a country sees more and more of its residents flocking to Germany, the United Kingdom and other let us very subjectively say ”more successful” European countries which can not only provide a better way of life, but much more ease and proper diplomacy when it comes to setting up businesses and actually succeeding – one would assume a wake up call would come. It seems it has not yet arrived, probably because it got lost in the post. 

To laugh or to cry? Maybe both, in any case, tears are involved. In a country which has given the world such talent in all fields, it is high time the process for growth is made much, much easier, let us be honest, it couldn’t really be much more difficult or confusing. Such utterly draconian, ridiculous, mind-bending and laughable laws and regulations and waiting times should be scrapped, and as soon as possible. Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, it is time public, government and legal institutions started acting like they belong to a forward-thinking and responsible member state and not a backwater. Continuing on this way will only see more and more talented, driven individuals like Matija be forced to look elsewhere and the current brain drain facing the country will only get worse.

We wish the absolute best of luck to Matija Srbic in this and in all of his future endeavours.



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