The conference “Entrepreneurship Centers for the Improvement of the Economy” marked the completion of the project and the opening of the newly renovated Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in which over HRK 5 million was invested to create space to support future entrepreneurs. With a ceremonial ribbon cutting, the CIP was opened by WBAF Senator and PAR Dean, Gordana Nikolić.
(WBAF Croatia Country Office) Young entrepreneurs are offered the opportunity to use office space, IT equipment and software in which they do not have to invest their own funds at the beginning of their business.
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is an entrepreneurial support institution (PPI) created from the experience of its founder, PAR University College, an institution that bases its educational curriculum on the successful cooperation between education and the economy.
In 2018, CIP signed a grant agreement with the Ministry of the Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts and the Central Agency for Financing and Contracting of EU Projects for the project Development of Innovation and Entrepreneurship through the Entrepreneurship Center CIP, reference code KK.03.1.2.01.0049
The contract is worth EUR 700.908,73 of which the eligible costs are EUR 664.610,33 and the grant awarded from the European Regional Development Fund amounts to EUR 624.316,05. The implementation of the project lasted from April 2018 to July 2020 and included reconstruction and modernization of the infrastructure (roof and interior design), equipping the infrastructure and introducing information systems and improving business processes.
The goal of the project is through the development of functional entrepreneurial infrastructure to provide all small businesses with comprehensive business support through a modernized and equipped business center in the center of Rijeka.
“In our region, there are several incubators, accelerators, PPIs that deal with supporting SMEs on the path of their development, either by providing business premises or through education and training.
The advantage of this center is that it operates within the PAR Group, where lecturers of PAR University College through the courses of entrepreneurship, finance, business management and also through their experience and practical knowledge additionally help young entrepreneurs to create business plans, investment studies and who also help them with applications or partnerships related to the calls for EU projects”, explained Jadranka Andrić Maravić, a project manager.
The Municipium building dates from the 18th century and adapting it to today’s construction standards and performing any construction work requires large costs. Bringing the building and its interior to this stage in which it is now, when the CIP is a modernized and arranged center, is much more than just the money spent.
For that, one needs to have the courage and style that is evident in every part of it and every room, as it was pointed out at the opening ceremony.
WBAF Croatia, which was named the best WBAF office in 2019 at this year’s World Investment Forum of Business Angels in Istanbul, Turkey in February 2020 and was awarded a special award – World Excellence Award, took part in the conference “Entrepreneurship Centers for the Improvement of the Economy”.
WBAF or World Business Angels Investment Forum is an international organization that brings together private investors – individuals and organizations from around the world, who help start-up entrepreneurs in the development of their companies through their experience, mentoring, but also financially.
Dean of the PAR University College from Rijeka, Gordana Nikolić, PhD, as the Croatian Senator of the WBAF, pointed out at the conference:
“Developing as an entrepreneurial higher education institution, by launching one of the first student incubators in Croatia, from the very beginning we recognized the importance of developing entrepreneurial thinking and supporting start-up ideas. Many years of experience in organizing the PAR Entrepreneurship Camp, as well as active participation in the development of the start-up community prompted us to open the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In the work of entrepreneurial support institutions, access to financing opportunities or investments in the initial phase is certainly an important factor. WBAF Croatia has opened the possibility of easier access to financing and the arrival of investments, as well as business angels from various parts of the world” explained Dean and Senator Nikolić.
WBAF Croatia is an active partner in all start-up activities of the educational group PAR, which in its work encourages entrepreneurial learning at various levels. By providing quality education, they open up opportunities for the start-up community and, through mentoring, help on the path from idea development to realization.