Touring Croatian emigrant communities, the head of the Split branch office of the CHF found herself unable or not in a position to respond to questions concerning investment and other business-related issues in Croatia. At the Toronto-based Canadian Croatian Chamber of Commerce they came up with the idea of organising an information meeting in Split at which answers could be found for all questions of interest to our emigrants. The idea fell on receptive ears in Split and was accepted by the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Split-Dalmatia County and the City of Split. The meeting was a year in its organisational phase and received the support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in Zagreb and our diplomatic offices around the world.
The conference was held on 5 and 6 October under the moniker Opportunities for Investment in Split-Dalmatia County. Introductory speeches were given by the president of the Chamber of Economy branch in Split-Dalmatia County Jadranka Radovanić, County Prefect Ante Sanader, Deputy Mayor Jure Šundov, advisor at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Hrvoje Ćurko and the head of the Split branch office of the CHF Branka Bezić Filipović.
Branko Ora, an advisor for small and mid sized enterprises in Split-Dalmatia County spoke of investment in commercial and industrial zones. Dijana Jakšić, the head of the administrative affairs department at the Ministry of the Interior’s Split-Dalmatia County Police Department spoke of the Aliens Act. Željka Marić, a coordinator at the Split regional centre of Croatian Government’s Financial Agency (FINA) spoke about setting up a company in Split-Dalmatia County.
Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Ante Sanader spoke convincingly of the steps forward made when it comes to the conditions for investment in this county, which offers land with completed infrastructure for 1 euro under the condition that it be used for the construction of production facilities with precedence given to advanced technologies. The County Prefect guarantees by his signature that the services in county government will issue all papers for the establishment of a company within 60 days, and is willing to pay penalty fees if this period is exceeded. Meetings were held in the frame of the conference between foreign and domestic businesspeople and a tour of the city for those interested. The City of Split hosted all of the participants at a dinner held at the Vila Dalmacija, which was another opportunity for the participants to socialise and getting better acquainted.
Day two of the conference was more informal and included visits to industrial zones in Kukuzovac, Čaporice, Trilj and Dugopolje. The participants were joined by CHF director Marin Knezović. In Dugopolje the participants visited the Analiza Polyclinic, which offers apartments for sale along with its medical facilities, of particular interest to retirees as they would have 24-hour medical assistance on hand in the immediate vicinity of their apartment. The polyclinic’s owner and Mexican honorary consul Marin Bosotina led the participants on a tour of the excellent facilities.
This was the first meeting of its kind in Split, and we hope to organise a second event next year. Some of the interested people were, namely, unable to participate this year for various reasons. Some were unable to acquire visas on time, while others were prevented by other business and meetings. They are, however, still interested in acquiring the information that interests them. These are for the most part Croatians living in South America, to whom we shall dedicate more of our efforts in the future. The packed hall of the Chamber of Economy in Split demonstrated the success of the meeting and that this types of events are a top priority among our emigrant communities.
Text by: Branka Bezić-Filipović