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New opportunities for financing Croatian startups, and Small and Medium sized Enterprises

New opportunities for financing Croatian startups, and Small and Medium sized Enterprises

Algebra LAB and The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) organized a webinar on financing innovative solutions for startups and small and medium enterprises. The webinar was moderated by Leo Mršić, Vice Dean for Science and Research at the University of Algebra, which hosts the oldest and most exciting incubator program for new startup entrepreneurs! The introductory remarks were made by Ms. Victoria Zinchuk, Director of EBRD in Croatia.

The webinar, held on December 21, 2021, was attended by Victoria Zinchuk - Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Croatia, Zoltan Hopka - EBRD investor, Ognjan Despot, new regional manager for Central and Eastern Europe for Funderbeam SEE and Višnja Mrakovčić Supek - Executive Director of Finance and Development of Small and Medium Enterprises at EBRD Croatia. The webinar was attended by more than 75 participants who had the opportunity to learn about the possibilities of developing their own innovations with the help of EBRD and Funderbeam funding.

The session was opened by Ms. Zinchuk, emphasizing that this webinar is the first in a series of planned projects to work with local Croatian incubators and accelerators. After the introduction, Mr. Hopka continued with an intensive analysis of the EBRD's investments in innovative technologies in Croatia. He pointed out that 83% of the projects in which EBRD invested recorded an increase in turnover and that the digital technology industry is key to the development of the local market and its expansion towards the global market. Mr. Hopka cited examples of EBRD investments, such as investments in the Polish company, whose platform is currently used by more than 2 million active physicians per month to make it easier to keep records of patient visits. Patients use the platform to easily and digitally book medical visits.

Mr. Hopka pointed out that thanks to EBRD support, small and medium-sized enterprises could gain access to information about the current situation of a particular technology sector in the global market. EBRD provides support by transferring knowledge of business models, providing business advice and providing guidance on employment. The relationship between EMRD and the companies in which it invests lasts from 7 to 9 years. It takes so much time to succeed, which is why the relationship between SMEs and the EBRD is a long-term strategy.

Mr. Despot began his speech by noting that Funderbeam is currently, through a circle of key investors, financing investments worth 120 million euros, with a financing platform of 28,000 verified investors. It is important to note that Funderbeam itself was launched with the help of EBRD, which shows how the technology market develops successfully when properly supported. Funderbeam next year wants to encourage investors to move away from static sources of capital such as real estate and turn to crowdfunding.

Ms. Mrakovčić Supek concluded the webinar by emphasizing that EBRD intends to conduct a series of workshops known as the Strategic Compass in cooperation with the University of Cambridge. The goal of this activity is to help startups with high potential to get a quality business development plan during intensive multi-day workshops. Ms. Zinchuk stressed that in the new year, EBRD will invite speakers from Taiwan and other highly developed startup sectors to share examples of good practice with Croatian startups.

Because technological innovators are so crucial for growth Algebra is proud to support entrepreneurs, as well as 14th generation of LAB startup incubator, that also joined this interesting webinar!