Google launched the Grow Croatia with Google initiative with the aim of contributing to the recovery and further development of Croatian economy, as well as speeding up the digital transformation and thus providing an efficient response to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, the Croatian Employment Service and under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Croatia, the Google initiative aims at speeding up the economic recovery and development through the use of technologies, tools, education and counsel that will help local companies, communities and people become stronger and more resilient by the end of 2021.
Dragan Jelić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor, pointed out that the aim is to jumpstart the digitalization of the Croatian economy, a process of transformation that has taken up additional speed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jelić stated: “For micro and small entrepreneurs, the digitalization of business and the acquisition of appropriate skills represents a significant challenge. That is why, in cooperation with Google and Algebra as the workshop provider, we have provided free support to our users. We are talking about more than 20,000 users who represent a completely new generation of entrepreneurs who will continue doing business in the "new normal", where digital business and digital skills are the basis for success. “
Ante Lončar, Head of the Croatian Employment Service, also took part in the launching of the initiative, stating that the Croatian Employment Service has participated in the Digital Garage project with the Ministry of Labor, Google and Algebra by organizing a Digital Marketing workshop to provide the current and future workforce with digital skills useful to small and medium-sized enterprises.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown have had a negative impact on the economy and the challenges faced by the private sector are only increasing with the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the current situation has also created new opportunities as consumers are turning to the Internet and thus increasing the need to speed up the digital transformation of business
The technology that has allowed us to work and study remotely and use different Internet services can play a significant role in aiding small and medium-sized enterprises to survive the crisis and boost their sales afterwards. However, not all companies are ready for such a rapid change as the main obstacle remains a lack of knowledge, skills and tools.
In partnership with Algebra University College, the Grow Croatia with Google initiative offers free online digital marketing courses, tools for collaborating with teams and suppliers using Google Meet and workshops to aid people in acquiring relevant digital skills that can help them find a job, advance in their careers, or develop their business.
"As the traditional main drivers of economic growth are gradually disappearing, so the digital economy, whose potential in Croatia remains unused, is taking on the role of a catalyst for economic growth. Namely, according to a report from the McKinsey consulting company, Croatia has the potential to generate 8.3 billion euros of GDP by 2025 (an additional 2,000 euros of GDP per capita) by placing a strong focus on digitalization.
Bearing that in minds, we have launched as a continuation and expansion of the Digital Skills learning platform, which is part of the Grow with Google program. Through the Grow with Google initiative, we aim to aid more than 10,000 Croatian citizens and companies find jobs, digitalize and grow, and thus participate in reducing the digital divide in Croatia” said Joško Mrndže, Google’s Country Manager for the Adriatics Region.