ESIF Small Loan: Notice to Entrepreneurs

We inform all entrepreneurs, in accordance with point 3 of the ESIF Micro and Small Loans Program adopted by the Government of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 62/16 and 33/20), that due to the full use of available funds, the receipt of new applications for ESIF Small Loans shall be temporarily suspended as of 31 July 2020. We will notify you in a timely manner when the Program will be reactivated.
Entrepreneurs have at their disposal the remaining measures financed from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF):

  • ESIF Micro Investment Loans (up to EUR 25 thousand) at interest rates of 0.1% -0.5%;
  • ESIF Individual Guarantees
  • ESIF Portfolio Guarantees
  • Micro Working Capital Loan for Agriculture and Rural Development with an interest rate of 0.5%
  • Micro and Small Investment Loan for Agriculture and Rural Development at interest rates of 0.1%-0.25%
  • Individual Guarantees for Agriculture and Rural Development and
  • National Plus Program

All details regarding the conditions and how to apply for the above programs can be found on the agency’s official website www.hamagbicro.hr.

ESIF Micro Working Capital Loan: notice for entrepreneurs

We would like to inform all entrepreneurs, in accordance with item 3 of the ESIF Micro and Small Loans Program adopted by the Government of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 62/16 and 33/20), that due to the full use of funds, new applications for ESIF Micro Working Capital Loan have been temporarily suspended. We will notify you in a timely manner upon the new activation.
Entrepreneurs have at their disposal the remaining four measures financed from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF):

  • ESIF Micro and Small Investment Loan at reduced interest rates of 0.1%-0.5%;
  • moratorium on all previously approved ESIF loans as well as loans for Agriculture and Rural Development;
  • ESIF individual guarantees with an increased maximum guarantee rate for working capital loans from the existing 65% to 80% of the loan principal with the Agency’s consent towards financial institutions to defer repayment and the loan’s period of use for which the guarantee was issued.

The new financial instrument available to economic operators in the agricultural, processing and forestry sectors is also the following

  • Micro Working Capital Loan for Rural Development with the loan amount up to EUR 25,000 and interest of 0.5%.

Entrepreneurs also have at their disposal the financial instruments Micro and Small Investment Loan for Agriculture and Rural Development, ESIF Portfolio Guarantees, Individual Guarantees for Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Program Plus.
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, HAMAG-BICRO was among the first to activate the implementation of measures within the aid package to the Croatian economy, and in just one month it received three times more requests than during the entire previous year. Although currently the greatest emphasis is on mitigating measures that the coronavirus epidemic has on the economy, entrepreneurs currently have four open grant tenders available within the current programming period (2014-2020).
Check open tenders as well as measures to help entrepreneurs due to the coronavirus epidemic on the agency’s official website www.hamagbicro.hr and www.strukturnifondovi.hr.

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The new Bellabeat fashion accessory successfully manages stress

Bellabeat company

Urška Sršen

"We are guided by innovation and focus on what we do best, which is product development and its placing on the market. At the beginning, we placed our products through our web shop primarily to the American market where fashion wellness is highly developed."

The new Bellabeat fashion accessory successfully manages stress

Fashion and wellness are the concepts familiar to every woman, and feeling good and looking beautiful is not a matter of vanity, but of taking care of yourself. When technology is included in this equation, and it is wearable technology, Bellabeat springs instantly to mind.

This domestic company that produces smart products for women is the first fashion wellness brand in the world that allows women to easily monitor their own body state by using technology, which can actively contribute to their health. The sensor technology brought by Bellabeat helps users to better understand their body and informs, inspires and motivates them to become the best versions of themselves. The company has so far launched several products on the market: smart jewelry called Leaf, smart water bottle Spring, and this spring they presented Time, a wristwatch with an elegant design with the case that hides a smart core that informs the mobile application about all important indicators of the person that wears it and reminds her that she has been inactive for too long, takes care of the cycle and suggests meditative techniques so that the person can release the accumulated stress in a short time.

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Bellabeat was launched in 2014, and today has about 70 employees, of which as many as 65 percent are women. The company was founded by Sandro Mur and a sculptor not meant to be Urška Sršen, who discovered the world of IT during her studies. Today, as a creative director, she skillfully implements her knowledge into Bellabeat products. "We are guided by innovation and focus on what we do best, and that is product development and its placing on the market. At the beginning, we placed our products through our web shop primarily to the American market, where fashion wellness is highly developed. I have noticed that the European wellness market has also been getting stronger in recent years, and the situation is getting better in Croatia as well ", claims Sršen and announces numerous new steps. One of them is Leaf Crystal, a new model of this popular smart jewelry with Swarovski crystals that will soon be available to customers. Bellabeat also wants to create the largest global wellness club for women through which it will actively contribute to the balanced life of its clients in various ways. They have already started to realize this idea through an application in which Bellabeat, through an individual approach, provides exclusive content to each member of their BB wellness club, such as exercises, fitness and beauty programs, face yoga, audio meditation and the like.

Bellabeat's new jewelry, which will also be the smallest and most accurate wearable device in the world, is in its final development phase and it will use a sensor to measure health data with the aim of detecting and managing stress. The new Bellabeat product, which they plan to launch early next year, was developed with the support of the Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovation and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO), as a part of the Eurostars R&D program. The Eurostars program was created as a joint initiative of EUREKA, the leading open platform for international cooperation in innovation, and the European Commission. HAMAG-BICRO supported Bellabeat in the phase of intensive product development by awarding them HRK 1.49 million.

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As a company that employs 65% of women, our goal is to start the trend of involving as many women as possible in the work of technology companies.

Urška Sršen
Bellabeat company

“It is very important for us to hire employees who will continuously work on themselves, best fit into the team and grow together with the company. As a company that employs 65% of women, our goal is to start the trend of involving as many women as possible in the work of technology companies. The company nurtures and respects the family obligations of employees, believing that a satisfied employee is only one who has the opportunity to get accomplished both in business and in private and family life”, said Sršen. This view of success is fully supported by HAMAG-BICRO.

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The best drone control glasses in the world are produced in Osijek

Director of Capital Hook

Ivan Jelušić

"Today, our team has almost 20 full-time and associate team members and we are the world's leading company in the development of vision technologies for unmanned platforms. These are radical innovations that we have developed with our internal capacities; from a sketch on paper to the product ready for mass production"

The best drone control glasses in the world are produced in Osijek

Just a few years ago, the notion of unmanned aerial vehicle or drone was a complete unknown to the general public. Today, these aerial vehicles are ubiquitous. In addition to security surveillance, mapping, and shipment delivery, drones have become an indispensable piece of photographic and camera equipment in the entertainment industry. It is the camera that has made drones extremely popular, and drone racing is becoming one of the more popular sports in the world. In the segment of video glasses for operating and driving drones and other unmanned platforms, Orqa FPV glasses.One are known as the best in the world ... and they come from Osijek!

The Osijek company Capital Hook primarily deals with research and development of hardware products and devices, and it became known to the domestic and international public precisely because of the Orqa brand, within which they launched the aforementioned glasses. With these glasses, the Orqa team won the Idea Knockout competition last year, giving them the opportunity to present the product at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. In order to secure the funds for production, in mid-June this year they conducted the fastest growing Kickstarter campaign in Croatia, as part of which they rasied a record HRK 1.5 million in less than 24 hours!

Capital Hook is the real example of a successful startup, which was proven by the fact that it has already achieved its five-year projections. “Today, our team has almost 20 full-time and associate team members and we are the world's leading company in the field of vision technology development for unmanned platforms. We have already had the opportunity to work with a large number of domestic and foreign hardware companies for which we have developed consumer electronics and medical devices, cameras, sensors and radars. These are radical innovations that we have developed with internal capacities; from a sketch on paper to the product ready for mass production ", claims the company's director Ivan Jelušić.

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In cooperation with numerous companies, a large number of colleagues and associates of the company are former and current students and professors from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, J. J. Strossmayer University in Osijek, and in addition to developing their own products, their business objective is to provide services to other hardware startups from Croatia and the European Union.

Jelušić believes that the Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovation and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) has recognized the needs of the market, i.e. of small enterprises, because it helps them to scale their business and grow in foreign markets. Through its SME Competence and Development program, the Agency has allocated HRK 300,000 to Capital Hook to equip laboratories for research and development of hardware products, small-scale production and professional training of employees.

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“Purchased equipment allows us to create iterations of new products in a faster and cheaper way and to offer new services to our customers. Although our current focus is on Orqa FPV.One glasses, we have also been working on a number of other projects such as development of wearable medical devices, development of wearable sensors for body temperature monitoring, development and production of low voltage power sources, measuring devices for monitoring energy consumption, development of specialized telemetry equipment for overseas ships, production of industrial robots, development and production of educational robots and more”, says Jelušić and adds that the equipped space is multifunctional and space at the same time serves as a representative office space, laboratory, universal production line and training of new employees, and it is adapted to the employment of persons with disabilities.

The purchased equipment allows us to create iterations of new products in a faster and cheaper way and to offer new services to our customers

Ivan Jelušić
Director of Capital Hook

Orqa glasses are currently primarily used for racing and entertainment, but Jelušić and his team see its application also in medicine, protection and rescue, and autonomous driving of vehicles and aircraft in the future. There is room for improvement, but without a doubt this young Osijek startup can already be considered successful.

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Croatia on the map of the future’s automotive industry

Founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili

Mate Rimac

"The greatest recognition for success comes through results, but in addition, every entrepreneur is glad to see that the company has been named the best employer for several consecutive years."

Croatia on the map of the future’s automotive industry

Ten years ago, as a young innovator, he invented a magic glove that served as a replacement for a mouse and keyboard, and as early as then he announced that he would make the fastest electric car in the world. Today, ten years later, the whole world knows about his company Rimac Automobili, and his electric cars and bicycles of exceptional performance are the subject of desire of many lovers of speed and technology.

It all started with an old BMW that Mate Rimac, the founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, used back then for racing. Its petrol engine broke down after a couple of races, so Rimac decided to replace it. After a series of refinements and attempts, he installed an electric engine in his old BMW, thanks to which he easily beat the gasoline cars in every race. Today, he has a company that works with automotive giants such as Renault, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche and Pininfarina. The latest collaboration with Hyundai Motor Group will bring his company an additional HRK 600 million in investment, and the first joint projects are collaboration on the development of two high-performance electric vehicles by 2020.

Rimac Automobili is without a doubt a Croatian technological marvel that produces its own high-performance electric cars and develops and manufactures drive and battery systems for other manufacturers. The design, development and production of cars and technology is in the hands of more than 500 employees from all over the world gathered at the company's headquarters in Sveta Nedelja and in development offices in Split, Osijek and China.

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And while the first Concept_One model from 2011 was produced in just eight units, the new C_Two model, which was unveiled to the public in Geneva last year, will be produced in 150 units as the most powerful production car in the world. At this year's Geneva Motor Show, an even better version was presented, which established Rimac's position in the automotive world. His electric hyper-car has a four-engine drive system and a total of 1914 horsepower. It only takes 1.85 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, and reaches a speed of 300 km/h in 11.8 seconds. These numbers have stunned the world, but Mate Rimac continues to diligently develop his racer. The prototypes are in the production phase and it is to be expected that the C_Two model will show its power and luxury on the streets around the world in 2020.

“The plan is to develop a car with all the accompanying systems, including a carbon chassis, a battery system, a drive system and an autonomous driving system. The C_Two is a high-performance electric car on whose platform new models of electric sports cars will be further developed. Although the car is intended for a narrow market segment, with this project we are changing consumer awareness of electric cars performance and highlighting electric cars as superior to classic gasoline cars in certain segments”, says Rimac.

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Rimac Automobili battery systems are already globally recognized for their high performance, and for the development and homologation of the C_Two high-performance electric car model, Rimac Automobili has been granted support through various HAMAG-BICRO programs in the total amount of HRK 62 million to be drawn by 2020, mostly from EU funds. As part of the latest project in which Rimac Automobili and HAMAG-BICRO are collaborating, by September 2020 it is planned to develop an extremely efficient battery system that is modular and applicable for both smaller and larger vehicles and for various industries whose use will help reduce fossil fuel consumption. At the same time, the development and introduction of technologies for reducing harmful emissions of industrial CO2 in cars, bicycles and other vehicles will continue.

We believe that we have achieved a lot in a relatively short time, but we are still at the beginning of our journey, and we still have a long way to go to what we would consider a success

Mate Rimac
founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili

Known as a workaholic, Rimac considers a stimulating work environment crucial to his success with a clear vision of creating conditions for happy employees who make great products. “All this results in satisfied customers and clients and, ultimately, satisfied investors. One of the objectives during the growth of the company was to create top jobs in Croatia, and intensive growth continues. The greatest recognition for success comes through results, but in addition, every entrepreneur is glad to see that the company was named the best employer based on the votes of employees for several consecutive years. We believe that we have achieved a lot in a relatively short time, but we are still just at the beginning of our journey, that is, we still have a long way to go to what we would consider a success”, modestly concludes Mate Rimac

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Internet transactions are becoming easier with the Croatian BlinkCard

Owner of Microblink and Photomat

Damir Sabol

"We no longer perceive ourselves as a typical startup, but we certainly have and want to keep the startup mentality, which means great enthusiasm, courage and trying out new ideas."

Internet transactions are becoming easier with the Croatian BlinkCard

With their first project and product PhotoPay, they set the standard in mobile banking, best known to younger generations for the Photomath application, while their technology for mathematics learning and solving has recently been taken over even by the popular Snapchat. Of course, we are talking about is the Zagreb company Microblink, which deals with the B2B software solutions development based on computer vision technology.

Microblink technology is built into mobile applications, which, instead of typing, enter data by pointing the camera at them. Their solutions are widely applied in financial industry, but also in telecommunications, aviation and hospitality sectors. As the main features of Microblink technology, customers have praised from the beginning the extremely fast execution and high precision and reliability of their algorithms, which ultimately significantly improves business processes. For the purpose of solving more complex problems in text recognition, they turned to machine learning which proved to be a great move; after the award-winning product BlinkReceipt for retail invoices reading, a month ago they launched their latest product - BlinkCard, which enables easy and fast scanning of credit and debit cards.

As all Microblink products, BlinkCard and BlinkID can be combined with each other, thus enabling easy data entry for, for example, authentication in mobile or e-banking and user registration for the m-wallet. Although only recently on the market, BlinkCard will soon be in production within well-known applications for online shopping and payment transactions.

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“The latest advances in machine learning have enabled us to make great advances in developing our product for personal documents scanning. In the near future, we will be able to scan and recognize almost all personal documents in the world. Thus, the user, without any prior typing, simply points the camera of the mobile phone towards the personal document and receives the data for entry in a form in less than a second ", said Damir Sabol, owner of Microblink and Photomat.

The Microblink team is completely focused on innovation and pays a lot of attention to the entire process, from research and development to the placement of the final product. As part of the call for applications “Increasing the development of new products and services arising from research and development activities”, they recently started the project “SecureVision” that aims to further improve the existing products and develop technologies for advanced remote user identification. Research and development will be based on machine learning and the application of deep neural networks for new methods of authenticity recognition and better reading of personal documents. The total value of this project is HRK 7.9 million, of which HRK 4.7 million relates to the awarded grant.

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In the near future, we will be able to scan and recognize almost all personal documents in the world in less than a second.

Damir Sabol
Owner of Microblink and Photomat

They started their business journey as a young startup company six years ago with a team of 7 people, and today about 90 experts and programmers circulate through their office. “We no longer see ourselves as a typical startup, but we certainly have and want to keep the startup mentality, whereby I mean great enthusiasm, courage and trying out new ideas. We have managed to maintain these values, but at the same time support the modes and values that mature companies have - clarity, strategic approach, role scaling, efficiency and the acquisition of new knowledge. Our greatest success is still to see the results of something we have done that is relevant and innovative globally; when customers are amazed and impressed and competitors wonder how we managed it. If we can continue to work consistently over the years, good results and entrepreneurial success are guaranteed”, concludes Sabol

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Croatian interactive toy in American school desks

STEMI co-founder and CEO

Marin Trošelj

"A successful entrepreneur is one who manages to find a profitable business model that will bring value to its customers. In order to succeed, stubborn persistence, rising after a fall and learning from mistakes are necessary."

Croatian interactive toy in American school desks

Some argue that a good idea is paramount to business success. Others believe that the idea should be known and sold. Whatever side you take, STEMI has succeeded thanks to its Hexapod, an innovative six-legged walking robot, which is already winning over customers across Europe and America, and is designed so that it can be assembled by elementary school students.

Learning through creation is one of the main advantages of the first Croatian educational robot, which many of the miles call a robotic spider. Namely, STEMI Hexapod enables the acquisition of competencies in robotics and engineering, and comes in a box that contains over 200 parts that need to be assembled correctly in order for Hexapod to come to life. In addition, every Hexapod customer gets access to an online STEM lab with more than 150 carefully designed multimedia lessons that guide them step by step through the process of 3D robot design, assembly and programming, and the development of a mobile application to manage it.

So many parts and lessons may sound discouraging to those who are not fans of technology, but Marin Trošelj, co-founder and CEO of STEMI, explains: “There are two basic target groups for our product. One is young people, elementary and high school students who we want to transform from technology consumers into its creators. There are customers and their parents who want to offer their children an interesting and interactive toy, which will at the same time prepare them for the jobs of the future. The second target group is teachers and educators who want to apply the most advanced STEM curriculum in the classes or workshops they conduct.

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Trošelj believes that society as a whole can benefit from their product: “Improving the quality of learning will in the long run lead to more competent experts in the STEM field, through the adoption of the concept of lifelong learning and increased ability of people to practically apply the acquired knowledge.

The company has already donated dozens of Hexapods to Croatian schools, and this robotic teacher is well on its way to becoming indispensable in American schools that teach STEM. In collaboration with Milestone C from Connecticut, Hexapod has already entered a pilot application project in four schools there. With this success, STEMI is working diligently to expand its distribution network primarily for the American, German and British markets. So far, they have sold more than 1,500 of their robots, and recently Hexapod robots have been available to customers in the US and Canada through Amazon.

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The company STEMI was formed in 2015 as a spin-off from the eponymous program of the University Association Bura Znanja, after a successful group funding campaign on the international platform Indiegogo, where they raised almost USD 37 thousand. This start-up provided the remaining funds needed for the completion of its robot and its commercialization through the Innovation call for newly established SMEs, within which they provided more than HRK 1.4 million. The mentioned call is ideal for companies like STEMI because it encourages the development of newly established SMEs through the successful launch of their innovative products and services with an emphasis on radical innovation and significant improvement in the commercialization of products and services.

A successful entrepreneur is the one who manages to find a profitable business model which will bring value to its customers.

Marin Trošelj
STEMI co-founder and CEO

That applying to this call was the right step is confirmed by Trošelj himself, who believes that entrepreneurs primarily lack capital for primary steps with the exchange of knowledge and experience: “A successful entrepreneur is the one who manages to find a profitable business model that will bring value to its customers. I think we have achieved success, but we still have a lot of room for improvement. Stubborn persistence, rising after a fall and learning from mistakes are necessary for success.

Perhaps it is precisely because of this persistence that STEMI never rests: as part of preparations for global expansion, they launched a new version of their robot late last year and the company's engineers often run educational workshops for children and anyone interested in STEM areas.

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