Successful business of Croatian emigrants in Austria
INTERVIEW – Niko Ilić, President of Association of Croatian Entrepreneurs in Austria
Please briefly introduce the Association of Croatian Entrepreneurs in Austria
The Association of Croatian Entrepreneurs (UHP) in Austria was founded in 2011 in Vienna. The Association’s business is connecting and networking of entrepreneurs with Croatian roots. To companies coming from Croatia we offer legal and tax advice for the Austrian market, and we also provide links with Austrian companies wishing to enter the Croatian market. We also offer young entrepreneurs the possibility of information and all-round support. Through meetings of members or organizing numerous forums and business meetings, members of the association are opening big opportunities to represent your business.
The Association of Croatian will certainly become even better in organizing entrepreneurs in Austria with the newly opened representative office of UHP in the second Vienna district, near the famous Prater.
The Association currently has 150 members.
Cooperation with other state institutions is very important for the realization of business goals of business associations. Do you have established relationships with chambers and offices in both country?
When it comes to Croatian associations in Austria, we have excellent cooperation with Burgenland Croats, (Croatian Economic Agency in Burgenland), who have already been present in Austria for 500 years that also have great potential. They are of great importance to UHP, given the centuries of presence, integration in all areas and the reputation they have in Austrian society. Their experiences are valuable, especially in realizing European projects and using EU funds
How do you rate the work of Croatian emigrant companies in Austria? In what industries do Croatian entrepreneurs achieve notable business success?
To make this business even more successful, we are constantly listening to the market and looking for new ways of linkage. For example, in September we were in Kursalon, Vienna. In cooperation with Austria Chamber of Commerce we have organized their first international economic forum called Alps Adria Business Forum. The main topic was digitalisation and innovation where we see space for future advances and many IT companies have presented themselves at the event. Thus, Austrian companies were presented business opportunities in Croatia with a particular emphasis on IT and opportunities for collaboration with the Croatian IT sector, and successful IT companies have shown the possibility of them influencing the Austrian market.
In addition, various Austrian, Croatian and Bosnian companies form other sectors that need IT services were present. Next year we will choose another sector to reach as many businesses as possible and give them a platform to grow their business.
The Association of Croatian Entrepreneurs in Austria has 150 members, with notable business successes accomplished in the construction, metal, tourism, hospitality and IT industries.
What is the trade between the two countries and what are your estimates for future development of business cooperation?
Economic exchanges between the two countries take place in almost all industrial branches. It is interesting to note that in 2018, Croatia made almost 7 billion kuna in Austria and Austria is the 4th most powerful Croatian exporter of all EU countries. At the same time, in 2018 Austria is the 4th most powerful importer in Croatia of all European Union countries. Imports from Austria to Croatia remain double that of Croatia. However, this is exactly where we see space for Croatian entrepreneurs. Austria is an economically strong market and the opportunities offered to Croatia Austrian market are large. For this reason, the Association of Croatian Entrepreneurs in Austria seeks to connect the aforementioned economies and facilitate business operations for the Croatian economy entrepreneurs in Austria.
Austria is the largest foreign investor in Croatia with over 700 companies. With its representation in Croatia it can certainly be the guiding principle of how the Association of Croatian entrepreneurs in Austria can work to improve the conditions and the arrival of Croatian companies to Austrian market
Finally, tell our readers what is most important for success in the Austrian market?
Most important for success in the Austrian market is seriousness, flexibility and quality.