Croatia-Sweden Innovation Initiative
Positive developments in Croatia’s innovation environment have sparked Sweden’s interest to join efforts and create a platform for sharing experiences with regard to what constitutes successful innovation ecosystems, with the aim of a more active economic cooperation between the two countries. The first seminar on this subject, held on Thursday, April 7, was organized by Business Sweden, Swedish Trade and Invest Council, and Embassy of Sweden, with the support of Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Croatia.
Oscar Stenström, State Secretary to the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation of Sweden, said that the government cannot request innovation; rather, it has to stimulate it. A good example of what an important part of innovation system should be is public procurement. Public institutions can be the first buyers of new products and services, and they can help new products to come onto the market. Tomislav Panenić, Croatian Minister of Economy, pointed out that Croatia needs a substantial change to stimulate innovation, as well as to enable Smart Specialization Strategy to create new opportunities.
Presentations made by 11 innovative companies from Croatia and Sweden have justified the fact that there are optimistic expectations of economic actors in both countries.
Gordana Kovačević, President of Ericsson Nikola Tesla, gave a rousing speech on the strategic approach of connecting Sweden and Croatia, which has for decades been fostered by Ericsson Corporation and Ericsson Nikola Tesla. Mutual growth and development, as well as developing partnership, would not have been possible without focusing on innovation, innovative ways of working, and possibility of adjusting fast, as well as introducing new business models, which give guarantee that Ericsson has and shall keep its technology leadership.
Around 150 participants found thematic panels particularly useful. The topics discussed were the following: what makes innovation systems, how to develop and implement national strategies, stimulating innovation, how to keep educated and qualified workers from leaving the country, etc. Ideas and opinions were exchanged among Ministry of Education of the Republic of Croatia, HAMAG-BICRO agency, Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency), Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Mälardalen University, Karolinska Institutet, RIES, and representatives of SISP, an umbrella organization managing 70 incubators and scientific parks.