Bilateral Talks

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International Conference and B2B
CRINSS - Creative Industries Summer Sessions
11-13 July 2012, Novi Sad, Serbia

Key Speaker

Ms. Zdenka Mesić
Ministry of the Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Croatia

Ms. Zdenka Mesić is employed in the Ministry of the Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Croatia. Her present position is Head of Department for Cluster Development Support. Before her employment at the Ministry, she was employed as Senior Counsellor in the Republic Committee for Science, Technology and Informatics, in charge of scientific research activities financing, implementation of bid procedure for financing of science and research projects, junior research assistants and upgrading programmes. From 1992 to 1993 she was Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Trade, while from 1993 to 1995 she was employed in the City Government as Chief of Staff of the Mayor’s Cabinet of the City of Zagreb, in charge of professional, organizational and registering activities for the City Government of the City of Zagreb and the Mayor of the City of Zagreb.


Since 2005, the Ministry of the Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship has been implementing the Clusters Project. The goal of the Project is promotion of economic entities’ association aiming at creating economy interest association or some other contractual forms (clusters) in order to achieve higher level of common product finalization and to promote the already formed ones.

In the period 2005-2011 the Ministry of the Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship has co-financed 47 initiatives for clusters’ development to the amount of HRK 30.000,000.

Each cluster has its own specific qualities. Therefore one model of the cluster may not be transferred to another. The initiative for clusters establishment may be given by the business sector of small and medium-sized entrepreneurship representing thus a bottom-up principle or may be given by the State, representing the so-called top-down principle.

Since 2005, the support of the Ministry of the Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship was related to the clusters’ establishment according to bottom-up principle, including financing and training of the staff that will manage the clusters.
Until now the clusters’ establishment was supported by the following industries – wood industry, leather industry and footwear, printing industry, construction, ICT, tourism and catering, shipbuilding, medicine equipment production, utility equipment production, food-processing industry and metallurgic industry.

In order to improve the process of networking and cooperation within SMEs and among SMEs and other economic entities in sectors of high added value, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has adopted the Decision to establish 6 clusters based on the top-down principle.

A new approach is oriented to sectors having high growth and export potential and six export-oriented clusters will use top-down principle in the following sectors in which Croatia has a comparative advantage: water, construction and maintenance (servicing) of small boats and sport and leisure vessels, textile industry, ICT, wood industry (furniture), mariculture.

In order to assure success of this new approach the top-down methodology for clusters’ establishment has to be harmonized with the national economy resources.

The past experience of the existing Croatian clusters has shown that small and medium-sized enterprises are primarily interested in marketing services, export promotion, education and professional training, applied R&D, common institutions or common service utilization – testing laboratories, public procurement information, joint procurement, cooperation projects and staff. 

As a rule, the existing clusters in Croatia are small. Therefore a particular attention is paid to cooperation improvement and networking of the existing clusters in the Republic of Croatia, as well as to international clusters’ network construction. The result was the signing of the Wood Clusters Network of the South Eastern Europe / Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia in Kranjska Gora in May 2008. On the initiative of Bio Q cluster from Osijek in September 2008 has been established the network Ecorural NET cluster of ecological and traditional production and rural tourism of the South Eastern Europe. 

Clusters as an export tool shall be used for better efficiency of SME and as supplement to bottom-up initiatives launched until now, as well as for the activities that shall increase capacity and ability of SMEs to achieve international competitiveness and improve their export results. 


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