By Davor Dubokovic, Director of Shared Services at CloudSense,
Much has been written in recent years about the opportunities available to UK businesses looking to expand abroad. A great deal of this has been focused on the BRIC countries, which offer high growth rates and large markets. But this focus has too often led to UK businesses neglecting the opportunities available closer to home. In 2010 CloudSense opened its first overseas office in Croatia, a country that joined the European Union three years later in 2013. The move has been a great success, with our office growing to 60 full time staff in a short amount of time. Following this, I wanted to outline some of the key reasons UK businesses should look to Croatia as the next stop for expansion.
Close at hand
Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia is only a two hour flight away from London, and just one hour ahead of GMT. This means that operations there are comparable to other European cities such as Rome, Madrid and Munich, and time zone issues are kept to a minimum. As a result CloudSense is a much more cohesive organisation, with a unity of company culture that can often be challenging to achieve when expansion further overseas occurs. It also allows us to deliver more positives for customers with aligned time zones resulting in better service than companies with employees based further overseas.
Making business easy
Many mistakenly believe that operating in former eastern bloc economies is difficult to do. Beyond the regulatory framework, the attitude of many younger Croatians makes it easy to do business in the country, with a strong work ethic and desire to challenge established processes. As a technology business we need to nurture a challenging and innovative nature so this aptitude is vital for us. When you match the enthusiasm for entrepreneurship of the country and the ease of doing business, operating in Croatia becomes a compelling proposition.
Open for business
There is much that appeals in Croatia to a growing business like ours, and another key factor is the level of education. The Croatian education system is good and there is a large pool of talent that employers can select from. A significant number of individuals are educated to degree level and most of our employees have a Master of Science Degree from the University of Zagreb. We have to have employees with a certain skill level as a tech company and we have been able to find people able to fit into our business and get up to speed quickly. We have also had minimal language barrier to contend with, as the majority of those educated to degree level are already fluent in English.
The CloudSense expansion into Croatia has been instrumental in the growth of our wider business. While the BRIC and MINT nations are grabbing the headlines, UK businesses should not forget about other dynamic economies which can help grow their business abroad.