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J’Nai Emery in Croatia: Split is an innovation oasis with a rapidly expanding digital nomad/tech scene

Photo by J'Nai Emery

(Editor’s note: With its Digital Nomad visa and the emergence of electric supercar maker Rimac in Zagreb, Croatia’s tech scene is making global news. This post on Split, Croatia’s second-largest city, is part of our Tech Tuesday series.)

With nature, gorgeous beaches, easy island accessibility and affordable quality of life, Split is a stunning oasis. All these factors increasingly make this Adriatic city an excellent Digital Nomad/tech base. This picturesque city is the second-largest in Croatia and combines a charming Mediterranean vibe with a contrast of old meeting new.

Despite not having as many nomad-friendly cafes and co-working spaces as the country’s capital, Zagreb, Split is still a worthwhile option for the country’s rapidly emerging Digital Nomad/tech scene.

Tourism is Split’s major industry, but it takes the focus off innovation (Photo by J’Nai Emery)

Focus on tourism means a summer lull for English speakers

As Split adapts to the recent arrival of foreign techies and digital nomads and the Digital Nomad/Tech scene still developing, internationals already are well-established within the larger Croatian community. During the year, the scene booms with multiple weekly events that consistently include foreigners.

Two predominant organizations offering an abundance of English- friendly gatherings are the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Saltwater Nomads. Moreover, a promising coworking space, The Works Coworking, is very active in arranging and promoting new happenings.

• DNA is a non-profit organization with one goal – to develop and promote Croatia as the digital nomad destination.

• Saltwater Nomads, founded in 2017, supports digital nomads through a professional community that includes events, travel experiences and coworking.

• The Works offers Digital Nomads a large shared workspace with high-speed wifi and amenities such as a gym and gaming station.

Their consistent efforts enhance the city’s widespread offers throughout the coming year. However, when Split focuses solely on the booming tourism sector from late June, the Digital Nomad/tech scene’s efforts often fall regrettably short during the summertime. This leaves the English-speaking part of the community with significantly reduced engagement alongside the impression of a temporarily non-existent scene.

Currently, during the summer, such events are discovered independently or shared through word of mouth. Therefore, for those who are not Croatian speakers, the scene momentarily can appear exclusive.

Change is on the horizon

The unbalanced summer dynamic is steadily improving thanks to organizations such as Split Tech
City
, Scaleup Office Split, and The Works Coworking. Split Tech City alone has more than 5,000 followers on its Facebook page.

These groups are continuously inviting all internationals to Croatian language-led discussions, offering weekly evening meetups, hosting international events and recently providing full-day English programs at upcoming conferences.

Such organizations are trying to adapt to the year-round demands by welcoming all internationals – paving the way in bringing together the foreign and local demographics drawn to Split’s trending scene.

These new attempts to accommodate recently heightened interest in English-led events appear promising. Ultimately, the goal is to unify the community’s diverse backgrounds for the long-term sustainment of an exciting, well-rounded Digital Nomad/Tech scene.

For internationals seeking to embrace the local scene, there are several upcoming September 2022 events to join:

  • Split Tech City’s Festival of Technology and Entrepreneurship 7 September through 9 September, with International Day’s program in English on 9 September.
  • Tilde Loop: Summer Tech Event @ The Works Split – 1 September. This event is hosted in Croatian but English speakers are welcome to attend for networking. The event is free, but you’re required to register.)
  • Saltwater Nomads’ Slomadism Split ’22 is 22 September thru 25 September, a four-day event in English. You can see details here.

The Croatian community embraces the city’s expanding Digital Nomad/tech exigency with warmth and openness. Actively welcoming foreign members into the local way of life, Mediterranean style.

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You can read more about Split’s tech scene/ecosystem here in the Split Tech City ebook.

See more about Split’s English-speaking innovation scene here in Dispatches’ archive.

J'Nai Emery
Contributor | Website | + posts

J’Nai Emery is a passionate freelance copywriter who embodies writing as an art
form. The past ten years have led this travel addict all around the world, both living
and working internationally. Formerly a University Lecturer, she now enjoys the
creative world of IT/Digital Marketing alongside the freedom it offers in working
remotely. J’Nai is a well-cultured European-adopted American currently based in
beautiful Split, Croatia.

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