(Editor’s note: This post on Split Tech City is part of our Tech Tuesday series. Dispatches covers Europe’s tech scene, which relies on highly skilled internationals.)
Founded in 2015 by local digital entrepreneur Toni Trivkovic, Split Tech City is a non-profit organization brining together members of the local Digital Nomad/tech scene. Serving as the first formal association of the Split technology community, Split Tech City brings together tech professionals, entrepreneurs and Digital Nomads based in the city.
The organization is now supported by more than 70 companies and two employees advancing the scene by following community developments via STC’s networking channels. Throughout the year, STC offers lots of events, meetups, plus workshops that continue to expand and unite the scene.
Ultimately, the desire is to unite locals and foreigners and create an environment to cultivate businesses locally.
Goals of uniting both foreigners and locals living in Split
Split Tech City is working on bringing foreigners and locals together through monthly meetups such as “Locals’n’Nomads.” This event provides opportunities to hang out and discuss varied topics. Other times STC collaborates with the local startup scene and offers cultural events, ranging from guided tours to lessons on Croatian language basics. Such offerings are listed in the Facebook group “TechTerranean: Tech by the Beach” which is open to anyone interested in Split’s lifestyle and tech scene.
Furthermore, the second edition of the Festival of Technology and Entrepreneurship hosted an International Day only in English. Between this year’s closing and the next festival, 40 to 50 events already are organized – most for free.
Split Tech City’s Festival of Technology and Entrepreneurship – International Day
This three-day festival, held from 7 to 9 September, captured the attention of about 400 attendees. The third and final day of this year’s event served as the International Day with all content of speakers and panelists solely in English. All non-Croatian speakers in the area were welcome to attend with the added benefit of understanding, as well as the opportunity to network with locals.
The program began with a panel discussion led by moderator Michael Freer on how to create a global tech business from Croatia, joined by panelists Frane Borozan (SysKit), Marko Kovac (Repsly), Morten Smalby (GetByBus), and Bruno Stojakovic (PlaySafety).
The panelists ranged from expert level to the early stage startups launches.
It was interesting to hear the various developmental journeys, previous setbacks and successes and tips. The event was also an opportunity to better understand the progress the country has made within the bureaucratic and localized processes of establishing a business in Croatia.
Such progress now makes the creating a business rooted in Croatia a realistic and obtainable dream.
The evening continued with four guest speakers (Daniel Skoblar, Prashant Vaz, Omar Chehmur, and Suren Markosian) who provided various presentations, all valuable to an entrepreneur’s successful journey. The culturally diverse lecturers covered distinctly different topics, not only tech-based, but extending to various professional backgrounds.
• Daniel Skoblar, the first certified instructor of the Wim Hof method in Croatia, gave an interactive presentation on breathing being a superpower that we are all capable of using for greater self-good.
• Prashant Vaz, a Briton living in Split, offered valuable details, for both newbie entrepreneurs and experienced professionals, on the development and sale of a successful digital agency.
• Omer Chehmer, from Israel, lectured on achieving success by nurturing a data-driven culture. He is the co-founder of Bookaway Group – a digital platform that sells transportation tickets.
• Suren Markosian concluded this year’s festival lectures with a lighthearted presentation titled “Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Hard Work.” Markosian has built several major companies in Silicon Valley, including Epic!, a not-for-profit impact company that is the largest digital reading platform for children in the United States.
All speakers provided the insight that creativity is key to problem-solving alongside hard work throughout a business’s journey, emphasizing how crucial it is to always have fun while building a company – of course. Work hard but also enjoy the process. While the speaker selections were all amazing, it is oped that next year’s event will include female representation throughout the festival and on all panels.
The festival provided ample networking opportunities. Moreover, the International Day’s environment felt welcoming as both locals and foreigners socialized over drinks and food forming new collaborations and, we hope, friendships. While the Digital Nomad/Tech scene in Split can, unfortunately, feel exclusive at times, this event was refreshing, inviting, and encouraging for all.
Founder Toni Trivkovic connects foreigners to Split Tech City’s vision
Following the event, Toni shared insight for the foreign community to better understand STC’s ambitions here in Split. He said his motivation for creating STC stemmed from connecting the Digital Nomad, Entrepreneurial, and Tech communities. Significant value was apparent, yet dispersed. No one knew what exactly was going on in Split – what was happening, and which companies and individuals were based here.
Luckily, the OpenCoffee concept by Saul Klein inspired him to create OpenCoffee Split.
While this grew steadily, and it was time for the next challenge – blending the whole tech ecosystem and creating Split Tech City. Split Tech City aims to be the best tech hub and talent attractor in the region.
According to many Croatians and internationals, Split has one of the best quality of life assessments combined with an actively growing tech scene in Europe (Toni Trivkovic). These combined elements make Split an appealing base.
More STC events in English and Croatian can be found on their website, across all social media, and in the website’s calendar event section. Even if you don’t speak Croatian, we still encourage to still attend for networking as it is language-adaptable and a great way to connect with local professionals.
Overall, the three days included lectures applicable to all attendees. Perhaps next year, the festival will further unify locals and foreigners by offering a line-up of Croatian and English guest speakers daily. Ultimately, the goal is reaching an even wider audience while continuously bringing foreigners and locals together within Split’s Digital Nomad/Tech community. In Toni’s words, “With everything we do, we try to contribute to the growth of the local tech ecosystem to make Split a better and more prosperous city.”
Recordings of lectures and panel discussions held at this year’s Festival are accessible on Split Tech City’s YouTube channel until the end of the month.
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.