The final conference of the project "Construction of a New Entrepreneurial Incubator," along with a ceremonial opening, was held on Friday at the new business incubator Bili Brig in Zadar. This incubator is specialized for high-value-added sectors, IT services, research, development, and creative industries.

The total value of the project is 3,256,915.73 EUR, of which 2,436,479.96 EUR is financed through the ITU mechanism - the European Regional Development Fund, while the remaining portion is co-financed by the project leader, the company Inovativni Zadar d.o.o., and the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds with funds from the Program for co-financing the implementation of EU projects at the regional and local levels.

The opening ceremony was attended, among others, by the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Šime Erlić, the County Prefect of Zadar County, Božidar Longin, the Mayor of Zadar, Branko Dukić, the parliamentary representative from the IXth Electoral District, Nikolina Baradić, representatives of support institutions in the city of Zadar and Zadar County, as well as numerous members of the business community.

The Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Šime Erlić, congratulated the city of Zadar on what he called a significant achievement for the economic and entrepreneurial scene.

  • This is a beautiful new space that will enable entrepreneurs to function, work, and live here. The space has 100 work units, meaning 100 new jobs, in areas of services and activities that we cannot merely characterize as commercial, tourist, or exclusively service-oriented. There are those related to value-added services such as IT and similar activities, said the minister.

He also reminded that Zadar made a significant leap with investments from EU funds into a range of entrepreneurial spaces, such as the existing Zadar Entrepreneurial Incubator in Novi Bokanjac, Coin coworking, Code hub space at the University of Zadar, and the Center for Creative Industries supported by Zadar County.

  • All these institutions form a network of entrepreneurial infrastructure that provides support to entrepreneurs, primarily startups, for whom it is most important to have this type of infrastructure in the initial years of development when survival, gaining new clients, networking, and survival are crucial. All modern cities of the future that want to progress recognize such spaces and have them within their cities. Let this be a new nucleus of knowledge, ideas, and new initiatives for the new developmental upswing of Zadar, Minister Erlić concluded.

Zadar Mayor Branko Dukić said that Zadar urgently needed a new incubator where it could develop its business ideas, as the existing one had already exceeded its capacity.

  • We want as many people as possible to come here and to get employed. Considering the positive natural population growth in Zadar and the soon opening of the economic zone Crno, we want to achieve a strong economic impetus in Zadar through these mechanisms because only in this way can the city function normally and meet all the needs of our citizens in the future, Dukić said.

The director of Inovativni Zadar, Alan Kociper, reminded that it took almost 10 years from the idea of building a new incubator to its realization.

  • The mission of the new incubator is, in fact, the mission of a new era that we are entering at a tremendous speed! Zadar, in comparison to the Croatian but global technological map, must not stay aside. We want and will strive to become an institution that, through the support mechanisms provided by the City of Zadar and in collaboration with the educational and real sectors, generates IT talents, brings them together - and in the incubator creates a dynamic, stimulating, and healthy ecosystem that will contribute to the overall economic development of the entire Zadar region and the whole country.

The Bili Brig Entrepreneurial Incubator is approximately 2,000 m² in size, and besides business spaces at favorable conditions for entrepreneurs up to 3 years old, it offers the possibility of leasing business halls and meeting rooms at market conditions and coworking spaces for about 30 users. Standard coworking services include the option of daily, weekly, or monthly leases and access to work units 0-24.

The public tender for the allocation of incubation spaces will be announced in mid-January 2024, and applications will be submitted through the web form published on the official website of Inovativni Zadar. Applicants will be able to apply for 19 office spaces ranging from 14 to 24 m² and three larger spaces ranging from 77 to 102 m².

Users of incubation spaces in the Bili Brig Incubator will pay office rent at a preferential rate of 5 €/m². In the first year of stay in the incubator, the rent is not paid, as the City of Zadar subsidy amounts to a maximum of 100%, meaning the user pays only a fixed utility fee of 3 €/m², including constant symmetric access to the internet at a speed of 100/100 Mbps. Each subsequent year, the subsidy decreases, so in the second year, it is 85%, in the third year, 70%, and in the fourth year, 40% of the rent price. Only in the last, fifth year of incubation, the user pays the full rent price because the City of Zadar subsidy ends, and entrepreneurs prepare for independent entrepreneurial life.