When it comes to the entrepreneurial capacity, i.e. the number of active and ‘’adult’’ entrepreneurial ventures at the country level, Istria, the Primorje region and Gorski kotar are the best in Croatia; however, it is still below the EU average.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the world's largest study of entrepreneurship. Croatia has been carrying it out since 2002 by the Osijek Faculty of Economics and the Centre for Small, Medium Enterprises Development, and Entrepreneurship Policy (CEPOR).
The research conducted in 2016 encompassed 66 countries that account for around 85 percent of world GDP and around 69 percent of the world’s population. Twenty EU countries participated in this research.
‘’Since 2002 Croatia has been lagging behind other countries when it comes to the quality of the entrepreneurial environment, and the quality of the regulatory framework’’, explained Slavica Singer, the head of the GEM research team in Croatia.
Singer also pointed out that changes in the entrepreneurial environment are necessary because Croatia is a hostage of entrepreneurial ventures that are initiated by the need and despair, not by the recognition of new entrepreneurial opportunities and new entrepreneurial ideas. The situation is burdened by the fact that "adult" companies invest in new, often import-oriented technologies, but do not create new and innovative products. Among all countries encompassed by the research, the least number of people in Croatia believe that entrepreneurs are highly appreciated in the society, whilst the large number of respondents in Finland, Ireland and Germany think that entrepreneurs have a high social status.
Furthermore, Croatia has a low dynamism of the entrepreneurial structure; there are few new business ventures, whilst a motivational index is also very low. Just for comparison, last year the motivational index in Croatia was 2.2 percent, in Sweden 19,6 percent, whilst the European average was 5,3 percent.
‘’The entrepreneurial ecosystem has worsened, we are worse than the best in everything, we are significantly worse in market openness, research transfer and development as well as in the government policy towards taxes and regulations’’, commented Singer.
Furthermore, around 70 percent of young population in Croatia see entrepreneurship as their future; however, only 3 percent believe that it can be achieved in the homeland.
It is interesting to note that the research showed that entrepreneurs have the highest social status in Finland, Ireland and Germany, which are the top three countries among Croatian emigrants.