HBOR WGS: Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises are the Backbone of the Croatian Economy
Tamara Perko, President of the Management Board of HBOR, at the invitation of Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF and Mr Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of Finance of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated at the World Government Summit held from 10 to 12 February 2019 in Dubai.

Global platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience of leading world officials and experts

The World Government Summit is designed as a global platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience of leading world officials and experts from the public and private sectors dealing with issues of using innovations and technologies to address current global challenges. Almost 4,000 senior officials from 140 countries gathered at the Summit this year. Along with state leaders and the highest government officials, participants of the Summit were also the leaders of international organisations and leading international companies.

Tamara Perko participated in two panels at the Summit, where she spoke about the experiences of the Republic of Croatia and HBOR in promoting the development of small and medium-sized entrepreneurship as well as the empowerment of female entrepreneurs in the sector of small and medium-sized companies.

Strengthening the role of small and medium-sized companies should be the key goal of further economic development

The first panel discussion on the strategy and policy of SME sector development in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) was also attended by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, HE Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of Finance of the UAE, HE Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of the Economy of the UAE, Mr Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya as well as other senior officials from countries of the MENA region. In her introductory address, Christine Lagarde said that strengthening the role of small and medium-sized companies should be the key goal of further economic development in the MENA region countries. In her speech, she pointed out that promoting the development of small and medium-sized companies requires a holistic approach within which the economic, financial and social dimension should function together. Because of the limited success of the SME development in the MENA countries, participants in the session followed with great interest the presentation of Tamara Perko, who talked about the Croatian experience in the development of private entrepreneurship, key development phases and lessons learned. „ The Croatian governments have built a comprehensive legal, strategic and institutional framework for the promotion of SME development. Nowadays, small and medium-sized companies are the backbone of the Croatian economy and account for 99.7 percent of all the country’s registered companies, 73 of its employees, 60 of its revenues and 55 of its exports,“ said Tamara Perko.

Jobs created by female entrepreneurs are safer

As part of the ‘Women in Government Forum’, a panel discussion was held on strengthening cooperation between the public and private sector and strengthening the role of women in business and economy. The panel was moderated by Hadley Gamble, CNBC journalist. Tamara Perko talked about HBOR’s experience in encouraging stronger inclusion of women in entrepreneurship and mentioned as an example HBOR’s special loan programme providing favourable conditions for women in the form of lower interest rates and less collateral for securing loan repayment. She also spoke about the main features of female entrepreneurship in terms of a different approach to business management: „Jobs created by female entrepreneurs are safer, women show greater care for employees and invest more in the education of employees. Women do not measure success only in terms of profit, but more often in terms of customer satisfaction, development of employees’ skills and good interpersonal relations, they are more prudent in taking risks and are mostly employed in the service sector, which is more socially responsible and requires lower initial investments.“ At the end of her presentation, Perko pointed out that a stronger involvement of women in entrepreneurship requires necessary networking and mentoring as well as access to free or subsidised advisory services provided by foreign or domestic consultants. Beside Tamara Perko, the participants at the Forum were also Maria del Pilar Garrido Gonzalo, Minister of Planning and Economic Policy in Costa Rica, Arancha Gonzalez, the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre and Chiara Corazza, CEO of the Women's Forum for the Economy & Society. Upon her return from Dubai, Tamara Perko said: „This was an extraordinary experience and an exceptional opportunity for the presentation of both Croatia and HBOR. I am satisfied with the interest expressed for our experience in the promotion of SMEs, as well as with the contacts made with the representatives of the MENA countries, some of whom have already expressed interest in establishing cooperation with HBOR in terms of exchange of knowledge and experience.“