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Then and now: Split as a growing tech hub

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč

08.07.2021.

view of Split, Croatia

You know that famous (or infamous) question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Just imagine how many incorrect answers were given to this particular question in 2015 and 2016!

For example, Split was presented as a growing tech hub in StartUs Magazine five years ago, so let’s take a look at the differences of Split’s startup ecosystem then and now.

Ecosystem growth

Anyone and anything is capable of growth in a 5-year period. Split is no exception. Despite the current worldwide situation, the local tech community managed to grow and keep things interesting with various online events. Before the beginning of this challenging period, the community was lively and growing day-by-day enabling Split to grow as a tech hub.

The city itself is still a big draw for tourists. However, this awakening of the local community that happened years ago, opened another point of view: that of a city that is not attractive only for tourists and only during the summer months but is a great place to live year-round. Many internationals have recognized this fact and have chosen Split and the region as a place to call home.

Tech community

What started years ago during the first Open Coffee Split meetup is now an association that continues to actively gather more and more members of the local tech community together. One thing’s for sure: Split Tech City was active five years ago (albeit under a different name) and will continue to be active for years to come. Our recent celebration was proof of how much we have grown in these 5 years.

The community as a whole has grown, too. The University of Split started encouraging entrepreneurship even more, the regional government kicked off the Centre of Excellence initiative, the first international school is set to open its doors in Split soon, some schools whose curriculums are not directly related to the STEM field have elective STEM programs for students who are interested in them, the high school program for web programmers was initiated in 2018, etc.

All of these STEM-oriented initiatives that keep appearing have their roots in the fact that the local tech community has grown enough for its enthusiasm to bleed into the educational system, as well.

Split’s startups

Split’s startup ecosystem is still in its infancy compared to startup hubs worldwide and we all agree that there is still a long road ahead. However, its growth is indubitable. Yes, there might be obstacles on its road, but not a single city on this planet is perfect, so we cannot expect Split to be, either.

What we can do is continue to encourage growth by sharing knowledge and experiences and helping each other whenever we can. We have profiled some of the local startup companies so far, and every single one of them is proof that you can succeed in Split.

It is true they worked hard and had to manage setbacks, but they are still here, still growing and enriching our local community. If you need solid proof about Split’s growth in the last five years, read their stories!

Encouraging the startup ecosystem

Further encouragement of the local startup ecosystem also comes in the form of facilities like coworkings, incubators, and accelerators. Student Business Incubator is one of the key players in the encouragement of entrepreneurship among university students. With events like STup!, Get In The Ring, Smart City Challenge, and Hack4Split, they actively encourage students to not only focus on entrepreneurial activities but their local community as well.

The number of coworking spaces in Split has also grown since 2016, and STech Accelerator is also an active member of the ecosystem by providing growth acceleration through business accelerator support. ICT Županija is also present in the local ecosystem as a project initiated by the regional government in order to provide more support to the growing startup and tech ecosystem with various programs and facilities.

See you in five years!

Overall, Split might have taken small steps ahead, but a large chunk of its startup journey has been covered in these past five years. We might not be aware of how far we have come until we look behind and see the road traveled. That is exactly what we tried to do with this short look back.

We hope it inspires you forward! See you in 2026!!

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About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I'm a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I'm not writing about Split's tech community, you will find me somewhere in nature, in the theatre, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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