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What has now become tradition, the Split Tech City Festival once more took place this past weekend, on September 8th and 9th, at the Bačvice Open-Air Cinema – a perfect location with a vibe that is as Mediterranean as our tech community and this Festival!
The International Day, which took place on Saturday, was in English and drew the attention of numerous internationals and digital nomads, as well as locals because the Split Tech City Festival is created by the community for the community.
And if the initial reactions are anything to go by, we managed to realize our intention: for all of you to have a great time, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, be inspired, and meet as many interesting people as possible!
Once more we gathered together as a community to be inspired and learn from one another. So, we can definitely say that #STCFestival again demonstrated that Split is much more than what meets the eye. More than just a sunny city full of history. More than just a tourist hotspot.
Split is an international city with a vivacious tech community filled with entrepreneurial potential!
The Festival was opened with welcoming words from Toni Trivković, founder and president of Split Tech City, followed by a greeting by Split’s Mayor Ivica Puljak who was also in attendance on the first day of the program.
What followed after these words of welcome was an excellent and program-packed evening in Croatian, led by the MC Pinija Poljaković, an evening that showcased all the richness of the local community – with a focus on technology and entrepreneurship but also going beyond that.
But our focus here is the International Day of the Festival. After all, it is the day that, as of last year, we include to foster even more connections – ones that bridge the borders, too!
The Festival pre-program was reserved for the third Split Startups Meetup. As our regular event, it deserves its own overview, so we will go more into detail about it there. What we have focused on with the content of this pre-program segment were youth and entrepreneurship as two core topics.
Therefore we enjoyed hearing different perspectives and being inspired with a panel discussion titled “Am I Too Young to Be Taken Seriously?” and a fireside chat named “Get Ahead of the Game!”.
The group of panelists and fireside chatters that have been selected for this part of the program were Ron Brumbarger, founder of Apprentice University, innovator and mentor; Blaž Perić, co-founder of SmartNest and a high school student; Ivana Perić, founder of RESOLVE and Acceleration Manager at Silicon Castles; Suzana Špika, Head of People Operations at Postindustria; Mirela Petrović, founder of mAI way; and Antonio Perić-Mažar, CEO of Locastic.
They were led through the selected topics by Michael Freer who was also our Master of Ceremonies for the official program, therefore connecting the two sections seamlessly together.
The official program of the #InternationalDay started with an international topic and a sip of rakija! We believe Split is more than meets the eye, more than just tourism-related news that makes it to various worldwide headlines.
That is why we decided to showcase that side of our city with a panel discussion titled: “International Side of Split”.
During this panel discussion, the audience had the opportunity to hear about Split as an international city.
But not from the point of view of tourism, as we are used to, instead we heard the perspective of people who moved to Split from various parts of the world and consciously chose it as their place to be.
The panelists who shined a light on this part of Split were Jan Bodnar, Slovakian entrepreneur and the co-founder of Unique People, one of the many tech companies in Split; Geoff Bratton, an entrepreneur born in California, the co-owner of Fig restaurants, and the co-founder of the Association of Foreign Entrepreneurs; Sara Dyson, founder of Expat in Croatia originally from Texas, co-founder of the Association of Foreign Entrepreneurs, and winner of the Influential Women of Croatia award for 2023; and Piero Palevsky, founder of Poma and Staff Software Engineer originally from Boston.
After discovering the international side of Split, we took our audience around the world!
More precisely, Andreas Spechtler, the founder and CEO of Silicon Castles, took us all on a worldwide journey to success with his talk titled: “Key Success Factors for Worldwide Tech Business”.
Throughout his lecture, Andreas shared many important and very interesting points: from driving accelerated growth, creating a product or service that solves a problem, the importance of IP (intellectual property), the alignment between market and sales, and tips on how to enter the global market and grow.
The worldwide success discussed during Andreas’ lecture will sure have a lot to do with doing marketing well. That’s why we made certain you get a chance to learn from and be inspired by Aleks Jakulin and his lecture “The Future of Marketing”.
Aleks’ lecture took us through a brief story about marketing to launch us into the future by discussing commerce media – the future of marketing summed in the content we all love, but now seamlessly integrated with commerce. With his help, we got an insight into which types of commerce media will work and which are destined to fail.
After covering the key factors to success and assuring we know what the future of marketing will look like, we wanted to take you on an inspirational entrepreneurial journey.
Therefore, we needed an outstanding and inspirational entrepreneurial story. The person tasked with delivering it was Ivan Burazin, the CEO of Daytona, with a talk titled: “How Embracing Setbacks Shows You the Way Forward?”.
From his entry into the world of startups over enjoying success to severe disappointments and risks – Ivan shared his entrepreneurial journey and told it as the rollercoaster ride that it was: full of failure and success coupled with a whole range of emotions.
We were awed, inspired, and learned a lot! 😀
The cherry on top after the wonders of the content of this year’s Split Tech City Festival was, of course, the networking!
Enthusiasts from various fields and levels of expertise had a chance to network at the most Mediterranean location a #MediterraneanTechHub like Split can offer – the Bačvice Open-Air Cinema.
Surrounded by beats by DJ Matthew Bee and kept well-nourished by tasty food and drinks courtesy of Vaso and Cipa, this was a party we needed after the inspiration we received from the stage.
As in all previous years, we have given a lot to this event, but we felt that the return was, once more, greater than what we gave in the end. It is that power of a community coming together, as it did during the Split Tech City Festival, that brings great satisfaction and happiness to all of us!
We also must bring your attention to the fact that we would have never been able to pull this off on our own.
Without the recognition and support from the City of Split. Without our sponsors AGILO, Bitcoin Store, GetByBus, and EPAM Systems. Without the fabulous team from Hiperprodukcija who made the technical aspects of the Festival run like a well-oiled machine.
Without all the outstanding lecturers and panelists who selflessly gave their time and expertise for the betterment of our community. Without awesome MCs Pinija and Michael.
And without our volunteers – Alen, Božena, Filip, Karlo, Katarina, Lana, Luka, Marja, Pavao, Rino, Tamara, and Timea – who were the stars of this show hidden in the shadows and who made everything run smoothly.
A heartfelt THANK YOU to all of them!
To wrap this overview up – we can promise you this: stay tuned because our work for Split’s tech community will continue and we’re already looking forward to the next event we’re about to organize and the #STCFestival2024!
Your Split Tech City Team 🙂
Photos taken by: Bruno Dubravec