Udruženje obrtnika grada Zagreba (Association of Craftsmen Zagreb) is the independent, professional and business organization of craftsmen, traders individuals and companies. The Association initiates activities like vocational education and trainings for students (Law and legal regulations, Economy and Entrepreneurship, Working pedagogy, and many more), organizes lectures and seminars for professional experts, preparations for masters exams, and participation and visits to craft fairs in Croatia and abroad. Special attention is focused on education of craftsmen, along with close cooperation with vocational schools. The Association represents the interests of about 8.000 of its members organized into 38 sections.
Entrepreneurial thinking as well as Marketing and Branding skills are increasingly necessary for craftsmen in Croatia. From the international studies (described in Report for SMEs in Croatia 2013. issued by CEPOR – SMEs and Entrepreneurship Policy Center and GEM) can be seen that one of the biggest obstacles for Croatian SMEs growth is lack of focus on entrepreneurial education as well as bad working ethics. Both of these symptoms can be attributet to a lack of intrapreneurship and little understanding of self-branding and self-marketing. Similarly across Europe, business education has therefore become an important aspect of educational programs in EU member states. Croatia in 2010 adopted the National Strategy For Entrepreneurial Learning 2010. – 2014. which goals are:
– sensitize the public about entrepreneurship,
– develop positive attitude towards Lifelong Learning for Entrepreneurship,
– introduce learning and training in entrepreneurship as key competencies in all shapes.
In this strategy the reasons for entrepreneurial thinking, the proposal of learning programs for fostering intra-/entrepreneurship in the education system and the expected results of the development of entrepreneurial education are stated.
One of the mayor problems in Coatia today is a lack of cooperation between educational institutions and SMEs. At present, the training programmes are not modelled according to the labour market’s needs – even though the most of the SMEs (>25%) are using educational services from relevant chambers. It can be seen that the craftsmen already have connections with relevant chambers but the training programmes need to be adapted to their needs and demands.