CCW 2017: "Developing Innovation Ecosystem"

A 2-day event in Zagreb focusing on the transfer of know how between Chicago's and Croatia's entrepreneurial ecosystem builders

The program includes

Networking events

All free of charge!

Day 1
is for Business Support Organisations

Day 2
is for Entrepreneurs, Startups and Students

Applications open till April 4th (20:00)


Kristi Dula

Network Relationship Manager

Pritzker Group

Kristi is an accomplished sales and operations professional with extensive experience developing corporate partnerships and building community relationships. She is responsible for facilitating relationships for Pritzker Group’s family of companies and connecting them with the firm’s wide network of experts. Kristi served as a strategic account manager for Kapow, an online marketplace and corporate event provider. Prior to Kapow, Kristi was vice president of events for 1871. Kristi operationalized 1871’s focus on connecting businesses, organizers and entrepreneurs during its early stages.

Serhat Cicekoglu

Expert on innovation management

Sente Advisory

Serhat is an expert on Innovation Management with over 20 years of experience serving corporations in Consumer Electronics, Semiconductor, Consumer Goods and Industrial Products sectors. His areas of expertise include Corporate Strategy Planning, Corporate Venturing, M&A, and New Product and Service Development. He is a Clinical Lecturer at Quinlan School of Business of Loyola University Chicago and the Director of Center for Risk Management. Since 2008, Serhat has been pursuing another passion: Startups. “I have worked with over 25 startups on business modelling, incubation, and fund raising.

Steve Oxman

Academic Innovation Lead

DV X Labs

Steve Oxman is the Academic Innovation Lead for DV X, DeVry Education Group’s research and development team. He has previously served as senior director of curriculum and instructor development at Kaplan Professional Schools, with a focus on online and on-ground real estate licensing education; executive director of curriculum at Kaplan Higher Education Campuses during a transition to a blended delivery approach; and as associate dean of academic affairs at Western International University, where he led a revamp of the online course model. Steve was also a teaching fellow at Yale College.

Emily Lonigro Boylan


LimeRed Studio

In 2004 Emily founded UX agency LimeRed Studio with a plan to prioritize high-quality design, user experience, and meaningful social impact. Lime Red is now the nation’s only WBE certified B Corp UX agency. Her experiential spectrum includes design, business development, user experience, writing, marketing, and strategy in online and offline programs for multinational corporations. Emily is also the co-founder of ImpactX Labs, an accelerator for solving social problems with human-centered design and collaboration. She’s run accelerators for nonprofits and is a mentor for other women in business.


Gillian Downey


i.c. stars

Gillian is passionate about technology and mentoring with more than 15 years of experience in digital product development, business leader coaching and operations. Prior to i.c.stars, she was part of the leadership team at Ubiquiti Networks, a Silicon Valley hardware manufacturer, responsible for program management and operations on the global cloud team. Gillian began her tech career at Bank of America. She managed the team responsible for proof of concept projects in open source and was a member of the bank’s global architecture review board. She has a degree in music from Roosevelt University.

Gabrielle Buckley


Vedder Price, P.C.

Ms. Buckley has over 25 years of experience counseling companies around the world with regard to all aspects of employment-related immigration laws. She advises employers on immigration law issues arising in corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Ms. Buckley assists clients in obtaining temporary and permanent immigration status and visas in virtually every immigration category. She develops immigration compliance policies for employers and conducts internal immigration/I-9 audits and training for employers. She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of WorldChicago.

Scott Nasatir


Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

During his 18 years in education, Scott’s innovative reform work has yielded increased educational access for diverse learners in North America and the United Kingdom. NFTE works with students in low-income communities across the country which are often plagued by crime, violence and high dropout rates. During his administrative tenure in Chicago Public Schools, District 89, and the UK, Scott was a fierce advocate for marginalized youth. In 2010, The Chicago Board of Education appointed Scott SWAT Team Leader to overhaul failing and non-compliant schools where he overhauled district 89 policies.

Peggy Parfenoff



Peggy Parfenoff is the President of WorldChicago, a non-profit that hosts US Department of State and other federally sponsored emerging leaders in Chicago. WorldChicago is a member of the Global Ties national network. Peggy serves on the board member for Global Ties, currently filling the Vice-Chair role. Before joining WorldChicago, Peggy worked at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Director of Development. Her international exposure started with a year spent studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, followed by many journeys throughout Europe, Eurasia, South America, Russia, Cuba and China.

Ivana Čuljak

Startup helper

Ivana Čuljak, Project Manager of Technology Park Zagreb responsible for the development of technology infrastructure project and improvement of support to start-up’s. On a daily basis Ivana provides support to startups in StartUp Factory Zagreb – incubator for high technologies. Has years of experience in the creation and implementation of innovation programs for SME’s. Worked on the implementation of more than 100 innovative projects (contracted value of over 19 mil EU) in the Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment (HAMAG – BICRO).

Keith Bradley

Keith Bradley is an Information Technology Program Delivery professional with more than 16 years of program development and implementation experience. Since 2015 Keith has served as an ecosystem consultant and educator for the City of Sibenik (Department of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development) in Croatia as well as a mentor for start-ups and entrepreneurs in Europe. Prior to working in Sibenik, Keith was the Managing Director of the Chicago Blue 1647 headquarters location and served as an assistant to Harper Reed (Chief Technology Officer for 2008/2012 President Obama campaigns). Keith is also a two-time finalist for the U.S. State Department “Professional Fellows Program Alumni Impact Award” for his work and dedication within the U.S. State department Professional fellows program.

Ivana Žorž

Ivana Žorž is an Agricultural engineer by profession. Working as a Director of the Development and Beneficiaries Support Division within Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment she manages funding schemes in area of Regional Competitiveness and Innovation Policy, designing, creating and maintaining innovation based entrepreneurial system, focused on a development of supporting eco-system that nurtures and encourages sustainable development.

Antonija Mrsic

Antonija Mrsic currently works at the Croatian Ministry of the Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Of the Republic of Croatia as Head of Sector for International Cooperation and Innovation. Ms. Mrsic has been working in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation policy since 2005, designing and implementing strategies and public programs for enhancing Croatian enterprises’ competitiveness level, their innovation and internationalization capacity and performance. Her previous professional experience is in business development and quality management, mostly in tourism and business education sector. She actively participates many expert and working groups on innovation and entrepreneurship at national, EU and international level, contributing to creating a more favourable environment for start-ups, scale-ups and innovation. She is a PhD Candidate in Public Policy and Development at the University of Zagreb, preparing a dissertation on the role of policy ideas and discourses influencing innovation policy processes.

Organizers / Moderators

Vedran Đidara

Innovation Management Hero

For the last 10 years Vedran has been actively involved into business coaching, starting with product development and product segmentation to setting up R&D teams with aim to foster innovative products and services in client companies. Through HAMAG-BICRO Vedran advised numerous SMEs regarding their innovative ideas and products, helping them to identify gaps to their success and overarching them. As an intellectual property expert he identified key issues with clients and helped them protect their innovations through various legal instruments.

Karlo Kukec

Business incubation manager

Started his professional career as a software developer. In 2008 he took a role of an assistant manager in TechPark Varaždin to write project proposals, manage EU projects and mentor startups. He helped over 40 SMEs receive grants for early stage development of their innovative solutions. He managed Techpark2, EU project that funded the preparation of the project documentation for the new 30.000m2 TechPark Varaždin facility. Karlo is one of the founders of Voogle startup, an initiative that mentors startups and accelerates their growth. He is head of the Voogle conference organization team.

Marija Planinić

Coordination angel

For the last five years she is part of a team in numerous EU projects run by the Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO). Being an expert for Communication and Visibility – publications, web, social media; she also acts as Event manager – organizes company missions, brokerage events, conferences, start-up competition, etc. With business communications tasks, she is involved in the preparation and implementation of the EU projects that are helping entrepreneurs improve their competitiveness and internationalization. Marija is the project manager of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and Acting Head of the Development and Beneficiaries Support Unit in HAMAG-BICRO.

Dajana Šteković

Miss Networking

Dajana started her career as a expert associate in charge of the organization of economic delegations, visits of ambassadors, monitoring European Union policy and current affairs on a national and European level related to European issues. Last year she started working in the Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) in the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). With her previous experience in networking she is responsible for meetings of enterpreneurs on the brokerage events (B2B) and producing partnership profiles for the EEN database aiming to connect croatian companies with potential partners and new markets.



(9am - 5pm)

@ HUB385

'Developing Innovation Eco-System'

Attendees: Business Support institutions

09:00 - 09:15

Welcome speech:

HAMAG-BICRO, World Chicago, US Embassy

09:15 - 10:15

Croatian Innovation Eco-System

  • Innovation perspective in Croatia - Antonija Mršić, Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts 

  • Busines Support Organisation program – Ivana Žorž, HAMAG-BICRO 

  • Startup Factory Zagreb - incubator for high technologies – Ivana Čuljak, Development agency Zagreb, TPZ Ltd 

  • Eco-Innovation System in Šibenik - Keith Bradley, City of Šibenik 

10:15 - 11:15

Eco-innovation system in Chicago

  • Connecting small eco system with global investors - Serhat Cicekoglu 

  • Fostering economic development through support institutions and pilot projects - Kristi Dula 

  • How to train people of today for getting the jobs of tomorrow - Steve Oxman 

11:15 - 11:45


11:45 - 13:00 

Panel: Start-ups of the future – moderated by Karlo Kukec

Panelists: Emily Lonigro Boylan, Scott Nasatir, Gillian Downey, Gabrielle Buckley

13:00 - 14:00

Lunch break

14:00 - 16:00

Afternoon workshops (3 groups)

  1. How to connect small eco-systems with global investors – Serhat & Kristi
  2. How to train people of today for getting the jobs of tomorrow – Steve & Gillian
  3. How to engage youth in business – Emily & Scott

16:00 - 16:30

Sharing of the conclusions


(9am - 2pm)

@ DoubleTree by Hilton

'Time to go west'

Attendees: Entrepreneurs, start-ups

08:30 - 09:00


09:00 - 09:30

Croatian start-up presentations

09:30 - 10:40

  • Connecting USA and Croatia - Peggy Parfenoff

  • Incubators & Innovation - Kristi Dula 

  • How to train people of today for getting the jobs of tomorrow – Steve Oxman 

  • Scaling business for growth (and sanity) - Emily Lonigro Boylan 

10:40 - 11:00 


11:00 - 12:00

  • How to engage youth around entrepreneurial mindset - Scott Nasatir

  • Developing leaders - Gillian Downey 

  • Living and working in the U.S. - Gabrielle Buckley

12:00 - 13:00

Panel - "Entering US market"

13:00 - 14:00



(4pm - 6:30pm)

@ Economic University

'Engaging Next Start-Up Generation'


Attendees: Students

 16:00 - 17:00

  • Developing future leaders - Gillian Downey
  • Unleashing entrepreneurial mind in students - Scott Nasatir 
  • How to train people today for getting the jobs of tomorrow – Steve Oxman 

17:00 - 17:15


17:15 - 18:00

Panel – Jobs Of Tomorrow
Panelists: Emily Lonigro Boylan, Kristi Dula, Gabrielle Buckley

 18:00 - 18:30

Networking with students


Day 1

HUB 385 - Petračićeva ul. 4, 10000 Zagreb

Day 2  - Morning

DoubleTree by Hilton - Ul. Grada Vukovara 269A, 10000, Zagreb

Day 2 - Afternoon

Economic University - Trg John F. Kennedy 6, 10000 Zagreb


                                                                                   Applications open until April 4th (20:00)

Day 1

Who can apply?
Business Support Organisations (tech parks, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, business centres, development agencies, etc.)

Day 2 - Morning session

Who can apply?
Entrepreneurs, Startups

Day 2 - Afternoon session

Who can apply?
Students, professors etc.

Last year's event

Organizers, partners...