Commitment. Work on yourself and discipline. But also a massive desire for change and innovation. These are the best descriptions of the success story of Vedran Šimunović. CEO of INTERA Technology Park in Mostar. INTERA Technology Park is a non-profit and non-governmental organization founded in 2011 to encourage and support the development of economic processes in the region of Herzegovina.
For over five years, Vedran has been in the leading position, and he came to INTERA from the private sector. Driven by the support of others but also by faith in himself, he applied for the competition, beat a round of about 50 people, and in 2016 became CEO.
What challenges did he face, and what is the life of the CEO? Finally, we bring in the story of BTS by StorsenDigital.
Creating over 1K jobs
“Intera is not a typical story. It started as an entrepreneurial initiative, as a vision for a better tomorrow. The term start-up in these areas did not exist. An initiative to improve technology companies has been developed. Davor Krezić, the creator of INTERA TP, one of its founders, had the idea that one day there would be more than 100 engineers in that building. Today it is already a reality. And we also helped create and employ over 1K jobs “, Šimunović tells us.
They believed that change in society could only come from the buoyant economy they created. Through the various activities of the business incubator, this story is connected as a whole. And in everything, it is essential to have an equal ratio of women and men.
“Besides, we do business support. We imagined becoming and being the main point for creating a business, and we do that through creating infrastructure. We listen to needs and follow trends. Thus, a group of so-called digital nomads was profiled during the coronavirus pandemic. We provide them with a kind of coworking through the Intera building.”
According to him, everything starts from the local level. Why wouldn’t someone from Banja Luka come to Mostar or vice versa? Then we raise it to the state level and submit it to the global level. All this brings culture and knowledge.
One of the INTERA Technology Park’s goals is to provide opportunities for young people in BiH.
They are doing a job that the state should be doing
“Migration is a normal process. Everyone who wants to go and needs to should go, but we want to create conditions so that when they go outside, they realize that they are better off there and come back. In addition, we are working on connecting the diaspora with local companies. And we want to attract them to invest here “, states Šimunović.
They are aware that they often do work that the state should do. But they are not giving up on their intention to prove to everyone that it is good in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All that is needed, as he states, is to develop competencies that can be sold.
However, success also requires risk. So we asked Vedran what the most significant risk he took was?
The biggest risk is sometimes a missed opportunity. My colleagues and I bear such dangers daily. Countless times others have offered us jobs in other companies, but we did not accept them. And it’s a risk because we believe in this story.
Vedran is a multitasker who does not give up work but adds new ones. He always has 5-6 parallel lines because everything is exciting and attractive to him. But how does he choose the staff he will work with? Is trust crucial to him?
“The most important thing is to have people who trust you, and you trust them. It is tough to build quality communication. We have memories and setbacks, but the essential thing is proactivity. If you give someone some responsibility, they must know how to take it and finish it. It is also necessary to create a team responsible for executing a task. I can’t say that my position is higher than that of anyone. We all try to do everything. We have divisions, but we all complement everything as one giant organism. There must be no toxicity. “
Vedran thinks the result can be good, and several different paths can lead to it. However, external challenges can very well affect business. Therefore, we could ask how the coronavirus pandemic affected Intera and the current geopolitical situation in the world?
“It simply came to our notice then. In the example of the Connecto conference, I can explain. The first conference was in 2013. We held it in 2019 in normal conditions, and suddenly in 2020, everything stopped. You couldn’t have anything live for a group of people. We managed to transform and organize a hybrid conference. Therefore, the crisis led us to be reactive and adapt. “
To demystify the CEO position, what your work day looks like, and do you live Intera story 0-24?
In the morning, I have a daily check-in with colleagues. And then comes the day that is amazing for most people. Sometimes in the morning, I talk about software training; after that, I switch to EU projects related to tourism, for example. After that, we go to the organization of the conference and plan the trip. Later I create panels and talk to stakeholders. So every day, there is much learning to do the job as well as possible.
Its goal is to develop a new incubator system in BiH in the next five years. Maybe even regionally.
“The excellent model we apply has a high level of market success. We have become relevant from a tiny ecosystem, but I think this is just the beginning. With the right kind of support, there will be no borders “, concludes Vedran.