A+ students: Luka Krznarić Matarić and Fran Nemec - University of Applied Sciences

This project opened the door to a completely different world!

univerzijada-1-257x300The Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, the City of Zagreb and the European University Games Zagreb-Rijeka 2016 Association, chose the best among 44 teams that applied for the UNIverzI-JA-DA project. The project was conceived to support and award teams with the best problem-solving solutions to be used during the European University Games in Zagreb and Rijeka in July 2016. Our diligent students Fran Nemec and Luka Krznarić Matarić showed a great level of creativity and won the award with their project “All sides of Zagreb”!

Luka Krznarić Matarić and Fran Nemec, our students of Cultural Management gave us a closer look into their project.

How would you explain the concept of your award-winning project?

Fran: The project “All Sides of Zagreb” involves creating an info-centre and organizing social activities intended for all participants of the European University Games. Using social media and brochures, the info-centre will disseminate information about city events, transport, tournament schedule, organised activities and all other issues that might be of interest to the participants. Social activities are numerous: we collaborate with all the museums in the city of Zagreb, and will join forces to design programmes for those participants who would like to visit museums. The Nemo Adria tourist agency will organize a visit to their adrenaline park. Furthermore, together with Hrvatske šume (Croatian Forests Ltd.) and Medvednica Nature Park we will arrange a hiking trip to Sljeme, where all participants will be given a tree seedling. Our plan is to plant these trees at an arranged location which will grow to become the park of the European University Games.

How did you decide to apply for the project?

Luka: We started off by making several attempts to design and launch various projects in the area of tourism and culture, aiming to develop new activities. The problem with these first-time projects was that they were set up without a specific call for proposals for project funding grants. When we saw a call for proposals for the UNIVERZIJADA project, we decided to combine several segments from our previous ideas and that was how we created “All Sides of Zagreb”.

Fran: The call for proposals seemed interesting, our whole team is very creative and a bit on the entrepreneurial side, so we thought it was an ideal opportunity to try out something like that.

How did the idea develop?

It developed gradually and moved a long way from the initial concept with which we entered the final round of competition. As we all like to travel, we started from ourselves and the problems we experience when we arrive in a new city. We asked ourselves different questions, such as: How do we find solutions in an unknown environment? Where can we get information about various events? Who can we turn to if we get lost? What places are a must to visit? These ideas helped us conceive the project.

Luka: We started writing our project idea in July 2015. It changed frequently, depending on fresh ideas and further possibilities that lay ahead. A few days before the due date we had a consultation with the HAMAG-BICRO about our project idea. Since the topic of the project was undefined, they gave us valuable feedback, pointing out that our project was too large in scale and scope, so we decided to shift the focus onto Zagreb. We reduced our project idea to those activities which were exclusively held in Zagreb.

zagreb-1What was the competition like?

Luka: After we sent our project proposal, we found out that we were shortlisted for the final round of competition. We arranged meetings with potential partners and started writing the actual project. It was important to us that each and every segment stated in the project is double checked. That’s why we insisted on having meetings with each stakeholder. During this process, we met our mentor Latica Ivković, who was very helpful and without whom it would be impossible to carry out this project. After we did all that had to be done, we finished writing the project, discussed it with professor Jadran Antolović, and sent it.

Fran: When we entered the final round of competition, we had no idea what to expect, but positive feedback from all stakeholders was an additional encouragement. Our mentor was really fantastic – always at our disposal and very helpful with our preparations for the final round. It included a lot of work, many sleepless nights and moments of uncertainty.

What were your reactions after you found out the results?

Luka: We found out the results right after the pitch, since we were the last team to present the pitch before the committee decided on winners. Our reaction was – shock and disbelief. I was hoping for a win, but when it came true, I couldn’t believe it. After the award winning ceremony, our team met in a coffee shop and we started planning the next phase of the project.

Fran: We were taken aback, since we were all relatively inexperienced in this field and didn’t expect it would create such an impact on the media and the public. Only when it all settled down a bit did we realize what we had achieved and we became aware of all the challenges that lay ahead of us.

What does this success mean to you?

Luka: It means a lot to me, and I think we gained excellent and important experience during this process. I also think there aren’t many other places where we could get this kind of experience, and that’s what makes our project so special.

Fran: It means a great deal to me as well, because I am able to apply the knowledge I acquired at the University. Moreover, this experience opened the door to a completely different world, and I am certain this won’t be my last project.

What else needs to be done in order to complete your project?

Luka: There is still a lot to do. At the moment we are in the process of finalizing the arrangements we made with our partners, and we are trying to speed up the process and sign the contracts. There are sixty days left till the beginning of the games, and I want to make sure everything is arranged before that. Our goal is to welcome the participants in the best way and to ensure they have the best experience at EUG 2016.

Fran: We work hard so that each segment can be completed on time, and currently we are making a detailed analysis of all activities together with our partners. This project involves several thousand people and will last for two weeks. Every detail is important, so the organisation has to be at a high level. We spend every free moment working on the project, since we have less than two months left. Keep your fingers crossed that everything works out for the best!

Why did you decide to study at the UAS Baltazar?

Fran: This was a spontaneous decision – I took up my friend’s suggestion. But I really like Cultural Management because it combines all my interests and gives me an opportunity to establish contact with the world of media, culture, movies, theatre, etc.

Luka: I visited Baltazar several times with my friend who was a second year student of Cultural Management at the time. Back then I was studying at the University of Zagreb, but I wasn’t satisfied with my studies. After I visited Baltazar, I was really happy with what I saw, so I enrolled at Cultural Management the next year.

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