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From a Garage Startup to a Strong Team of 95: Norway Grants Boosts Competitiveness of KB

Innovation Norway and the Financial Mechanism Office visiting the project. 7 people smiling in one of the stores of KB smiling in front of paintings sold by KB© Innovation Norway
Pictured: Innovation Norway and the EEA and Norway Grants visiting KB
KB d.o.o., an ornamental product producer from North Croatia received a grant to finance a new equipment that will increase its productivity, enable it to start production of new products and green the production process.

KB is a family-owned business started by Ms. Blanka Krizanec almost 30 years ago. What started as a manual ornamental craft grew from a small garage-based business to a medium size company employing 95 people due to Ms. Krizanec' passion and dedication. The company is currently run by an equally passionate chief - the founder's daughter, Ms. Biljana Lopac.

With good leadership and HR management skills, the mother-daughter couple, together with their associates created an enjoyable and friendly working environment, in which people not only love to work, but are also proud of being part of the “KB Family”.

Unleashing Creativity: Crafting 300 Unique Products

Different paintings and pictures sold by KB© Innovation Norway
Pictured: Paintings and pictures made by KB

From the very beginning, creativity in the company was highly encouraged. As a result, employees jointly contribute with their ideas and decisions about new products to be produced for the market. This is why KB today has approximately 300 different products in their product range, which are all sold under a unique brand name, KB Art.

Today, KB produces all sorts of household and ornamental products - for instance pots, mugs, plates, vases, t-shirts and aprons. KB uses various materials in the production, including ceramics, glass, wood and textiles. Many of their products come with specific inscriptions in Croatian language, which make their products unique on the market and very personalized - making them an ideal gift for different occasions.

A Household Name Across Croatia

A picture of some of the products KB sells. For instance cake trays© Innovation Norway
Pictured: Products produced by KB

You can find KB’s products in many stores across Croatia – in grocery stores, furniture stores, specialized gift shops, but also in the 17 KB stores located across the country. Even though KB is dominantly present in Croatia, as a leading producer of ornamental products, the company is also exporting to European countries. KB is also intensifying its activities to ensure greater presence on the European market through fair exhibitions, and other activities.

In order to further expand its production and sales, not only to foreign markets, but also in Croatia, KB needs to increase its productivity. By investing in new equipment that would increase the automation level of the production, they would cut significant amounts of time and energy consumption. This would also enable them to develop new products on a greater scale.

Norwegian Boost: Empowering KB with Grant Support

For that reason, KB applied to Business Development and Innovation Croatia’s Programme, financed from Norway Grants, with the project titled Development of a Green based Production.

The project is about investment into new equipment that would increase automation and productivity of KB’s production process, but also enable them to produce new products, such as plush toys from recycled sponges, wasted by other companies, and also start producing cardboard packages for their products, by recycling wasted cardboard.

With new equipment on board, KB will also be able to apply green based production in their business.

The project, which is currently under implementation, was supported with the grant in the amount of EUR 208.000.

Project-Driven Growth and Competitiveness

As the investment will increase KB’s competitiveness, it is expected that both, revenues and profit will more than double by the end of 2024, in comparison to 2020, and that by the same year project will result in four new employments. Because of faster production, project will also achieve close to 15 mWh of energy consumption savings, and close to 30 tons of materials recycled.

Even though the project is not finished, and some items of equipment are still to be purchased and put into operation, KB’s revenues are already showing increasing curve, as a result of this investment.

We wish the KB team a lot of success in their business!

About the Business Development and Innovation Programme Croatia

The Business development and Innovation Programme allocates more than 20 million euros to Croatian Companies. Focus areas of investments and development was Green Innovation and Blue Growth.

See more on the Business Development and Innovation Programme in Croatia.

About Innovation Norway

Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. Innovation Norway supports companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation.

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