Avanture malih okica – a portal that knows where to go with kids in Croatia

In collaboration with Lean Startup Croatia, the city of Kastav has initiated the pre-acceleration program KASPI2023 this year. This intensive program aims to support startups by assisting young entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas. The expected outcomes of this program include increased knowledge and capacities of local startups, supported development of services and products by local small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, and mentorship from experienced professionals.


Within the program, one startup stood out, capturing attention with its unique vision and goal. “Avanture malih okica” (Adventures of Little Eyes) was founded by Andrea Načinović, a mother of two young children, who recognized the need for a simpler way to find quality family events and activities. This idea evolved from her personal experience as a mother into a regional issue that required urgent resolution. This is her story.


How it all started?


As a mother of two young children, Andrea Načinović regularly organized their leisure time with the desire to fill it with new adventures, quality workshops, and trips. Her search for information about events in Rijeka led her through numerous pages, often resulting in late discoveries of activities:


“To find information about events in Rijeka, I had to search through numerous pages, often finding out about an activity only later.”


However, this frustration did not discourage her. Analyzing parents in her surroundings, she realized that everyone faced a similar problem. A sample of about ten parents was enough to reveal a significant regional problem that required urgent resolution. Convinced of the importance and potential of her endeavor, Andrea decided to confront this challenge, emphasizing:


“I faced a problem I wanted to solve, and I didn’t dwell on the obstacles that could be in front of me. Perhaps if I had been aware of the further entrepreneurial steps needed – all my courage would have been silenced, and I probably wouldn’t be writing this now,” Andrea recalls.


Development of entrepreneurial idea


Andrea purchased the web domain the next day and then, using the Wix platform, created a portal where parents could quickly find ideas and answers to the question “Where to go with kids?”. She planned to unify attractions, activities, and events in one place, thus providing simpler access to the entire offering based on the same target audience. Andrea entered entrepreneurship without prior knowledge, hoping for the best, and when she started implementing her ideas, she realized that a significant amount of work and a long journey awaited her:


“It all sounded so simple and was organized on all my papers and the basic website. However, realizing it required constant experimentation, adaptation, and investment. In starting my startup, I relied on intuition and made decisions spontaneously and sometimes completely illogically. I had no knowledge of entrepreneurship; I learned along the way, by listening and reading. But after 3 years, the accumulated knowledge was somewhere in me, unorganized and scattered,” Andrea admits.


The KASPI2023 Entrepreneurial Incubator Program, as Andrea points out, brought order:


“I reset my startup, organized it from the foundations, and created steps that needed to be taken at the very beginning. With incredible support and patience from mentors Miro and Filip, I addressed numerous questions that unexpectedly arose, and after the program, I created a solid foundation that will greatly influence the further development of the entire portal.


Among the things that helped me significantly through the program, I would highlight my acquaintance with entrepreneurial terminology and defining the market, which made it easier for me to understand my business and set future goals. Also, I believe that the knowledge of preparing a pitch will be most useful, as it gave me a completely different insight into presenting a business idea.”

Through the entrepreneurial incubator program, after defining assumptions, Andrea’s task was to approach potential users again, which, she notes, was not an easy task:


“Although the results and overview of the portal show that the problem is not only among parents in my environment. I approached potential users with great fear because I have invested three and a half years of my life in the idea, and I wouldn’t be very pleased if it turned out that I’m solving an imaginary problem,” Andrea joked.


When asked about her plans for the future, Andrea responds:


“At the beginning of 2023, the portal expanded its location to the whole of Croatia, significantly affecting the portal’s overview and overall business, further motivating me for future steps. There is a whole list of novelties planned to be implemented in the existing portal to provide users with a simpler and more enjoyable experience and thereby encourage parents and children to embark on new adventures.


Within a year, the plan is to hire two more employees so that the entire portal can provide even more quality, relevant, and numerous information for parents and children and organize events throughout Croatia. The entire project needs to be monetized effectively, and by the end of 2023, the focus will be on that segment. Thanks to all future investors who will be part of the portal and part of the community that wants to ensure a quality childhood full of new experiences and adventures.”


Andrea’s advice for future entrepreneurs


In light of her experiences, we asked Andrea what she would advise future entrepreneurs, to which she replied:


“When I started work on my startup, I had no support, advice, or mentorship; I learned on my own, which ultimately took away a lot of time that I could have used more efficiently.


I would advise young entrepreneurs to surround themselves with like-minded people, and mentorship from quality people with experience so that they can recognize their mistakes on the entrepreneurial path more easily and simplify the development of their business ideas.


The entrepreneurial journey is often challenging and far from expected; it is full of obstacles and thoughts of giving up. Regardless, sometimes you have to go ‘head through the wall,’ listen to your inner voice, and try to fulfill your dream. Even if you don’t succeed, in the end, you will gain incredibly valuable experience, knowledge, and skills that will open up new opportunities for you.”