We sat down with Ana Calic, founder of Misli More, to talk about the journey to date and plans for the future of the business.
How did you come up with the idea for the business?
I finished my Master thesis in Science, Business & Education at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. My specialization was in Energy and Sustainability, so that was where my passion for sustainable development was born. My mother founded a boat engine and equipment distributorship back in 1992, so I've been connected with the boating industry since I was born. I see great potential in the boating industry within Croatia and the Eastern Adriatic, so when the opportunity to connect the marine industry and sustainability within Misli More came, I didn't hesitate.
Why does the industry need the solution you're providing?
The industry needs the solution we are providing for several reasons. First off, there is a general lack of work force and educating young people on the opportunities in the marine industry creates a new driving force. Second, the only way forward is through sustainable development and every company needs to implement that within its business. We believe smaller approaches towards circularity are easier to implement, rather than drastic changes. Lastly, in boosting education and sustainability in both the B2B and B2C segments, we can create a sustainable ecosystem.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
The main challenges include obtaining funding and overcoming bias. There is still a lot of bias surrounding (young) women in business, although we see a positive diversification trend in the past decade.
Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space?
Don't be afraid to ask. The boating industry is broad, but there are a lot of people who are willing to help you and listen to you. Everyone has some sort of experience or advice which may help you, you just need to be open minded. Another piece of advice is to visit both national and international boat shows, because there you will see the most important stakeholders and have the chance to network in real life. There are many opportunities, you just need to seize them.
What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?
In 3-5 years we want to leverage our digital presence with our own platform and a podcast. Moreover, we want to see our club of young people in the boating industry become more diversified with an ever growing number of members. Lastly, we want to have helped numerous companies get on the sustainability train and have inspired young people to find employment within the industry. In five years, we want to be operating on a fully international basis.