April 12-15, 2015, Osijek, Croatia

Fostering the ICT Ecosystem

About The Forum

The 2015 Brown Forum will take place on April 14-15 in Osijek, Croatia, where local business, government, and university faculties are already working separately and together to develop the city and county as a regional center for ICT business and innovation. Other communities in neighboring countries, elsewhere in Europe, and in the United States are also facing and addressing these challenges in their own way and will be invited to share their experiences and solutions. We expect 200 participants from all over Europe and the United States.

Concurrently with this year's Brown Forum, the Embassy will host a start-up program for young tech entrepreneurs. Geek Business Camp will teach 30 ICT students from Southeast Europe to hone their ideas and develop an actual ICT product or business. Speakers participating in the Brown Forum will mentor the participants, evaluate their projects, and select the best proposals at the end of the camp. The winners will receive awards from the organizing partners. Combining the Brown Forum policy discussions with the Geek Business Camp competition will allow the policy discussion to be informed and influenced by practical business considerations.

For more details on the 2015 Forum, please visit our Program and Schedule pages.   

In April 1996, Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown led a trade mission to Southeast Europe to promote democracy and trade in a region just emerging from a period of war. Because he believed that the path to sustainable democracy and peace in the region would be greatly smoothed by increasing international trade and investment, he wanted to personally bring leaders of U.S. firms to meet the local business and government leaders who would guide the economic futures of the new states. Tragically, Secretary Brown and 34 others perished when their plane crashed on approach to the Dubrovnik Airport before they could complete their mission.

In April 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, the Government of Croatia, the Croatian President’s Office and the Croatian Employers’ Association, organized “The Brown Forum: U.S. and Southeast European Trade and Investment.”  The 2011 Brown Forum provided a unique opportunity for over 200 government and business leaders from seven countries in the Southeast European region and the United States to come together for a wide-ranging dialogue about improving the attractiveness of Southeast Europe as a destination for foreign investment and trade. With over 60 U.S. businesses and over 80 regional businesses represented at the Forum, the event also promoted direct business to business contact to explore partnership and investment opportunities.

In April 2012, “The Brown Forum – Economic Opportunities at the Municipal Level” was held in Opatija, Croatia.  Municipal and local government as well as business leaders from Southeast Europe and the United States gathered to discuss how local entities can promote economic growth, provide support to local businesses and market a municipality’s resources and benefits to potential investors.  The forum also created another opportunity for U.S. business and businesses from the region to directly connect and explore possible cooperation. 

In April 2013, more than 200 entrepreneurs, investors, and government and business leaders from the United States, Croatia, and neighboring countries met in Zadar for “The Brown Forum: Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital.” The event provided a platform for a wide-ranging dialogue about how entrepreneurs can help promote economic growth, ways the public sector can support entrepreneurs, how to attract investment in good projects, and building the next generation of entrepreneurs.

In April 2014, the City of Zagreb hosted “Brown - the Future of Energy in Southeast Europe,” which brought together government, industry and academic experts from Europe and the United States to discuss energy trends in the region and propose policy solutions that lead to energy optimization, focusing both on fostering new sources of energy supply and on conservation. By combining the public policy discussion with an emphasis on practical business solutions, the 2014 Brown Forum was able to link up policy decision makers with the private sector companies that are focused on providing solutions to tomorrow's energy challenges.