GTF – Initiative for Sustainable Growth

GTF-Initiative for Sustainable Growth (GTF-ISG) has persevered for 20+ years and continues to play the role of a regional institution for shaping policies & practices through public advocacy and actions on issues of women entrepreneurship, rural development and gender equality in South East Europe. GTF-ISG believes in international cooperation with various stakeholders from the public sector, institutions, private sector and civil society and in the mutual transfer of knowledge and experiences with these same stakeholders in order to create strong networks and platforms that have a similar vision and goals. GTF-ISG has expertise in multi-stakeholder cooperation; policy reforms for entrepreneurship, rural development, social dialogue; women’s economic empowerment and self-employment; women entrepreneurship mentoring, policy making, research and advocacy; media and public campaigns; international exchange and institutional cooperation with 13 South East European Countries. GTF-ISG has extensive experience in leading the projects where there are several countries involved. GTF has worked with a broad range of donors incl. EU, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Croatia, RCC, UN, etc.

GTF-ISG won 1st prize for best Social Innovation in Croatia in 2016 from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). GTF-ISG specializes in multi stakeholder cooperation and innovative practices to reaching measurable goals, while maintaining and upgrading existing practices as a rule. Seeking sustainable solutions to problems as diverse as migrant self-employment, Roma youth organizing to circular economy business models and coding for disadvantaged women, are our specialty.

Mary Ann Rukavina Cipetić, GTF-ISG, Project Coordinator


Mary Ann is responsible for the coordination of entire RAISE project which involves overall administrative, financial and policy management of all 6 project partners as well as legal representation of the consortium.


As project initiator and  coordinator Mary Ann’s  mission is to ensure the RAISE Youth program achieves its objectives and inspires many diverse actors to participate in its development and success. Upon completion of the pilot phase RAISE should be ready for transfer to other communities in the EU and globally.

Kristina Barać

Kristina Barać, GTF-ISG, Communication Manager


Kristina is responsible for the overall coordination of RAISE project communications, including all media channels.

Kristina is passionate about development projects and rural development. By organizing communication channels on this project, she hopes to breach the gap between NEETs and their surroundings, raising social awareness of stakeholders and the public.

Marina Tomić Škarica, GTF-ISG, Operations Manager


Marina is responsible for day-to-day project management and coordination.


She enjoys working on innovative projects where she can contribute to engaging & motivating the underprivileged groups.

Zvonimir Podravec, GTF-ISG, RAISE Youth Demo-Center Manager


Zvonimir is responsible for the management of the RAISE Demo Center in the City of Gospić.


Zvonimir believes that the happiest people on earth can join two things, their jobs and their passion. Helping and mentoring young people to find their track in life and become (self)employed makes him a happier person. Zvonimir believes that there are only two things that define us as a person: our birth and our legacy – what we leave behind. That is why this is his dream job.

Slavo Grgić, GTF-ISG, RAISE Youth Agro Manager

Slavo is responsible for building the capacity of the NEETs in the local community in processing of the agricultural products and assisting beneficiaries to market their products by connecting them to the market. In cooperation with relevant stakeholders and experts, Slavo will conduct the training for local NEETS potential farmers and producers, particularly women and youth, in the target communities.

He is passionate about working with young people and helping those who might benefit from his knowledge and experience.

Nikolina Alduk, GTF-ISG, Financial Administrator


Nikolina is responsible for organizing GTF’s day-to-day accounting procedures, for maintaining records for all transactions, preparing financial reports, providing support in general office management and variety of other tasks in coordination with the GTF team.



Nikolina’s motivation lies in the desire to help young people to re-engage into labor market. Although she is not directly involved in the activities, Nikolina is pleased to be part of a team that helps to improve the statistical picture of Croatia, especially Lika.