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 7 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 Petrović, GTF-ISG, Communication Manager


Kristina is responsible for the overall coordination of the RAISE Youth project internal and external communications. Her main duties include implementation of the communication strategy, preparing marketing materials, press releases, organizing events and variety of other tasks to ensure the project’s message is consistent and engaging.


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.

Slavo Grgić, GTF-ISG, 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.

Josipa Nikolić, GTF-ISG, Social Research Associate


Josipa’s main task is to focus on social aspects of RAISE Youth project. She is also working on design and implementation of applied research for adaptation of RAISE Youth model, monitoring and providing assistance to other members of working team.


Josipa is happy and motivated to work on projects like this that help young unemployed people find their motivation and decide to embark on the realization of their ideas and plans that grow into a business story.

Hajnalka Franić, GTF-ISG, RAISE DEMO Center Manager

Hajnalka is responsible for planning, organizing, and coordinating the daily professional operations of the DEMO center in Gospić, Croatia.


Her greatest happiness is working with young people because they are full of new and fresh ideas for our future.

Ana Carević, GTF-ISG,  Administrator


Ana is the administrator in GTF Zagreb office. Her main duty is supporting the smooth running of the office by carrying out clerical tasks and projects. She is in charge of supporting the RAISE Youth team for optimal productivity.

Matea Biškupić, GTF-ISG,  Administrative Assistant


Matea is responsible for providing administrative support in general office management, maintaining appropriate filing systems and variety of other clerical and administrative tasks.


She is passionate about working with young people and showing them wide range of possibilities and potential they can use to achieve their goals.

Stjepan Dragaš, GTF-ISG, EcoAgro Manager

Stjepan is part of the RAISE Youth DEMO center team in Gospić. He is responsible for ensuring new models of farming and agricultural production that include a new approach to the way food is grown.

GTF – Initiative for Sustainable Growth

Savska cesta 41/2, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia