VERN' has, through the process of defining and inventing its educational goals and programmes, as well as its growth into a respectible academic institution, brought an entrepreneurial way of thinking and entrepreneurial business culture into the Croatian higher education. On the other hand, early and successful introduction of Bologna educational standards from the very beginning has promoted VERN' into a pioneer of the European inspired reform of the overall Croatian higher educational sector.
By growing into the first Croatian private university of applied sciences, VERN' opens a new developmental cycle. The space capacity has been expanded and modernized, several capital staff recruitments have taken place, own book-publishing activity has commenced, as reputable world-known universities, investment into training of the existing staff has continued, and by the entry of the Zagreb School of Management into the VERN' Group, the portfolio of educational programmes has expanded to also include tourism.
At the same time, VERN' has begun the activities focused on tackling with important social issues and familiarizing the Croatian public with the thoughts of prominent domestic and international authorities of the economic, social and political thought.
PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION
Opening of the system of higher education and the society in whole toward the private sector and entrepreneurial initiatives which derive from it are relatively newer occurances in the Croatian social environment. The retrospective of almost twenty years of VERN's existence, ten of which it has existed as an institution of higher education, represents at the same time the history of introducing healthy competition and market principles into the sector of higher education in Croatia.
Today, in significantly changed circumstances with 30 private higher education schools that are present on the market, VERN' is undoubtedly the market leader and has additionally strengthened its leadership position by acquisition of the Zagreb School of Management, so that it now occupies almost 50% of the market of private business higher education in Croatia.
VERN' was founded in 1990, and the VERN' University of Applied Sciences, as a higher-educational institution under the name of the Accredited Higher School for Entrepreneurial Economics begun its operation in 2000 based on the accreditation and the decision of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia.
As the first Croatian private business school of higher education, VERN' has started its academic existence with the professional studies of Entrepreneurial Economics, which even today represents the backbone of VERN's undergraduate study programs and business culture promoted by the VERN's educational programs.
In 2001, in the spirit of Bologna process, VERN' started its pioneer venture of introducing Bologna standards into the Crotian system of higher education.
In 2002 VERN' joined, in cooperation with the Vaasa University from Finland and the ISTUD Institute from Milan, Italy, into the Tempus Project of the European Union, with a common project of developing the entrepreneurial higher education in the region.
The following academic year, VERN's educational incubator has yielded the first generation of bachelors with the title of entrepreneurial economist, who quickly find their place on the labour market.
2005 was marked by the VERN's «quantum leap» toward a new level of organization and development of educational programs. A new undergraduate study of IT in Business was introduced, with an ambitious step toward the graduate levels of higher education by launching 3 specialist studies - Entrepreneurial Management, Managing Business Communication and Accounting and Finance. The number of enrolled students in all studies approaches the number of 1.000.
In2007, the Accredited Higher School for Entrepreneurial Economics becomes the VERN' University of Applied Sciences, the first Croatian private university of applied sciences oriented to business education with strong emphasis on the development of entrepreneurial view. Simultaneously with the new organisational standards, the teaching standards are also improving. VERN' opens new, contemporary spaces at the Importanne Galleria with addition of multimedia classrooms, student library, staff room and student canteen.
In 2009 VERN' is the leading character in the first successful project of grouping in the sector of higher education. The Zagreb School of Management specialized in education of menagerial staff in tourism joins the VERN' Group. By this acquisition, VERN' has for now completed its portfolio of strategically chosen educational programs (entrepreneurship, IT, communications, finance and tourism) of exceptional importance for the Croatian economy. In 2010 VERN' moved in the new teaching and administrative premises in the Importanne Gallery, at Drago Ibler's Square 10, Zagreb. Also, the document VERN' 2020, which defines strategic framework for development in the next ten years, was presented at the ceremony in the presence of Ph.D. Radovan Fuchs, Minister of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia.
In 2011 School of Journalism (Visoka novinarska škola, VNŠ), an institution of higher education specialized in educating media experts, joins VERN' Group. By this integration, VERN' completes the vertical of media-communications studies, which achieves the planned stages of progressive growth into an integrated, innovative, European university which offers six academic disciplines: economy, finance, media, tourism, ICT, and applied arts in the near future.
In 2012 the International university center VERN-Vis was opened, as a result of a successful cooperation between the City of Vis and VERN'. At the International University Center VERN’-Vis students, academics and business experts from all over the world will have a chance to experience a unique model of studying in the island's special ambience that provides many opportunities for academic and extracurricular activities.
VERN's target products is the transferred knowledge, to be precise - knowledge that may be highly applied in business practice. Namely, these are applicable multi-disciplinary business skils based on economic, legal, communications and other theories of essential significance for business practice, which are acquired throught interactive study in one of the 3 undergraduate and 4 graduate studies through problem-solving concept of teaching in small study groups.
POWER OF THE BRAND
In the perception of even an average consumer of Croatian mass media (television channels, national periodicals and magazines, as well as the most popular radio stations), VERN' undoubtedly takes position of the most prominent educational brand in the past several years. Such a staus was realized, among other things, because of the methodical promotional strategy which has often included into the set of its promotional activities the forms that are quite atypical of classic institutions of higher education. From intensive advertising presence through TV-commercials, newspaper ads and radio jingles, through sponsorships and organising social events with good media coverage (professional gatherings, conferences, guest lecturers, concerts), organizing professional quiz-games in the business printed media, placement of promotional industry movies, promotions in high schools throughout Croatia, to the active, almost every-day communication with the media, VERN' has been finding ways to reach its target audiences by introducing quite new patterns of public presence of educational institutions.
With the appearance of VERN' and its market positioning, the education in Croatia has for the first time been present in the actual meaning of the word as a market-based brand. The VERN' brand today represents a highly distinctive mark in the Croatian public for professional private business education based on entrepreneurial philosophy and confirmed global educational standards.
By strengthening the value of the VERN's brand, the value of VERN's students simultaneously increases, as well as of the alumni.