ACT Group Impact Report 2017 has been published

ACT Group and its six member organisations implemented 21 projects in various areas (ecological agriculture, sustainable waste management, textile production, home care, education, design and printing, accounting and bookkeeping services, education, consulting and other services) for more then 15.000 direct beneficiaries in 2017.

We had total annual revenue of USD 1.413.194 (48% revenue from sales of goods and services) and all member organizations ended the year positively with profit after taxation of USD 45.138.

The return to the state budget (through contributions and wages, VAT, profit tax) amount was USD 211.857, or 41% more than received from direct state donations. Compared with the previous year, this represents anincrement by 28%.

43% of our 51 workers in total are in disadvantaged positions - for them we paid USD 221.901 in wages and salaries, of which only 22% were covered by subsidies for disadvantaged workers. The ratio between the lowest and the highest salary is 1:3,9, and USD 12.601 is each worker added value realized.

In 2017 187 persons volunteered 3.872 hours through a variety of intellectual and/or social services and physical work - volunteers contribution to the social value was USD 21.683. We created USD 750.133 of value for the local community, while we received only USD 48.266 (18: 1) from the local budget.

This is just a part of the consolidated Annual Report on the Social impact of the ACT Group and its members that has been released and can be downloaded here.

We used the Social Return of Investment (SROI) methodology to calculate how much social value was generated by using available resources (capital, time, infrastructure and others) over a year.

ACT Group was the first organization in Croatia that started measuring its social impact in 2013 and  we regularly publish our annual reports ever since. We'll continue with this practice, but we can also do it for all other stakeholders and social economy actors through the Social Value Croatia network we are about to launch.

All too often key decisions about resources and policies are made using a limited economic concept of value, which fails to consider important effects on people and the environment. As the gap between rich and poor increases and the effects of climate change become more apparent, our work has never been more urgent.

Feel free to contact us if you need more information on our work or how to measure your social impact.


The Business Skills Academy - cooperation between non-profit and business sector

Applications for The Business Skills Academy, our new program of education for managers in civil society organizations and social enterprises are open. Program will be organized as an innovative modular training program led by corporations' professionals.

The Academy was initiated by the School of Social Economy, an adult education institution owned by ACT Group, in collaboration with companies A1 Croatia, Erste Bank, INA, Philip Morris Zagreb and PwC Croatia.

The program will take place from November 2018 to May 2019 in Zagreb, and will include 10 lectures on management skills, decision making, planning, organization, communication, human resource management, management, sales, finance and social impact measurement given by 10 prominent experts from business sector.

The comprehensive curriculum is defined based on previous research among potential users, and fully meets the needs of bigger nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in Croatia.

One can apply at http://akademija.dp.hr/ till November 12 at noon.

For more information visit the website http://akademija.dp.hr or Facebook page www.facebook.com/AkademijaPoslovnihVjestina.


Punk Entrepreneurs on Tour

The book "Punk Entrepreneurs" published on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of ACT Group shows a raising interest of general public and media recently. The book was partially funded through crowdfunding campaign by 300 people and organizations.  One can read an interview that author Robert Posavec gave for the Novosti magazine, Stjepan's for the Poslovni Dnevnik or a talk that Igor, Stjepan and Robert had with the Nacional magazine journalist (all in Croatian, though).

We plan a whole series of book presentations and inspirational conversations about social/impact entrepreneurship in several cities in Croatia and the region for this autumn. At this moment we can announce events in Rijeka (OKC Palach, 6.9.2018, 18h, link), Pula (Community Center Rojc, 7.9.2018, 19h; link) and Varaždin (Medina Škrinja Pub, 11.9.2018, 18h; link).

"Punk Entrepreneurs" is the first Croatian book on social entrepreneurship and the struggle for a human economy, which former activists have successfully run in the north of Croatia for 15 years. The story is about two young men who, together with their friends and associates, launched tens of initiatives, conducted programs and projects that involved over 100.000 users and established various social enterprises that work successfully today.

The story brings a series of events that were not supposed to happen, but which authentically and openly talk about mistakes that may come in business, especially management. The story also brings successful moments of pride, and all together it provides many lessons to the reader. "Punk Entrepreneurs" is a book about entrepreneurship written in literary style, fun, sincere, and above all instructive, and encompasses the establishment and management of various forms of enterprises that have a strong social impact.

You can get it in all better bookstores in Croatia, order on their web shops (soon on Amazon too!) or directly from us at http://knjiga.act-grupa.hr/. The book is in Croatian language.


#GSEN2018, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network annual event held in Canada

The key annual event of Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN), whose ACT Group is an active member, was held from 5-9 August in Toronto, Canada.

The program included a network members' empowerment and capacity building session, the development of a network strategy for the next three years, including the development of concrete actions for each region (eg Europe, focusing on actions in South East Europe). We also had a chance to learn on Canadian models and good practice examples (by paying a visit to Center for Social Innovation, The Good Foot Delivery and MaRs, the largest innovation hub in the world) and the Canadian ecosystem for the development of social entrepreneurship (through a brief conference and several panels).

GSEN is the first network that is internationally engaged in the exchange of knowledge and experience in social entrepreneurship. It was initiated by UnLtd, the UK's leading social support organization, with the support of the UK Government. The GSEN Network aims to enable faster development and networking of support organizations to social entrepreneurs, through joint learning and sharing of experiences, and raise awareness of the importance of developing social-practice practices worldwide.
The network currently brings together about 50 supporting organizations from about 50 countries from all 6 continents.


PNS Social Impact Report certified and internationally recognized

The "Start Something of Your Own " program  (Pokreni nešto svoje, in Croatian) encourages projects with a positive social impact on the economy, society and the environment and responds to the needs of startups for advisory, business development and financial support. We have established and implemented it since 2016 in cooperation and with the financial support of Philip Morris Zagreb Ltd.

n the first year of the program (2016/2017), six projects were supported. Besides awarded grants ACT Group has provide continuous mentoring business support, mentoring in project implementation and efficient use of project results, project promotion through program campaign and social impact measurement of the projects.

A very strict school definition of social influence is the contribution that an organization creates through its activities, which includes a series of long-term effects on the community and the well-being of the individual. We may say that social influence is the story of the positive changes in the society created for us, our company, our organization, our activities.

Social impact measurment is a process that requires interaction between the organization and all its key stakeholders because it is important to hear from those who are experiencing (positive) changes in the process.

Social Return of Investment (SROI) is a method of social impact measurement that can be used to calculate how much social value is generated by using available resources (capital, time, infrastructure, etc...) during project implementation.

By measuring the social influence (done by our team member Sunčana Glavina Petričević) it was established that during the first year of implementation of SSoYO program (PNS), for every 1,00 Kn invested, 1.40 Kn of new social value was created.

The report (you can download it here) was certified by Social Value International, a global multisectoral and multidisciplinary network, present in 45 countries on all continents, aimed at measuring social impact and social value. The PNS Social Return of Investment Report is one of the first internationally certified SROI reports in the region.

The ACT Group will continue to measure the social impact of the PNS program and projects supported  in the second year (2017/2018), alumni in other support programs, as well as for all other stakeholders and actors of the social economy through the network Social Value Croatia that is about to be launched soon.

Because, as they explain in SVI, all too often key decisions about resources and policies are made using a limited economic concept of value, which fails to consider important effects on people and the environment. As the gap between rich and poor increases and the effects of climate change become more apparent, our work has never been more urgent.


First generation of the Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurs program introduced to investors and creditors

Demo Day II, held on Tuesday, July 17, officially marked the end the first year of implementation of Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurs, our new support program. The program was launched in co-operation with one of the world's leading microfinance funds, the European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE) and the EFSE Development Facility which promotes the development impact of its investments, and Erste Bank and their ERSTE Foundation from Vienna.

Five of the best and most ready social enterprises in Croatia presented their business ideas in front of the expert jury and (impact) investors and creditors from Croatia and abroad, They were selected after two levels of selection and semi-annual intensive work with their mentors and consultants. These are: BRLOG Cooperative Brewery (Zadar), Marunuša j.d.o.o. (Knin), ProPuh j.d.o.o. (Zagreb), Social Cooperative Humana Nova (Čakovec) and Green Energy Cooperative (Zagreb).

During the first year of implementation program provided support for 15 social entrepreneurs who, with the help of mentors, developed their business models and learned how to successfully present projects to potential investors. During the ten-month intensive work, the selected teams have undergone a pre-acceleration phase (dealing with prototyping, testing and validation of the solution and having the opportunity for further networking) and the acceleration phase of the program (enterprise development / scaling, market development, marketing), and the program provided small grants for further development of their projects.

On Tuesday, ADP Demo Day II was held in Zagreb, with final presentation of business models and presentation of developed products / services. The jury members Jasmina Petrović (EFSE DF / Finance in Motion), Tina Sirotić (Erste Bank), Ranko Milić (Eupolis Group) and Hrvoje Bogdan (Adizes Southeast Europe) gave contestants feedback on the presented entrepreneurial ventures and advices for a successful entry into the market.

More than 50 representatives of social enterprises and support organizations, investors, financial institutions, public administration and the media attended the event.

The panel discussion "Situation and Development Potential of Support to Social Entrepreneurs in Croatia and the Western Balkans Region" was held afterwards with Mirjana Šakić (Erste Group), Jasmina Petrović (EFSE DF / Finance in Motion), Renata Brkić (Feelsgood SI Venture, World Business Angels Investment Forum), Predrag Borojević (Funky Guerrilla) and Stevica Kuharski (Locodels).

The key challenges faced by social entrepreneurs in Croatia are the lack of business support and the hard access to finance for development and growth. The accelerator for social entrepreneurs responds precisely to these challenges - it provides business support for the development and realization of new projects for social entrepreneurs with stable business, is concluded during the roundtable.


SROI Practitioner Training held in Zagreb

Following the success of our February 2018 Social Return on Investment (SROI) Methodology Workshop - where our attendees got introduced to SROI methodology for assessing social impact, the first regional training for SROI Practitioners was held this week.

We organized a two-day SROI Practitioner Training, in cooperation with Social Value International, a network that we are member off. Training was led by Dr. Adam Richards of Social Value UK. The aim of the training was to increase the knowledge and to teach the participants to use the tools to measure and maximize the social impact of their activities.

the most wide spread, well established, framework for assessing social impact. It enables us to measure the amount of social value created, from the input resources (capital, time, infrastructure etc.), during the project duration. SROI focuses on key stakeholders and the change affected upon them as a result of interventions or implementation of specified activities. The created change (social, environmental and economic outcomes) is represented in attributed monetary value, thus enabling us to calculate the SROI ratio. From the calculated ratio we learn how much EUR was made for the society for each 1 EUR of initial investment.

On the first day of training, participants were step by step breakdown of the SROI methodology for measuring social impact. The training will be applied knowledge based, meaning the lectures will connect the theoretical knowledge to the real issues of attendees’ projects (as opposed to the usual case studies approach). The attendees will be given self-assessment tools and access to Global Value Exchange system. In the final objective of the day the attendees will learn Mapping Outcomes.

The second day of the training was all in deepening the understanding of the SROI methodology and practices; including the techniques of: evidencing outcomes and attributing value to the same; establishing impact; calculating the SROI; reporting, using and embedding.

The training was led by Dr. Adam Richards, SROI consultant and practitioner, Senior Researcher for Social Value UK and Social Value International, and member of permanent faculty at University of York.

Social Value International is currently the only organization offering the certificate for SROI practitioners worldwide. The above described two-day workshop is the first requirement in admittance to SROI practitioner certification process. Within this admittance process the applicants need to fill out the minimum requirement of one SROI report which then needs to be submitted to Social Values International for verification.

All certified SORI practitioners are featured on the Social Value International member directory through which they can be offered contract engagements.

ACT Group for its member organizations and other clients (civil society organizations, social enterprises, startups ...) provides a service of social impact measurement. If you want to know more or want to have a certified report on the social impact of your activities, request a meeting.


Results of the second call "Start Something of Your Own"

The winners of the second call of "Start something of Your Own", our support program for entrepreneurial projects in Croatia, were announced and presented to public during the press conference held in Zagreb earlier today.
The top seven projects selected among hundreds submitted application, which will, in addition to financial support, receive continuous consultative business support for the development of their projects over the next six months are:

  • Brlog Cooperative Brewery (Zadar)
    The Zadar brewery Brlog, the first cooperative brewery in Croatia, markets high quality, naturally brewed beer Plavuša. The project will enable increased production capacity and energy efficiency of brewery, technology development and greater product quality. It will also affect the stability of business, new employment and strengthening the brand in front of growing competition.
  • OmoLab - Craft for Visual Communication (Split)
    Within our cultural circle, all children's studies are based on experiential metaphors or methods that do not match the cognitive style of dyslexic children. As manifestations of dyslexia are exceptionally individual and have a broad spectrum, OmoLab develops communication tools of a unique visual language that can be adapted to the specific needs of users.
  • K-zona - Gender and Media Culture (Zagreb)
    Looking how to present the achievements of women in an interesting way for the broad public, the K-Zone Association has developed, in cooperation with 8 local artists, a fun, dynamic and educational social game for 2-5 players ideal for playing in a family or friendly circle. The goal of social game Fierce Women break gender stereotypes and prejudices about the abilities, interests and achievements of women and make their work visible by empowering such new generations of fierce women.
  • Croatian Scout Association (Zagreb)
    The Internet platform GoScouting Croatia will help revitalize the unused public land in Croatia for scouts and young people from Croatia and the world. The platform represents an innovative approach to expanding tourism in Croatia by combining several elements into a functional whole: youth, travel, nature, local community, volunteering, culture and international connectivity.
  • Vilko Klein (Zagreb)
    StratoWave solutions connect drones and other facilities, and enable high-speed and distant data transfer to users outside urban areas unconnected with publicly available wireless telecommunication infrastructure. Competitive pricing will enable lower budget users to benefit from new technologies, thus opening up new markets and jobs, creating savings and increasing profits and/or cheap products and services. It will also empower civilian monitoring, search and rescue capabilities in emergencies and crisis.
  • Vollo tehnologije d.o.o. (Zagreb)
    Vollo is a platform for easy travel planning, transparent price and service comparison, and fast and secure shopping of ticket stores. The project will provide a greater number of service users, as well as better and more healthy competition among carriers. It will stimulate the setting of higher living standards for the local population as well as leave a quality image for tourists as a modern and well-deserved destination with its accompanying digital infrastructure.
  • Green Energy Cooperative (Zagreb)
    Kvartfunding is an online platform for group investment in renewable energy sources that, along with other innovative investment models, is developed by the Green Energy Cooperative. By supporting the projects on the platform, citizens will contribute to the development of their local community through cost-effective investments, become active participants in the green energy transition, and to contribute to the creation of renewable, sustainable and green Croatia for all future generations.

"Again, in the second year of implementation of the program, we have got a very impressive response, not only according to the number of applications, but also because the submitted projects are well designed and elaborated. It was even more difficult to choose the best ones this year, which only tells us that there is an outstanding entrepreneurial potential in our midst, in which strong will, excellent ideas and enthusiasm are not really missing, "said Teo Petričević, ACT Group's Director.

The competition was open on October 24, 2o17 and by the end of call 316 applications from all over Croatia were received. 20 projects were selected for the second round by the expert commission. The selected projects, the finalists of the competition, were distinguished by the innovation they bring, the social impact the project will have and the potential for growth and sustainability of the project idea.

"From the beginning and the development of the concept of this program, we were oriented towards its long-term and the creation of a concrete measurable difference for a single economic branch in Croatia in need of structured support. We are proud that during the second year of the program we see the presence of a large and high quality response, but also the real impact that this program enables, "added Stanko Kršlović, Head of Corporate Affairs of Philip Morris Zagreb d.o.o. which finances the program.

Total value of the financial support is 536,295.00 Kn and the selected projects will be financed up to a maximum amount of 80,000.00 Kn.


Investors in social impact entrepreneurial projects at the Impact 2018 conference

During the Impact 2018 conference Zagreb will host innovative socially responsible businesses, investors and organizations from Europe and the region. This conference, first of its kind in the region, will take place on February 14 and 15 in the premises of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, and is organized by Brodoto and ACT Group. The aim of the conference is to bring together all the actors creating positive changes in the society - civil society, private companies, investors, foundations and social enterprises.

"We are making socially responsible business closer to the general public, we insist on the dynamic TED-talk form of lectures, the fast ignite presentation format and opening up the space for interaction with the audience, and we are especially proud that we will gather representatives of social impact funds from the United States and Europe for the first time in Croatia , funds willing to invest serious money into projects that bring direct benefits to society, "said Marko Gregović, director of the conference.

Impact 2018 will offer participants the opportunity to acquire new practical knowledge thanks to a combination of lectures, panels and workshops that will be held by over thirty highly qualified domestic and international lecturers, including representatives of socially responsible IKEA, Vipnet, Patagonia, Erste Group and non-profit fundraising platform "Činim pravu stvar".

"Everyone who is interested in social responsibility or socially beneficial projects will be able to find something interesting at the conference. We managed to confirm over thirty speakers and the biggest international names associated with social innovations and projects - from Rodney Schwartz from the British investment bank ClearlySo, which annually invests millions in socially viable projects, or Rohit Dave from the Twilio Impact Fund from Silicon Valley, to Biljana Dakić Đorđević, who runs the Innovative Trag Foundation in Serbia" Teo Petričević, Program Director of Impact 2018, said.

There will be two competitions at the Impact conference. Social business will compete in front of investors for the best socially beneficial business project. Non-profit organizations from Croatia and Serbia will present campaigns conducted over the past year and compete for the title of the best non-profit campaign. The winner of both competitions will be selected by an international jury composed of distinguished experts.

The Impact 2018 Conference will be held with the support of the United States Embassy, ​​the German Marshall Fund, the Ministry of Labor and Pension System, VIPnet, Heineken, the European Fund for the Balkans and other sponsors.