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.