“Some people believe in telling stories. Some believe in doing things about which stories will be told in times to come.”
- Sharad Sagar, founder of Dexterity Global
Social entrepreneurship is all about sharing achievements and failures. It is about being present and working today for a better tomorrow. It means putting innovation in the first place, no matter how many hurdles you need to jump over.
There is not one single country that does not need social entrepreneurs, as they are the drivers of change: their mind is busy with words like Development Goals, Blue Economy, and Human Development. However, sometimes such big ideas do not fit with the current framework of the country entrepreneurs are operating in. The Conference on Social Entrepreneurship organized by HUKI, Ured za Kreativnost i Inovaciju on October 30th in Zagreb explored the challenges of social economy in Croatia and the interaction between enterprises and charitable organizations.
➡️ The most urgent issue to tackle is the absence of a supporting structure by the State. This means that while at European Union level there is a clear Action Plan for the Social Economy, which establishes guidelines and recommendations for all Member States, no common shared and obligatory framework is established, leaving each country able to act on its own. Croatia had a beautifully designed Strategy, but it was never followed through and everything was dropped in 2020. There is currently no formal recognition of social enterprises in the country.
➡️ Entrepreneurs also have difficulties in finding appropriate financing instruments, especially from private resources. The most common tool is the European Social Fund which is however public. Instead, banks and private investors are less likely to be involved in the social economy for two main reasons: either they do not understand what social economy is, or the funds that they offer are not suitable for smaller ventures with high risk of failing.
Despite the obstacles, a true entrepreneur would not give up.
✅ A social enterprise is no different from a normal business in how it is established. It just has a goal that is connected to human and/or environmental causes instead of being primarily driven by profit. Therefore, recognition by the State would be nice to get, but it is not an essential feature for the functioning of a social enterprise. As long as the right structures are in place, the business should be able to stand on its own, like any other commercial activity.
✅ The key to getting investments is persistence and skills in selling ideas. It is not easy, but it is possible. Felloz is a perfect example in this scenario: no public money is involved, only private investors who became passionate about the cause and are satisfied with the product. The responsibility of convincing someone that their money is spent well falls completely on the enterprise, but there is no better way to know your company than to explain it to someone with as many questions as a possible investor.
At the conference, we of Felloz inspired dozens of social entrepreneurs, representatives of charitable organizations, and young people. By sharing our journey we made it possible for other people to learn, while at the same time getting a new wave of motivation to be even more successful.
Are you ready to make things about which stories will be told in times to come? Check out our employment opportunities: https://www.felloz.com/career
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