ACT Group is a community of social entrepreneurs founded in 2013 with the goal of fostering socially responsible economic development in Croatia and other Central and Eastern European countries. It provides entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises whose activities positively affect society and the environment (“socially responsible” or “impact enterprises”), especially marginalized groups, with support with the establishment, functioning and development of their enterprises.
・education – workshops, mentorship, consultancy services, assistance in writing project proposals or applying to training programs etc.
・networking and promotion
・financial support in the form of grants
They encourage their users to be open, innovative and persistent, and above all to adhere to the values of socially responsible business practices – cooperation, transparency, caring about people, readiness to make mistakes as part of the learning process, and reflection on the reasons that drive them to undertake their business ventures.
Programs supported by or related to activities of the ACT Group include:
・Social Impact Award Program (SIA Croatia) – a pre-incubation program for youth business initiatives
・Pokreni nešto svoje (“Start your own business”) – a support program for various entrepreneurial projects
・Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs – a cross-border exchange program where new entrepreneurs learn from experienced ones in other EU countries
・Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurs – a training program for entrepreneurs with an already recognized product on further business development and investment
・Business Skills Academy – a training program for socially responsible and non-profit enterprise managers taught by experts coming from large corporations
Throughout the 15 years of its existence, the ACT group has launched 13 non-profit organizations and socially responsible businesses and carried out 150 projects. Some of their notable enterprises include:
・the Humana Nova social cooperative which hires socially excluded individuals for the production and sales of textile made of eco-friendly and recycled materials
・a center for providing senior citizen care in Međimurje County (Centar za pomoć u kući Međimurske županije)
・the ACT Printlab d.o.o. graphic and web-design studio
・the ACT Konto d.o.o. accounting service for non-profit organizations
・the agricultural cooperative Domaći vrt
The 15th anniversary of the founding of ACT Group was accompanied by the publication of Pank poduzetnici (“Punk Entrepreneurs”), a book supported by over 300 individuals and organizations in the region via a crowdfunding campaign. Its author, Robert Posavec, tells the story of the ACT Group’s journey from its activist beginnings to becoming a regional social entrepreneurship leader, with special reference to mistakes made along the path to help readers avoid doing the same.
The DeLoitte Social Investment Leveraging Index report of December 2018 listed ACT Group as one of the key actors in the development of social innovations and investment in social impact enterprises in the region. The same report also named their social cooperative Humana Nova as an example of good practice.
The ACT Group is a member of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network, European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE), Euclid Network, Social Value International and European Social Enterprise Law Association.