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Naslovnica arrow English arrow Teo Petričević: “This award is in recognition of our many sleepless nights… It was worth it!”
Teo Petričević: “This award is in recognition of our many sleepless nights… It was worth it!”
Željka Mandić   
Utorak, 17 Travanj 2012

T.Petričević, ACT Čakovec
Executive director of ACT Čakovec, Teo Petričević received the first ever Croatian award for social entrepreneurship in January of this year. This month, ACT Čakovec plans to spend the 20,000 kuna that came with the prize and was given by Modra nit, a social entrepreneurship founded by the Slap Association, on – creating new jobs. Thus, ACT will continue developing social entrepreneurship in Croatia. We bring you an interview with Mr. Petričević.

Even though our main topic will be entrepreneurship, let’s start off with – feelings. What was it like to receive the first ever award for social entrepreneurship of the year?

The very project of giving awards, and in our case receiving one, has a deep and complex significance. Firstly, the fact that this project came to life at the turn of this year, the International Year of Cooperatives, confirms that a new era of comprehending, understanding and developing a different kind of economy, a sustainable and more humane economy, has begun in Croatia.

Over 40 nominations for the awards are proof enough. This project also demonstrates that the included parties have recognized the importance of making a change and that they view this direction in developing our society as the only correct and possible way of doing so. Secondly, the 12 nominated finalists reveal that Croatia has the capacities and resources to implement this type of entrepreneurship on a much wider scale. 

This award also creates an obligation to continue investing resources in the development of organizations (not only those founded by ACT, but also all other Croatian social entrepreneurships), projects and programs with the goal of sustainable social development and increasing our social capital. To conclude, we are delighted, invigorated and will continue to have an open, responsible, visionary and innovative direction

Thirdly, for us at ACT Čakovec, this award is a strong confirmation that the many sleepless nights, thousands and thousands of phone calls, planning and implementing various projects, hundreds of co-operations and partnerships with Croatian and European organizations were not in vain and that they have had a positive influence on our wider community.

At the award ceremony, you mentioned that part of the motivation for going into social entrepreneurship was your own personal experience from the private sector, where work did not have its proper value. You stated that it was dehumanized. What other motives did you have for venturing into social entrepreneurship?

It is my opinion that the insufficient utilization of connecting at a more gloabl level and the ownership structure of goods (material and informational), which is the result of the struggle to attain capital and power, cause various levels of inequality in the lives of individuals, a selective approach to information, knowledge and technology, a degradation of our environment, the layering of our society, as well as its general stagnation. The solution for these problems is the creation of equal opportunities, especially when it comes to the process of decision-making, and the prerequisite for that is a strong civil society.

The concept of an eco-friendly economy, which implies social justice and the sustainable use and protection of natural resources, must be introduced as an alternative to neoliberal capitalism, whose detrimental effect on the majority of people and Earth in general is being proven on a daily basis. The third precondition for sustainable development is that the entire social heritage (culture) be turned into public good and be used for the wellbeing of local communities and society in general. 

You are the founder of four entrepreneurships and the initiator of numerous projects related to social entrepreneurship…

The Autonomni Centar Čakovec – ACT – has helped found 4 social entrepreneurships: ACT Printlab d.o.o. – studio for graphic and web design, ACT Konto d.o.o. for accounting, bookkeeping and tax consulting, the Humana Nova Society for the production of textile from recycled and eco material, and the CEDRA Center for Eco-friendly Growth, which informs, consults and educates to help the development of social entrepreneurialism and local communities. The latter two entrepreneurships were founded in the second half of 2011.

Why are these entrepreneurships different from any other?

First of all, ACT and its social entrepreneurships are motivated by initiating /creating social change, not by maximizing profits. However, we must preserve our financial sustainability so that we can (re)invest our profit through business or providing for the community, creating goods to which everyone has equal access. For example, through announcing annual tenders for donations to associations, announcing tenders for various services, implementing a system of reward points for clients, and co-financing ACT’s other projects, the ACT Printlab d.o.o. gives back to the community what it has invested in it.
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