Adopted in 2015, the “Strategy for the Development of Social Entrepreneurship in the Republic of Croatia for the period 2015-2020” represents a seminal document for the creation of a policy framework for social enterprises1. The Strategy’s main objective is to boost social enterprise creation and growth in Croatia by establishing more supportive institutional and financial frameworks.
1Terminological inconsistences still exist in the Croatian discourse, where the terms social entrepreneurship, social enterprise and social entrepreneur are often used interchangeably.
Prior to the Strategy, the policy discourse recognised social entrepreneurship only as a component of civil society, and social enterprises struggled to adapt to unsuitable and sometimes contradictory regulations. The Strategy was developed to acknowledge their unique specificities and better meet their needs.
The Strategy’s overall implementation relies on bringing together multiple stakeholders: relevant ministries and national government institutions, as Strategy co-owners; local authorities; local and regional development agencies; CSOs; social enterprises; financial institutions; and academia.
The Strategy includes four main measures:
- Develop and improve the legislative and institutional framework. This implies setting up a dedicated institutional body and official register of social enterprises; harmonising legislation; providing unused public spaces and buildings for use by social enterprises; developing partnerships among public bodies to support social entrepreneurship and developing a social impact measurement methodology.
- Establish an adequate financial framework by developing a unique guarantee mechanism/fund and provide systematic financial support (grant schemes) linked to EU funds and national budget co-financing.
- Promote social entrepreneurship through education by supporting social entrepreneurship educational programmes and lifelong learning projects; producing informative publications; encouraging further education about social entrepreneurship for teachers, adults and civil servants.
- Increase visibility and information by producing promotional materials, highlighting examples of good practices and by developing social-enterprise market labels.
The Strategy further prescribes the establishment of a Council for Social Entrepreneurship – an advisory body in charge of monitoring its implementation.
Considering its relatively recent implementation, no data on the impact of the Strategy was available at the time of preparation of this case study (2016-2017).
This case study was adapted from a longer piece that was published in the OECD/EC (2017), Boosting Social Enterprise Development: Good Practice Compendium. For additional information and details, please refer to the original publication