BAIF Project Allows Croatian Teams Ability to Present Projects to Investors

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, these Croatian teams have as such completed the very first phase of the BAIF project with the ultimate goal of developing an alternative capital market aimed at investing in entrepreneurs and enterprises which are just getting off the ground and which carry with them the possibility of generating social impact.

The ambassadors of investments in projects with a positive social impact

These are all entrepreneurial ideas that create a positive social impact for the economy and society as a whole, contribute to solving some of the key social challenges we face today, promote sustainable development and innovative ways of doing business, all while creating new jobs.

Here in Croatia, unfortunately, we have a relatively low number of socially impactful enterprises, and we also have a dire lack of private investment and appropriate financial conditions. On top of that, there is a general lack of understanding on the part of potential investors for the concept of investing in social entrepreneurs and their companies.

The BAIF project aims to positively influence the current investment climate through a constructive dialogue between the public and private sectors that supports a positive entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to establish a new sustainable investment mechanism that further values ​​social performance.

Over the past year, partners within the BIAF project (the project holder is Krapina-Zagorje County, and the partners are the Zagorje Development Agency, the Krapina-Zagorje County Entrepreneurship Centre, Feelsgood Capital Partners and the Croatian Employers’ Association/HUP) have continuously researched and considered some of the best practices in Croatia’s immediate region. They place an emphasis on a stimulating environment for the growth of companies with social impact and the possibilities of new financial mechanisms, alternative sources of capital are also significant.

The general level of overall awareness of entrepreneurs and the investment community about companies that generate a positive social impact is still relatively underdeveloped, but successful entrepreneurs are an indication that this way of thinking about does generate benefits for society as a whole and is more interesting to investors on the whole. Entrepreneurs can readily show that generating positive performance and generating profit which guarantees a return on investment becomes a necessity and is the foundation of engaging in sustainable business.

Why is the BAIF project different from similar programmes?

As part of the BAIF project, all of the participants in investment readiness workshops underwent an online training session lasting three to four weeks, where with the help of thirteen renowned mentors of various fields of expertise, they learned first hand how to develop their idea into a real small business ready for investment, growth and success.

The educational programme was conducted electronically using the BAIF LMS platform and the lessons were pre-recorded and could be taken at any time, which greatly facilitated the participation of the entrepreneurs. In addition to video lessons, the participants of the programme received all of the necessary accompanying materials as additional value – such as useful templates for the application of various methodologies and a tool in MS Excel for business planning.

Through the BAIF project, entrepreneurs worked hard on identifying opportunities in the environment, setting up a business model and making financial projections, and in the finals of each bootcamp, they were given the opportunity to present their project to potential investors.

Martina Mrsic, an entrepreneur and the owner and director of Imam Rijec, a participant in the fifth round in Zagreb, characterised the programme as providing an extremely valuable set of tools that have long-term value.

“A total of 102 startups in 365 days devised their business models, networked with fellow entrepreneurs and opened the doors of the investment world – with a clear commitment to generating social impact. Their success is the success of this project. The BAIF project continues to form a new financial mechanism with which we’ll work to offer the funding that every startup needs at the very beginning, which is lacking in the Croatian ecosystem,” explained Helena Matusa, the director of the Krapina-Zagorje County Entrepreneurship Centre and the BAIF project manager.

For more, check out our business section.


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