What kind of social enterprise legal work do you do?
We advise foundations, associations and other non-profit organisations in Croatia and are currently working intensely on the project of establishing the first ethical bank in Croatia
Describe one aspect of social enterprise law in your country which works well and one aspect which needs to change
Social enterprise law is still in its early stages and the biggest obstacle is that it is still perceived as another version of the public sector. Entrepreneurs still don’t generally see economic potential in the social enterprise model, so that is something that we want to change in the coming years.
What do you think the future holds for social enterprise law in your country?
In my opinion, it will become increasingly important as NGO’s start filling the gap in various fields in which public sector cannot keep pace with social change any more.
How long have you been working in social enterprise law?
I have been working in social enterprise law in its various forms from the beginning of my career. It first started as a form of pro bono work for disadvantaged groups or individuals and evolved into transformation of corporate culture within our fee-earning clients. For the past five years, we have been working on a very complex project involving the formation of the first Croatian “ethical development bank”, which has the potential to be landmark social enterprise project in the country.
Why did you decide to specialise in social enterprise law?
I came to the view that the public sectors social support schemes were highly inefficient and did not encourage an entrepreneurial spirit. Our aim as a legal office was to help people to become self-sustainable and also to reinvest part of the profits for public good. In other words, we saw potential where others saw only costs. By helping people to start socially driven businesses on their own, we also created a market for our services. As their businesses grew, so did demand for our services.
Describe an interaction or encounter with a social enterprise that inspired you.
I have been deeply impressed by Apopo and their ‘hero rats’ and how they successfully used scientific research to make a socially driven business which is having an incredible impact by sweeping vast areas of land mines.
If you could describe social enterprise law in one word, what would it be?
What advice do you have for social enterprise legal practitioners in Europe?
Good legal advice is highly appreciated among social entrepreneurs and can really create value. The complexity of most legal systems in Europe makes legal practitioners key figures in the decision-making process of social enterprises and can really make the difference between success and failure.