Founded as a non-profit association Autonomous Centre ACT in 2003 by a group of young activists involved in civil society development, eco-social economy, free culture and socially engaged art, the association soon started to spin off social enterprises. Today, all these enterprises are clustered into a new brand titled ACT grupa (group) involving dozen of social enterprise initiatives: ACT Printlab d.o.o., ACT Konto d.o.o., Centre for Home Assistance of Međimurje County (Centar za pomoć u kući Međimurske županije), Social Agricultural Cooperative Domestic Garden (Socijalna poljoprivredna zadruga Domači vrt), Međimurje Volunteering Office (Volonterski ured Međimurja – VUM), Library (Knjižnica) Tabula Rasa, ACT Press, Social Cooperative Humana Nova, Community Centre Čakovec, Regional Foundation for Development of Local Community and Civil Society, Development and Establishment of the National System for Work Integration, Social Inclusion Restaurant Domače jelo, Education Institution for Social Economy – Institution for Adult Education and Zeleni prostori (Green Spaces) d.o.o.
Today, the group employs more around 50 employees, 44% of them belonging to disadvantaged groups. With 55% of their income coming from economic activities and almost 1 million euro of annual income at the group level, the group is representing the most advanced example of the social entrepreneurship initiated from a civil society initiative.
Although most of the social enterprises started through the group have benefitted from the EU funding, these social enterprises have started their economic activities early on and were pushed by most of the leaders and activists in the group, thus making their social entrepreneurship an exemplary pioneering effort at a scale much larger than Croatia.
Their pioneering role was soon recognized not only by the sector and the experts, but also but national and international bodies who awarded them with multiple awards and recognitions.
Although not without challenges, today, ACT Grupa is best practice model targeted as a social entrepreneurship study tours destination, training and consultancy expert think tank demanded by many social entrepreneurs and local communities in Croatia and region.