A year and a half ago I was discussing the idea of doing a crowdinvesting project for solar energy in Croatia during the REScoop General Assembly. Then Paul from Energy4all, our British idols, told me – Do not think about it. Do it!
I sweetly recalled that moment in May this year when we finally succeeded in launching and soon after completing the first crowdinvesting campaign in Croatia. And we have managed to get on board first ever 53 citizens-investors in renewable energy, we managed to demonstrate what community energy is.
Very soon, we were approached by dozens of interested cities and citizens and we are now building the pipeline for the future community energy solar projects. We successfully developed our own crowdinvesting platform ZEZ Invest – and it is open for you to register!
The Platform was developed thanks to the grant we received from Pokreni nešto svoje, and support we got from the Accelerator for Social Entrepreneurs – while being selected among top 5 social entrepreneurs in Croatia.
The pre-launch of our campaign was organized in style too – during the Good Energy Summit that we organized on the island Vis and in front of more than 80 energy and climate change makers from Croatia, from the region and from the EU as well.
This was also a marvelous way to finalize the project Good Energy in Social Entrepreneurship in which we trained 35 unemployed and young people on energy and social skills in 5 cities so they can provide assistance to energy vulnerable households as energy saving advisors.
For that work and for the projects in the past that are related to fighting energy poverty in local communities we were recognized and invited as a speaker by the European Commission for the Energy Day at COP 24 in Katowice – so it got me the first time to participate on the world largest show on climate change.
With the support from Energy Cities, the EU Network of Cities, we are supporting cities in Croatia in their energy transition – and we have marked 10 years of Covenant of Mayor’s initiative.
We spread the community energy buzz in the region thanks to the project with GIZ in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have trained 8 local initiatives to kick-start community energy projects and first community energy campaign is already online while we also shaped and proposed legal amendments for community energy.
We have built up some new partnerships on the way – together with Terra Hub, Impact Hub Zagreb, Mreža znanja and Geotechnical faculty we created the EIT Climate KIC Hub for Croatia, which was further strengthened with three more organizations as well. We co-organized the first Climathon event in Varaždin and engaged 80+ students in hacking climate change challenges – check out the video!
We were chosen to host next REScoop General assembly in Zagreb in 2019 – make sure you follow the news and save the date to visit the event!
All that time, we were active in developing and applying for new projects, and in the end, it totally paid off – we have reached the unbelievable mark of 50% success on Horizon – this year we passed successfully on 3 out of 6 Horizon applications. Yes, we rub our hands from excitement to work on them now!
And yes, we are still only a small team of 6 employees/warriors supported by 20 cooperative members. One of our warrior got a child in the process too – we still did not find time to celebrate it properly but for sure we will do!
Finally, we have earned the first million! For the second year in a row, we raised our revenue by more than 50% and created some profit that we would save for re-investing – as this is how cooperatives and social enterprises do.
But most importantly we have started to create a real social and ecological impact – for the next year and for the years to come we will continue to do just that! Happy New Year Folks!
Zoran Kordić, CEO and Co-founder