"We want cultural and business sector to become aware of the necessity of introducing trained staff"
If you are a second-year student of professional studies at the University of Applied Sciences Baltazar Zaprešić, you have definitely come across the Prosperikon Association. The founders and managers of this association for project and cultural management are the U.A.S. alumnae with a degree in Project Management. Upon graduation, they decided to set up their own association and start working on projects. Today, after only two years of existence, the association can boast of being engaged in a lot of successful collaborations. Moreover, since they lack trained staff, they are sometimes forced to turn down business proposals, because they cannot deliver so many projects in a short time.
In an interview with the founders of the association, they reveal how their story began and advise on how to become a member of this great team.
When was the association founded? Whose idea was it?
The Prosperikon Association was founded in 2012 by Nikolina Dugandžić, Matea Kosovec, Nives Mikulec (the originator of the idea and the president of the association) and Nives Novak. During the summer examination period when we were first-year students of Project Management, we came up with the idea of launching our own association while discussing things over a cup of coffee. Previously, all four of us had been working and volunteering in various organisations, but we weren’t satisfied with the opportunities offered at the time, so we decided to set up our own association where we could do jobs in the area of our interest and education – project management.
What is the aim of the association?
- Promoting cultural, project and tourism management, design, ecological awareness and energy efficiency;
- Continuous development and improvement of cultural, project and tourism management, design, ecological awareness and energy efficiency;
- Promoting social entrepreneurship.
To become a distinguished social company that provides a service of preparing project proposals and project implementation. To encourage the employment of low employability groups.
Promoting cultural and business sector and raising the awareness of the necessity of introducing trained staff. Promoting preparation and implementation of projects in all kinds of industries.
- Ensuring quality of project implementation;
- Creative and individual approach to every project;
- Wish for success;
- Active role in education and promotion of projects.
What encouraged you to start your own business?
The association was founded so that we could gain practical experience in the area of project management and acquire the competencies required for our future employment, but after some time we realized that we function well together. Since we always felt the lack of a social component in a typical company, we decided to turn the association into our own business. The final decision was made after our first project was granted funding within the IPA IV component. This really encouraged us to keep up the good work and enabled future collaborations.
What are the activities of the association?
- Fostering cultural, project and tourism management;
- Fostering, preparing and implementing educational projects intended for all age groups, paying special attention to young people and socially disadvantaged groups, with the aim of improving the quality of cultural, project and tourism management;
- Conducting expert studies and analyses for doing research into the field of cultural, project and tourism management;
- Organizing public discussions, lectures and round tables for education of participants from the area of cultural, project and tourism management;
- Organizing public discussions, lectures and round tables for education of all age groups, paying special attention to young people and socially disadvantaged groups from the area of cultural, project and tourism management, in order to promote social entrepreneurship;
- Organizing workshops aiming to promote cultural, project and tourism management;
- Publishing magazines, periodicals and papers intended to promote cultural tourism in accordance with special regulations;
- Gathering and connecting experts from the field of cultural, project and tourism management and fostering their professional development;
- Collaborating with similar national and international associations as well as with other organizations;
- Informing the members and the interested public about the marketing issues;
- Educating and advising on design, the new media (digital technology and multimedia), ecology and energy efficiency;
- Raising and distributing humanitarian aid in accordance with the law.
How many projects have you carried out so far? What are you focused on?
So far we have prepared applications for national and the EU supports, and for various types of grants. We develop and prepare projects for partner organisations, clients and our own association. Currently, we are mainly focused on the projects from the area of social services, but we also accept other projects with interesting ideas or those which create interesting partnerships.
Which previous project or projects would you highlight as the most important so far?
It is difficult to choose only one project since we get emotionally attached to every project we work on. The most important one was “New wave” – “Seniors can also volunteer”, because it was our first project which was granted funding. We prepared this project for the National Pensioners Convention of Croatia, which included a series of training workshops on volunteering for senior citizens. Another extremely important project to us was “We are just like you”, financed by the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, because it was our first project which we implemented. With this project we managed to secure employment for five young homeless people on the dalje.hr website, and to provide housing for two beneficiaries. We would also like to mention the “B(r)ojanje” (“Counting/Colouring”) project financed by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, which we prepared for the “Stakleno zvono” (“Glass Bell”) Association from Varaždin. The goal of this project was to organize creative workshops for members of the Association, i.e. people with autism spectrum disorder.
Starting from this year, one of your partners is the University of Applied Sciences Baltazar Zaprešić.
We have started collaborating recently, but we are extremely satisfied with the support we receive from the University. The first group of students has nearly completed their traineeship and we are very pleased with their work and the effort they have put into their training. They have been actively engaged in our ongoing projects, and two students expressed the wish to continue their work in our association even after they complete traineeship. We hope that the second group, which has just started their traineeship, will be just as diligent as the first one. We would like to express our gratitude to the University for supporting our work and donating furniture and equipment as part of the collaboration.
Are you satisfied with the current situation regarding the amount of work and the success of your projects?
We are very satisfied with the current situation regarding different partnerships, ideas and the amount of work. In a very short period, we managed to open our own office and make contacts with numerous partner organisations we collaborate with, who believed in us right from the start. However, since we lack trained staff, we are sometimes forced to turn down business proposals, because we cannot deliver that many projects in such a short time.